From Cairns to Sydney

 Processed with MoldivMost of our travel adventures happened before and after the tournament in Sydney. Here we are in Cairns visiting art galleries, the Esplanade pool and walking along Grafton and Abbott.

Brentt and I only had a few days to explore Cairns and Sydney before and after the tournament. Cairns was our first stop from Guam. We stayed at the Holiday Inn (now called Double Tree) and it was in the perfect location. We could walk to the main Cairns Esplanade strip in less than five minutes and to the shopping mall in 15 minutes. The good eateries, ranging from Italian to Japanese, were scattered along Abbott and Grafton streets. Along the Esplanade, you’ll run into tourist traps and shops with crappy souvenirs – something we’re already used to in the islands, so we just kept to Abbott and Grafton, where there were more of the Cairns locals walking around.

Processed with MoldivWe stayed in Kurri Kurri, in the outskirts of Sydney. There were wild kangaroos right outside our rooms and witnessed beautiful sunsets. I even got to sample the local wine.

The “beach” at Cairns isn’t that great. It’s brown. You’d have to ride a boat to the Great Barrier Reef to log in some great snorkeling…or you can just settle for the public pee-pool at the Esplanade. Your best bet to get some sun (other than going to the GBR)? Spend the day at the beach down Captain Cook Highway past the airport. The beaches are still brown, but at least it’s shallow, you can walk on sandbars and bbq like the locals.

After Cairns, we headed to Sydney via Virgin Australia. Most of our time was spent on the golf course (see previous post) and the only food available was fried EVERYTHING. French fries, chicken schnitzel, fish and chips, etc. Not the most comforting way to go with two hungry island kids craving anything with some Asian spice and rice or noodles. On our last day, we had a couple hours to visit the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Our hosts from Hawaii were irritated by the traffic and ready for their flight back to Hawaii so we didn’t have a chance to fully explore the city. But we made the most of it and took lots of photos during our last day in Sydney.

Processed with Moldiv

Our official last day in “Straya” was spent at Hartley’s Crocodile Farm.

We then arrived in Cairns (again), returning from Sydney, we were weary travelers, enduring a rough flight on Virgin Australia and starved after refusing yet another fried meal. After checking into Rydges Esplanade, we took a 20 minute walk to grab some dinner and stumbled upon what looked like a bar from the outside, Rattle & Hum. It happened to have the best pizza in Australia that we had access to at the time.

AUS
This is something we’ll always remember about Australia. Its wildlife, sights, kind people and wonderful weather amazed us everyday.

We also decided to visit Hartley’s Crocodile Farm, which was 45 minutes away from the hotel. We bought a package for two that included the passes to the farm and transportation to and from our hotel for $111 AUD. It was fun! We covered the entire park in about two hours and relaxed with lunch at the restaurant. It was their 80th Anniversary so they had face painting, a free photo booth and complimentary croc sausages. It was the perfect way to see everything we wanted to see in Australia: crocodiles, koalas, cassowaries, wombats, wallabies and kookaburras.

It was a great trip for Brentt and I. We’ve traveled to other places before, but this was our first brother-sister trip to another country. We enjoyed every bit of it. Oh dear Australia, it’s been unreal. It might be a couple years until we return, but until then, we’ll cherish the memories.

My brother wins 2nd place in Australia

IB2Brentt Salas wins 2nd place in Jack Newton Junior Golf’s Srixon International Junior Golf Sub Classic in Australia.

My brother represented Hawaii in the Srixon tournament in Australia last week. He won 2nd place overall in his division. I’m so proud of him!

IB1

Brentt managed to stay out of the trees on the 13th hole at Kurri Kurri Golf Club.

The Australian tournament hosted many international junior golfers from Canada, Korea, Thailand, Japan, New Zealand and the U.S. Brentt qualified through the Pearl Junior Open in Hawaii with two other golfers, Caleb Keohokapu, 17, who played in the Junior Classic division and Ray Kim, 14, who joined Brentt’s division in the Sub Classic. The three boys were amped to play this tournament because it represented another level of competition for them and also provided an opportunity to get more exposure.

IB3

Brentt’s short game was spot on in the last two days of the tourney.

Brentt struggled in the first two days of the tourney. The trees presented the ultimate challenge. There were golfers (Brentt included) that had trouble hitting off the tees and into the fairway. The fairways were curved so much that you’d have to either hit beyond the trees or play it safe and  hit short distances on the fairway…that is, if the wind will let you. The only thing that was within the golfer’s control was the putting green. Brentt mastered the greens by the 3rd day, earning himself 8th place. On the last day, Brentt shot even and ended up taking home the trophy for 1st place Scratch and 2nd place overall in his division.

IB4Brentt won a Srixon golf bag, Srixon balls, a toiletry bag and a trophy.

The rest of the Hawaii team, Caleb and Ray, they also proudly represented Hawaii in the tournament on and off the course. They enjoyed making friends from Australia, Canada and Japan. It was a great experience in “Straya!”

Australia, here I come!

AUSTRALIA

This is what freedom feels like.

Well, this was unexpected. My brother qualified for the Srixon International Junior Classic in Sydney and when we found out all expenses were paid for, I was the only one in my family that could take him up on the offer! Brentt is definitely my little reason to travel the world. He is so ambitious and committed to his practice that he’s constantly offered to compete in international tournaments. Recently, the Guam Pacific Daily News published an article on his golf journey. I’m pretty proud of my baby bro.

This trip will be just as long as the last one. Honestly, I’m stoked to put two new countries on my list for the year. I’ve never had the freedom to travel so much. Now that I do, I have to enjoy it. After Australia, we’re heading to Saipan for our cousin’s ordination as a priest. We’re so Catholic it’s not even funny.

Anyway, I believe we have two days to explore Sydney in addition to the time we have after the tournament days. If you have any suggestions about what to try or see (on a low budget), please leave them in the comment box! Thank you. – Di

The last photos from our trip to Liverpool

LP2 copyMy mom (right) scans Bold Street for some Asian products and restaurants.

On the last few days of our trip in Liverpool, my dad and brother went to the British Open while my mom and I explored the city. We grew tired of English food, the meat, potatoes, fish and chips were not satisfying our cravings for bold flavors, so my mom spent half the day looking for an Asian grocery store that she heard of from a friend.

LP1 copy“Look,” said my mom, “they have noodles! We can eat here when they’re done with the tournament.”

We ate at Seoul Love the next day with another family that attended the British Junior Open. Korean and Chinese dishes in Liverpool are very different from Asian food in Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. Stan, the owner of our cottage, explained that when the Chinese immigrants arrived in Liverpool, they were so skilled in establishing and maintaining businesses, they heavily contributed to the development of the city. They’ve changed the way they cooked to cater to the British, so their kim chee jigae isn’t as salty (which is good!) and the Chinese fried rice isn’t sticky at all (not good!). Overall, we enjoyed our experience there, it was great to eat something with gochujang and chili garlic sauce after all that fish and chips.

LP5 copyOur mom & daughter exploration day included the famous Walker Gallery.

We then visited the Walker Gallery and viewed many original paintings from local artists, an art contest by children and teens from China and sculptures. The café inside the Walker Gallery is exquisite. You’ll see people from all walks of life walking in there just to grab a latte and a slice of carrot cake. My mother was lucky enough to grab the last slice and I grabbed a fresh, warm oatmeal cookie. It was one of the best grab and go breakfasts we’ve had in Liverpool.

LP6 copyIt was pretty awesome walking into the sculpture room at Walker. I’ve never seen sculptures so detailed up close.

After Walker Gallery, we walked to the Liverpool Central Library, where they had a café and three stories of books. My favorite part was the Picton Reading Room. It’s a circular dome reading room with three stories of shelves. Think Beauty and the Beast type of shelves. I went crazy walking around the room. I found Spanish literature books that I’ve read in graduate school (in ENGLISH!) and the staircases were so beautiful. I loved it so much, I think I could live there.

LP7 copyThe Picton Reading Room was my favorite thing about Liverpool.

LP3 copyAfter the Walker Gallery and the Liverpool Central Library, we headed back down to Bold Street. Each unit had a beautiful storefront.

Bold Street was our favorite street for food and shopping in Liverpool. It was a perfect blend of cultural diversity, good coffee, pastries and shopping. We spent two days in the city and always ended up spending most of our time on Bold Street. Just off of Bold, there is also what they call “Chinatown.” It really isn’t a town but a lineup of five Chinese businesses that sell moon cakes, rice cakes, custard and jin doi (excuse my spelling). I remember we also ate at a Lebanese restaurant for lunch, but we were too hungry to stop and take a photo. So here is the last stop we made that day…

LP4 copyAnd we ended the day with some cake! My mom loves cupcakes.

Can’t go wrong with a little cake. Hehe!

Getting acquainted with England’s countryside

LIVERPOOL1 copyChurch View Farm was one of the places we stopped for some fresh veggies and fruit.

Lydiate is a small, quiet town in Liverpool. You don’t hear much except the faint sound of cars passing by. The stench of manure greets your nose in the morning about twice a week. It seems so peaceful and easy going that I started to think about it as a great place to retire. Yikes. Anyway, my family booked a cottage just one minute from this sign. We arrived too early for the cottage owners to prepare the rooms for us, so we took a drive in search of a good breakfast.

LIVERPOOL3 copyThe Hay Loft Tea Shoppe is a cute little breakfast and lunch spot near our cottage.

We had our first English breakfast at The Hay Loft Tea Shoppe in Lydiate. My mother and I ordered the typical “English breakfast” with beans, sausage, black pudding, eggs, mushrooms and potatoes. The food was pretty bland, except for their version of bacon (which is what we’d consider a thick cut slice of very salty ham in the US). The “bacon” was so salty, it took some getting used to. My mom and dad enjoyed the tea and coffee.

LIVERPOOL4 copyMy parents pose for their first photo in Liverpool.

Lydiate was a good chance for us to relax. My whole trip was spent in Guam and Saipan, I didn’t have a chance to catch up on sleep or have a dry day of no sweating. In Liverpool, the weather was wonderful and at times too cold for me. The change in climate was a bit too extreme for me the first two days so I bundled up like a tourist.

One of the first nights there, our cottage owners/hosts suggested the restaurant down the street, Scarisbrick Arms.

LIVERPOOL7 copyOne of the best restaurants our cottage owners suggested was Scarisbrick Arms. It’s a posh joint that a lot of the locals dress up for. We practically tried everything on the menu in the 4 visits we made there. The photo above is the first thing I ordered, their mushroom risotto with goat cheese. 

LIVERPOOL5 copyOne thing you gotta love about Scarisbrick is their bread and olive platter. The two men that served us were from Italy and Portugal. Both wonderful, humorous men with lots of interesting stories. (For a photo of my yummy beet salad, follow me on instagram @islandbohemian.)

LIVERPOOL6 copyProbably the best thing to order at Scarsbrick is actually the cheapest entree, the roast with Yorkshire pudding and sweet potato puree.

LIVERPOOL11 copyThis is the entrance to our cottage. There was lots of grass for Brentt to practice his chipping and even a fire pit for roasting marshmallows.

LIVERPOOL8 copyWe woke up one morning and were pleased to see a heavy fog in the chilly air. Kinda cool scene for two island kids.

LIVERPOOL13 copyWe visited the outdoor market in the next town, Ormskirk. Vendors sold fresh bread, pastries, snacks and clothes.

Our experience with the locals was very pleasant. They’re excellent face-readers. Every time we felt lost or confused on the street, someone would come up and ask us if we needed directions. They not only give you directions, they physically take you there! We got around the different towns just fine.

LIVERPOOL12 copyI had to take a photo of this stand at the Ormskirk market. I have no idea what was inside the “small fat balls.”

LIVERPOOL15 copyMy pops and brother pose in front of the Eat Drink Love café.

Although the main focus of our trip was the golf tournament, we had fun exploring the different towns in Liverpool. It was one of the most fun and relaxing family trips we have taken in a long time.

Brentt Makana Salas in Liverpool, England

BRENTT13 copyBrentt Makana Salas has a drive of 270 yards. Here he hits from the white tees on the back nine at the West Lancashire Golf Club.

Hard work never goes unnoticed, especially when it comes to the humbling game of golf. My 14-year-old brother, Brentt, has worked for years on his swing, technique and his mental game, but he still has a long way to go. This summer, he qualified for the British Junior Open in Liverpool, England. Naturally, my parents and I accompanied him on his journey (the farthest he’s ever been from home). The British Junior Open was a big tournament for this kid because he competed with some of the best junior golfers in the world.

BRENTT15 copyBrentt practices every day at Starts Guam Golf Resort after school and enters in multiple golf tournaments on the weekends.

The West Lancashire Golf Club was one of the most difficult courses Brentt has come across. The tall, thick grass could easily swallow your ball. Brentt joked that he’d rather play on a course with lots of trees, he’d lose less balls that way.

BRENTT7 copyBrentt liked the challenging elements at the West Lancashire Golf Course. It was unlike any course he’s ever played.

The junior golfers started the tournament with a practice round, Brentt was able to familiarize himself with the brutal elements of the course: the precarious terrain, unexpected changes in wind and the cold weather. This would test his patience and his confidence during the tournament.

BRENTT18 copyMy parents and I were not only Brentt’s only cheerleaders. He had his golf teammate Nalathai (also representing Guam in the girls’ category) and a new friend from Cyprus, Nicholas.

BRENTT16 copyThis photo was taken around 6 p.m. in Liverpool – the sun does not go down until 9:30 or 10 p.m. at night.

The first day of the tournament was Brentt’s best day. He was paired with two girls, one from Qatar and the other from Uruguay. He broke 80 and shot a 79. His confidence was soaring and he had that little smirk on his face after every putt. On the second day, the weather was extremely cold and Brentt’s tee time was around 3 p.m. Brentt ran into some very challenging situations with the tall grass and it may have broke his confidence. Although he tried his best, he shot an 82.

BRENTT12 copyThe course was so difficult that many golfers ahead of Brentt and his group were busy looking for their lost balls. There was a lot of waiting between holes.

The last day of the tournament was much better. Although he shot an 80, Brentt was happy with his performance. He considered the experience very valuable in a sense where he knows how to handle his mental game as well as the actual game of golf. There were no words to describe his experience at West Lancs. He saw, he came and…well…maybe he will conquer one day.

BRENTT9 copyThe golfers had the chance to take a photo with the coveted British Junior Open trophy.

Enjoy more photos in the gallery!

 

Guahan Trippin

GUAM8The south side of Guam is so pretty. This is exactly the view I wanted to show my friends during our trip.

This summer I took a very long trip. My trip began with five wonderful women. My best friends (in Saipan) and I had planned to meet in Guam and explore the island. I then invited my good friend Kaydee, with whom I’ve worked with at Easter Seals Hawaii. Kaydee has always been interested in Guam and so I told her that there’s no better way to visit Guam than with someone who knows the island!

GUAM1From left to right: Kaydee, Annabelle, me, Janel, Abbey and Cinnabun at Sunday brunch at the Outrigger Guam Resort.

I took my friends around the island (which only took a couple hours) and we showed Kaydee what the locals really eat. We visited some local vendors along the road through Inarajan and Umatac and bought some pickled mango, starfruit and tuba.

GUAM9We visited Umatac Bay, where a family was barbequing nearby. It’s not a beach you’d necessarily want to swim at, but it’s a pretty sight.

GUAM4Kaydee enjoyed the calm water in Tumon, right outside the Outrigger Guam Resort.

This trip with my friends lasted four hot days. For my besties, they were used to the hot weather so they did some shopping while Kaydee and I tried to cool off with refreshing dips at the resort or at the beach.

Fever

pink4

I’m kind of picky when it comes to graphic shirts. The design really has to be cool and complicated a the same time yet work with the basics of what I have in my closet. This morning, I received a promotional email from Threadless for their $10-12 shirts and tanks. I quickly browsed through the meaningless geometric prints, cutesy talking burgers and fries, even the I’m-trying-too-hard-to-be-different statement shirts. I found nothing for the first 18 pages of print-ready designs. Then I stumbled upon shirt with a round mermaid (named Fever) with orange hair, manifested by a graphic genius named Heliana, a 28-year-old Romanian artist who goes by pink.aitch. I fell in love with the extreme contrast and the fact that this chubby mermaid had fancy lace around her waist.

pink1Unfortunately a lot of the coolest designs that pink.aitch uploaded to print were no longer available. Bummer. So I kept browsing through pink.aitch’s products hoping to find something of hers that I could buy. I loved this poster of cute illustrations of hefty and round women dressed as fruit and vegetables. I swear it may be the roundness of her characters that I gravitate towards, or it may be the choice of vibrant colors she uses to bring out their personalities. Was it available? Nope. I’m kind of upset at this point.

pink2I searched for her other works and found this last illustration. The detail and exaggeration of the redhead’s dress are adorable. Still no luck buying a small print or a shirt. I guess I’ll just stalk Threadless or Society 6 for some of her new stuff.

You can view her artwork on her website here. I also found pink.aitch’s personal blog where she posts photos of her latest illustrations and projects.

Reid and Kamakana Watanabe

3My colleague and very good friend Kamakana and her husband, Reid, were married a year ago. They asked me to take some photos for their anniversary. We went to a Diamond Head lookout, where there was a little, neatly landscaped garden nearby.

Here are some of their favorite shots:

4

7

8

The sweetest part of this shoot was that Kama and Reid each wore something new and blue for their anniversary day. Kama is a maxi dress fanatic and she found this flattering print just days before the shoot. Reid was treated to some new Cole Haan shoes just a few hours before we all met up.

New and blue…perfect little details to commemorate their first year of marriage.

Happy Anniversary to you both! Now make me a neice or nephew.