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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

Frolicking around Kauai for the weekend


canyoning

This past weekend, my best friend Abbey and I took a trip to Kauai! My small wrist injury prevented us from doing some outdoor activities (hiking, snorkeling, etc.) so we made it a point to turn our trip into a food venture with lots of sightseeing.

canyoning1One thing that was on our list was to drive out to Waimea. The view was stunningly green, thanks to the rain these past few weeks.
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Here’s a pano of the lookout on the way to the canyon.

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Queso!

canyoning6We visited a friend of mine, a well traveled woman named Ellen. She lives right next to these beautiful waterfalls in the valley.

canyoning3Cheesy tourist shot at the Kauai Community College Farmer’s Market. I can’t ever get enough of fresh, young coconut juice and meat.

canyoning2Jackfruit is sweet. Like bubble gum.

canyoning4Abbey bought soursop mint juice. It was light, tangy and minty. Kauai is on this juicing trend and we love it.

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 The KCC Farmer’s Market is small in comparison to Oahu’s KCC Farmer’s Market, but it has a lot that kama’aina could appreciate. We liked to see a mix of locals and tourists buying fresh produce, kulolo, taro chips and freshly squeezed juices.

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Our former classmate, Donna, lives in Kauai. She suggested we stop by Kauai Juice Company in Kapa’a on our long drive down to Hanalei.

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Also along the way to Princeville and Hanalei…you’ll find this cute, quirky marketplace pocketed behind the signs to the lighthouse. It’s called Kong Lung and it has some really nice home decor, stationary, gifts and overly priced china. It’s the kind of place wealthy tourists would call “a wondrous treasure trove.” Although it’s fancy and pretty, you will never find locals here.

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On to the food ventures…it’d be impossible to fit all our food photos on this post, but we ate at the best places on the island. My friend Ellen took us to Tip Top Cafe (all locals, no tourists – comforting local diner food) and ate loco mocos with goteburg and fried rice, Monico’s in Kapa’a for the best Mexican food in the Hawaiian Islands and Brick Oven Pizza.

20140604-090542-32742198.jpgThe last cool place we stopped at was an old town in Hanapepe. We bypassed the tacky tourist shops and went straight for the bookstore. I could spend hours flipping through new and preowned books. I bought a couple by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Lois Ann Yamanaka.

Thanks to everyone who made our “staycation” trip memorable. Next time we go to Kauai, we’re definitely hitting up the Na Pali Coast.

Chazuke

photo(66)Some nights you just need a couple girly magazines, comforting miso soup, tofu salad and chazuke. Life has been crazy lately.

Charles Nii Nursery

photo(73)Succulents are all the rage in Honolulu. Out of all the odd island hipster fascinations, I’d say succulents deserve to go mainstream.

I have lived in Hawaii Kai for more than 14 years. I’ve explored almost everything in the town, except the Charles Nii Nursery. I had no idea this nursery existed until a few weeks ago. They have orchids, succulents and even achote (or achiote). I’ve been eating dishes made with achote seeds and I had no idea where they came from. It was just one of those things you never think about. An achote tree sprouts these red, hairy (or maybe more like spiny) and soft pods that hold these tasty, vibrant and skin-staining seeds.

photo(72)Chamorros use achote seeds to give their rice flavor and an orange-red color. The influence comes from the Spanish that settled and colonized the Chamorro people for more than 400 years.

The Charles Nii Nursery isn’t big at all, but it is a little local secret on the mauka side of Hawaii Kai. The nursery specializes in trees, shrubs and landscaping plants but may have some sweet smelling puakenikeni plants on hand. You can tell the owners love what they do and are willing to help you find the perfect shrub or plant.