Hello Friends and Family,

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More on Oahu

Last week triggered more nostalgia for me concerning Hawaii 5-0. Not only was `Iolani Palace used as the exterior of the fictional offices but other island sights were part of the show and the intro. This week I photographed the famous status of King Kamehameha then recalled fondly that it was used in the introduction to the show — albeit draped in flower leis (probably as part of the King Kamehameha Day celebration every June 11).

Then I went up to Punchbowl, which is an ancient volcanic crater which is now the setting for the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The 112-acre cemetery serves as the final resting place for more than 44,200 U.S. war veterans and family members. These include men and women who perished in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many gravesites had fresh flowers — it is good that these people are still remembered.

There is a monument at the center of the cemetery that [pause for dramatic effect] was also used in the intro to Hawai`i 5-0. I would not be surprised that some scenes were filmed up there too.

And if not, I would have to ask "why not?" — since, not only is there beautiful scenery in Punchbowl, the views of the city of Honolulu are spectacular (see below). And this shot really underscores that Honolulu is CITY with high rise buildings everywhere. I tell people that Honolulu is like San Francisco with the addition of palm trees. As such, it is not my choice of destinations in Hawai`i — but Mizuki loves it, since she grew up in and lived in Tokyo for most of her life.

And last week we celebrated my birthday with dinner and a show — The Society of Seven. This group consists of seven (hence the name) local guys who sing, play musical instruments, dance a little — plus one female singer (for accent). They pay tribute to and make fun of various well-known performers such as The Rat Pack, The Rolling Stones and the Beatles. But they do so with such energy and good taste that it is absolutely delightful. One of my favorite parts was the imitation of Sonny and Cher with one of the big guys cross-dressing as Cher singing with a much shorter Sonny with wigs to match. Hilarious! If you do make it to Honolulu or Las Vegas (where the original group is now performing), do catch their show. Note that the dinner was much better than one expects at such dinner shows — and gives you better seating than the folks that only come for the show.

You may have missed the news story but about a week before my departure, Don Ho died. In case you don't know, Don Ho was a singer in Hawai`i who was a fixture in Waikiki for many years and was even called the “King of Hawai`ian Entertainment”. His shows usually started and ended with the same song, "Tiny Bubbles." Ho mostly hummed as the audience enthusiastically took over the song's swaying, silly lyrics: "Tiny bubbles/in the wine/make me happy/make me feel fine." He often joked to the crowd, "I hate that song". He said he saved it for the end because "people my age can't remember if we did it or not."

I have only seen him on video and it appeared that he was always inebriated at his performances, somewhat like Dean Martin. And I rather dismissed him as one of those parts of Hawai`ian that was solely for the tourists — like the fluorescent (glow-in-the dark) sunset aloha shirts from Hilo Hatties.

A memorial service was held at Queen's Surf Beach near the Honolulu Zoo on Saturday — during which his ashes were spread on the ocean. Thus I was surprised to learn that they were expecting 25,000 people to attend (I haven't seen the actual crowd estimate). For Don Ho! Obviously, he meant more to the people of Hawai`i than just a touristy crooner — he was Hawai`i's premier musical ambassador — and he will be missed by many in Hawai`i, on the mainland and around the world.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com