Hotel or Modular Hotel?

The next time you stay in a Marriott or other hotel, it may have been manufactured in this innovative way using a modular construction where each room was built offsite and then put in place piece by piece by crane.

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This is not necessarily new.  Cruise ship companies, for example, have been using modular construction for years, having portions of the ship built in various locations (under presumably better conditions) and then shipped in and put in place.

Now, if perhaps, they accidentally put me too close to the elevator, could they just “move” my whole room instead of me having to just move myself?  😂

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii

The first day of May has long been celebrated by many cultures all over the world as a celebration of spring, with May Pole dances, floral baskets, and bouquets common in many countries. However, in the Aloha state, May Day is officially “Lei Day.”

A beautiful celebration of flowers, dance, music, and culture, Lei Day has been officially celebrated state-wide since 1929 with lei-making contests, concerts, parades, hula performances, and of course, many colorful lei worn by everyone.  Lei makers are busy for days leading up to the holiday, and lei are sold and gifted everywhere.  Lei artists often spend months planning their compositions for lei contest entries, and the stakes are high.  School kids spend weeks rehearsing their songs and dances for school pageants, and harried parents raid every blooming tree the night before Lei Day to string the requisite lei for their kids to wear to school the next day.

Winning lei on display. Note the elaborate compositions of flowers, leaves, and seeds.

Each island has its own “official” celebrations of Lei Day, often highlighting the island’s official colors and flowers.  On Oahu, Lei Day festivities usually center around the Kapi’olani Park bandstand in Waikiki.  Winning lei are on display along the fence, while artisans host workshops and demonstration events to teach the craft of lei-making.  The Royal Hawaiian Band traditionally opens the day’s events, followed by the formal investiture of the Lei Queen and her court, selected based on their lei-making skills, Hawaiian language fluency, and hula proficiency.  Concerts and performances continue throughout the day, with additional performances island-wide.

My beautiful friend Kehau Pe’a, a Pa’u Princess (and formerly a Lei Queen) representing the island of Maui with garlands of the pink lokelani rose.

Lei Day also unofficially marks the beginning of “lei season,” when lei are made, sold, and gifted for graduations, weddings, school end-of-year performances, and other celebrations, as well as preparations for the huge all-floral parade floats and statue-draping lei for King Kamehameha Day, on June 11.  Since both events involve a lot of flower lei, the event seems to begin on May 1st and extend all the way into June.  The pa’u riders who will grace the Kamehameha Day parade often begin their public appearances on May Day.

As a kid, I remember the long days of practicing songs and dances on the field near Laie elementary school for our upcoming Lei Day performance, and the fun costume-making projects in class.  As a parent, I have loved snapping photos of my kids at their own performances.  I used to look forward to going down to Kapi’olani Park with Grandma Rene to see all the lei on display and visit with Auntie Marie (McDonald), who would be visiting from the Big Island to help judge the contest as a lei master.  I also remember a fun date with Kory at the annual Bothers Cazimero May Day concert years ago.  We didn’t have tickets for the show, so we picnicked on the lawn behind the Waikiki Shell along with some friends (and several other people doing the same thing).  We couldn’t see the show from there but the music and company were great, until the lawn sprinklers came on!  Good times – we still laugh about that.

How do you celebrate May Day / Lei Day?

Lunar New Year in Honolulu’s Chinatown

As a Hawaiian-Chinese-American, I love celebrating Chinese New Year.  It’s a great holiday, full of traditions that are fun to share with friends and family, including those who may not necessarily be accustomed to the holiday.  Chinese New Year is often greeted with firecrackers, lions, dragons, and parades in Chinatowns everywhere, and I’ve been to a few of them in different cities.  But my favorite location by far is Honolulu.  Even though we now live in California, my family makes a regular trip back to Honolulu’s Chinatown, just to take in the festivities.  If you’d like to try something new, here are my tips for the best way to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Hawaii! Continue reading “Lunar New Year in Honolulu’s Chinatown”

Spring Break: Washington D.C.

The first stop on my spring break series is Washington D. C.

This was a really fun spring break trip we took two years ago and the best part about it was that it was unexpected. We really weren’t planning on going on a trip, but things worked out and we pulled this trip together in just a few weeks. We had just gotten a new van and I was 6 months pregnant with out last baby so things were very exciting in our house and we decided that a quick trip was exactly what we all needed. Continue reading “Spring Break: Washington D.C.”

Spring Break

The flowers are blooming. The birds are singing. The sun is shining.

Spring break is just around the corner and I am sure I’m not the only one who is getting excited about it.

My kids ask me every day, “How many more days until spring break?” but the other question that I keep hearing is, “Are we going anywhere?”

Sadly, this year, we won’t be off on some grand adventure for spring break because of job constraints but this made me think about all the other fun spring break trips we have taken in the past.  I thought it would be fun to share some of those with you and some of the things we learned along the way.

So hope you enjoy my Spring Break Series!

The Unexpected Journey 

Several times on this blog, we will discuss tips and suggestions to help you plan out your next vacation. Usually, you have weeks or even months to plan that perfect vacation, but what about those unexpected trips that come up?

Sometimes, we find out about a trip we need to take at the last minute and those are usually not trips for relaxation. The trips I’m talking about are when we go out of town for a family emergency. Continue reading “The Unexpected Journey “

Buddy Pass Manners

If you’re lucky enough to have a friend who works for an airline, you may score a buddy pass now and then (lucky you!)  Buddy Passes are airline slang for discounted tickets that are normally only available for employees and their friends or family.  They are usually (but not always) much cheaper than regular fares, but they are STANDBY tickets, which means you only get on the airplane if there’s an empty seat for you.  If the plane is full, you don’t get on.

Obviously, buddy passes aren’t for people who need to get somewhere by a deadline.  In that case, just buy a regular ticket.  On the other hand, if your travel is flexible, it’s a great deal.

However, you don’t want to ruin your friendship (and buddy pass connection) by blowing it at the gate.  Here are some basic rules for travelling on a Buddy Pass.  We’ll call them “Buddy Pass Manners.” Continue reading “Buddy Pass Manners”