At home in the islands…

My previous post was from the first couple days of our six week sojourn in Hawaii. Here are more photos and sketches. Our first stop: the Big Island.


We stayed on the Hilo side of the Island. One night, thunder boomed and the rain came down in buckets. Otherwise, we were blessed with fine weather.

I was determined to body board at Honoli’i but terrified at the same time. After a couple of days, I became more comfortable there and caught some sweet rides.

Sublime Honoli’i

The walk around Honoli’i
included waterfalls, bridges and some beautiful flowers.

We drove up to Volcanoes to see the latest lava flow. This included a short hike with chairs and a picnic at sunset. There was a bit of a crowd but it wasn’t hard to see the fountaining lava.

Lava fountain viewed from crater rim

I don’t know exactly how I managed it, but I lost a slipper/flip flop, fin sock and water shoe all within one 24 hour period.

It’s a talent, I know.

Suzanne hosted a holiday party and invited her hui of kids and parents from their school in Hilo.

Bananagrams were a big hit!

Our last Big Island day, we lolled around in the tide pools near South Point, waves pounding the rocky shore. We had such a nice time there, we stayed a bit too long and had to board our plane without the luxury of showering beforehand.

Plein air sketch of Mitch and Suzanne lounging in the tide pools of Kawa,


View of Lanikai, the Mokuluas and Waimanalo from pillbox hike

We spent the next month in Kailua and Waikiki. I had thought that December and January would be cool and rainy. To my surprise and delight, this year it was neither (with the exception of a few days around New Year’s). We were more social than we’d been for the last two years; catching up with old friends, hiking, mostly enjoying meals together outdoors.

Lanikai pillbox hike with Pager and Grodens
Here we are on the Pillbox hike. Kailua and Koolaus in the background

I discovered a SWEET, flat walkway about a block from our Home Exchange. The Kawainui Marsh trail goes along the wetlands and provides an unobstructed view of the Koolaus, Olomana and the hills between Kailua and Kaneohe.

Kawainui Marsh and the mountains, from the marsh walkway

On a previous trip to Oahu, parked at a trailhead, our rental car was broken into, the window smashed and our gear in the trunk stolen. I didn’t want to risk that again so we parked in easier access/less obvious spots. I had no argument paying $10 to park at a golf course to get access to the Old Pali Road trail.

Between the raindrops near the Pali lookout

We spent New Year’s Eve in Wahiawa with our friends the Osorios. The pouring rain didn’t put a damper on the fireworks, which we watched from their covered lanai.

For the first time in years, we stayed up until midnight!

The Pu’uma’eli’eli hike isn’t difficult, it’s just a steep, gunky, muddy trail which made it hard after all.

The view at the top is worth it, though. We hit the peak on a glassy day.

Kaneohe Bay and Mokoli’i (Chinaman’s Hat)

Waikiki has changed radically in the last 20 years from an Asian flavored honky tonk city to a mini Rodeo Drive, with stores like Louis Vuitton and Harry Winston.

I prefer the Kapiolani Park side for its proximity to restaurants and markets on Kapahulu, the less crowded beaches, little waves at the wall and even some snorkeling. Mitch saw an octopus right there where everyone was walking all over the reef.

On one of the cloudier days
Diamond Head: majestic and golden in the late afternoon light from Kapiolani Park
View from the lanai of our condo

What to do after a day at the beach? sketch the scene from our condo. I loved our (obstructed) view of Diamond Head and Kaimuki, especially in the late afternoon sunlight.

But we kept going back to Waimanalo

The northwest end of Oahu is Ka’ena Point. You can get there by hiking from the West/Makaha side of the Island or from the North Shore.

As we drove up toward the coast, I could clearly see waves breaking from miles away–they were humongous that day. We met our friends Azeema and Kuhio at the northern trailhead. It was clear and we started out at 7:30 am to beat the heat. By the time we reached the tip, the sun had risen above the mountains and it was HOT. We had our lunches in the shade of some rocks. The hike out was kind of brutal but worth it!

That’s the pointed tip where north and west meet.


Our last week was what we’d dubbed the “wild card” because we hadn’t made any reservations for that time. I had been hesitant to commit to Kaua’i because it’s always so wet in the winter.

But not this time.

We stayed with our friend Tracey in Wailua and enjoyed a week of sweet visits with good friends and spectacular weather!

At Waimea Canyon lookout. Mitch, Susan, Tracey and Louise

One day, we tripped up to Koke’e. I can’t remember the last time that I was there in the bright sunshine. Wow!

View of Kalalau from the Pihea Trail

When I lived on Kaua’i, I would hike to Kalalau whenever I had a three day weekend. I came to know the place and the trail well and I still love and dream of it (though I haven’t been down there for ~15 years). It was such a pleasure to hike the rim and get fantastic views of the valley.

The other side of Kalalau Valley

A quick stop at Anahola Granola headquarters in Hanapepe. This photo sent as an Aloha to the founder, our friend Becky who is healing from a badly broken leg.

Louise said that her halau’s weekly get-togethers kept her sane over the last two years of Covid. We were honored to join them for some songs. Mitch played along with his guitar. I sketched.

Our last day was also glorious. We snorkeled at Anini Beach with my old friend Robin, who runs Reef Guardians.

And we ended up at Hanalei Bay, which never ceases to astound me with its expansive glory.

This photo is just a shadow of the beauty of Hanalei. It was dark and the light wasn’t right. But you get the idea.

Aloha, Hawai’i. A hui hou!

India: on to Manali and the Pavarti Valley

Manali is a starting point to the Indian Himalayas in the state of Himachal Pradesh. We had heard that the best way to get there was to take an overnight bus from Delhi. We investigatedt other options but none of them much reduced the number of hours of travel. So, we flew from Jodhpur to Delhi and situated ourselves on the overnight bus.


The seats on the bus reclined and elevated our legs but there was no bathroom aboard. I dubbed the ride “the Kishkaville Express” because the last half of the trip, on rocky, unpaved mountain roads, bumped and jumped in the early morning. After 13+ hours, we arrived in Manali.

On the bus, we met Alaka and Dev, a friendly couple from Delhi, who told us about a local festival that was happening that day, the Manu Festival.



You can tell that Manali was probably a sleepy hamlet twenty years ago. Its beauty and location an all to familiar blessing and curse as it’s become a tourist haven of the north and jumping off point for mountaineering. Most of the visitors are Indian, coming for adventures and ganga, which is smoked pretty freely in the old section, despite being illegal. There are a myriad of outdoor outfitters lining the main road and over a hundred guest houses and hotels. During high season (late May and June) the traffic can be complete gridlock.

We stayed a few days in Manali and then took a car to Tosh in the Pavarti Valley.


I was awestruck by the views from Tosh. The stunning snow capped mountains in the distance and homes tucked into the steep hillsides reminded me of the picturesque villages of Nepal.



Although we had been told that it was “the best place to stay in Tosh” our guest house was a dirty dump. The transformer had gone out and we had no electricity while we stayed there (not the fault of the guest house).

SquatToiletThe latch on our door needed oil. It squeaked loudly whenever we struggled to pulled it over to lock or unlock it, the bedding was soiled and the combination squat/sit toilet seat was loose. I don’t want to talk about the rest of the bathroom.

That said, our balcony had a wonderful view of the mountains and gave us a great vantage point for watching the comings and goings of the village.

From Tosh, we walked along the valley to the Waterfall Café, where the tables sit in the gushing flow.


Further on was Kulka, a tiny mountain “village” consisting of two guest houses, a small store, a babbling brook, grazing horses and a lovely high meadow with an awesome view. We would have loved to stay in Kulka.

The next day, we took a car, which dropped us off near Pulga, another village nearby. The road is still being built there so we backpacked in. On the way, we met some travelers who recommended we stay at the #capitalcafe, a new guest house with bamboo cottages (and electricity)! The place was SWEET as was the young owner, Chetan, who spent time with us and told us his story.  It was a highlight for me to share my greeting cards with Chetan and his crew, who are all Nepalese. His cook recognized one of the places I’d drawn.

We took a hike in the dense forest there, passing a waterfall and a herd of cattle (right there on the path). To our surprise, we happened upon this shrine in the woods. ShrineInTheWoods

We wanted to stay another night there but had already made reservations at an Airbnb which was in Gargi


Travel to PA/NJ/NY in December

I can get really bored on a 5 hour plane ride. Especially when we have an extra 1.5 hours to stop to refuel (in beautiful Salt Lake City). Started these pen and inks at the Museum of Natural History in NY and at the Metropolitan. Painted them on the plane. I got a little carried away but it was fun.



It’s actually New Year’s Day. Good day to launch a new web site.

Just for yucks, I’m using an old image from travels in Costa Rica–over ten years ago. Whew! I remember that town Tarcoles. It was pretty scrappy.

Today we are enjoying our leisure in gray, wet San Fran. Haven’t seen much of the sun this week but have enjoyed our staycation, nonetheless.

Perugia and Roma Sept. 2008

I only wrote on the first and last days of this trip. The rest of the time was spent sketching. Here are some snippets, for what they’re worth…

3 Settembre
We didn’t sleep on the long flight to Roma. Had no trouble finding Mom and Dad at the terminal. The waiting there was hard. We had 6 rollie bags between the 4 of us and were bumbling around looking for a good lunch place to hang out in. I bought water and was sort changed by 5 Euros which was par for being fresh of the plane, I guess.

Mitch was chomping at the bit to find the bus stop and rightly so—we thought it was on one end of the terminal but ended up running around asking people where the Sulga bus stopped. Across the street, down the block to a motley bunch of vehicles.
A nice drive through Roma and the countryside—though very hot in the stationi. When we stopped at a little closed gas station, Dad got out to find a WC and we ended up waiting for him… I could just imagine a scenario of the bus taking off and leaving him behind in the boonies—just like that movie “Bread and Tulips.”

Dropped in Perugia and one taxi ride later, we were here at our lovely apartment woohoo!

What a cool town and nice place we’re staying at. Nicola is a nice guy with a hairline like this.

The house is split level—all up and down sepia brown tiled floors throughout and nicely appointed. The first floor, with that archway is really a built out garage. It’s musty and cool and would be nice if it weren’t so smelly. Then up two flights of stairs to the mail room—2 windows, bright, lovely! A comfortable room to hang out in. Another flight up is the kitchen which is certainly bigger than ours in SF, with a small table and all the fixins. There are nice windows throughout with delightful views of the medieval buildings around us. The bathroom with big tub (ours) and the master suite (with a great closet and private bath) are on the next story. Then another short story up is the smaller bedroom which is a bit of a challenge size-wise. The beds are hard thought not bad. One side is a little difficult to get in and out of due to an elevated “side” of the bed. But the view from our little window is lovely at night—tops of the medieval buildings aglow in street lights. Mysterioso.

Lots of activity in the courtyard at night. Some guys playing music (Mitch says they were trying to learn a Pink Floyd song), People talking…

We walked up the narrow vias to Corso Vanucci where all the outside cafes are. Kinda like those at the Zocalo in Oaxaca. On our way up, we passed some small barking dogs and their owner, who walked out of his doorway to quiet them He was quite the sight. Long, white hair and beard, pink stretch pants, big, bare feet. Holding a bunch of grapes away from his body like they were a dead fish.

We had what was probably the worst meal you can get in Italy. Pre-fab canned food for dinner (20 Euros/couple which is around $32) Now we know where NOT to go.

7 Settembre
The days hove flown! This town is so cool! We have been exploring and eating and there’s still more to explore. Sheesh! It’s our last day. We’ve been running around drawing and painting arches all over th city. Mom is really prolific! She’s done many paintings and uses a shorthand that I wish I could do. I’m learning.. It’s been so much fun! Great food. Pasta with chicken liver sauce, incredible homemade tortellini with pumpkin and such,. Wow. And great wine. At Caesarino, the waiter charged us 8 Euro for ½ bottle the first night and 6 Euro for ¾ bottle on the second.

Wonderful arches and incredible views.

I painted this in Roma from our favorite café while drinking rich cappuccino.

Rome kicked our butts. Hot, very touristy, and incredible We had a great time, though. Went on a pizza stroll around the area surrounding the Vatican. My favorite pizza had pepperoncini on it. We found one bakery with the best canoli in the World. I could live on canoli and cappucinos.