Magmanamous Meanderings on the Big Island of Hawaii

LAVAMAN, BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII Photo: (c) Russell Johnson

We are walking across the a’a looking for a nene. a’a is Hawaiian for chunky lava.pahoehoe is the smooth swirly stuff. It is almost as if mother nature had stumbled and dropped a giant Bavarian chocolate cake on the big island of Hawaii. The nene is the state bird, kind of a silly goose, supposedly descended from a Canada goose that went far astray. It has claws instead of webbed feet. The nene lives on the slopes of the Kiluhaea volcano. There are signs warning us not to feed them. But I can’t even find one. If you feed them they wander the roads begging for food and consequently become flattened by passing cars.

The nene is an endangered species.perhaps because it isn’t too bright.


Sydney on the Rocks

The Entertainment at the Hero of Waterloo

It is Sunday afternoon on The Rocks, in Sydney, Australia. Pretty tame at the Hero of Waterloo a saloon that , depending on who you talk to, is either the oldest or second oldest in Sydney. It was built by convicts in 1843. There is a tunnel under it that was used to smuggle goods in and drunken sailors out.those unlucky sots who were shanghaied to the clippers lining the docks. There are still iron shackles decorating the walls.


The Doctor and the Boilermaker: A Cruise to Fiji’s Islands

He was a Herr Doktor, a demanding, pompous man shaped like a pork sausage. By the second night aboard our Fiji Cruise he was the victim of mass-avoidance. Like Mark Twain’s “Old Traveler” he boasted about where he had been, about his prominence as a surgeon, how he was traveling the world while his wife, also a surgeon, stayed at home, tending to the sutures and clamps.

But Jack was a different type.  Everybody took to him immediately. Jack was a big Samoan, a boilermaker by trade who was taking his wife on her first vacation without the kids in 20 years.  Jack became our official chief, our Ratu, in Fijian tribal parlance, and he didn’t let go until he broke Herr Doktor.