Archive for August, 2009

Survey Thursday: Allergies?

August 13, 2009

So during my trip to Alaska last month, I strangely broke out in hives after taking a jog after dinner. In trying to figure out if it was the shellfish I ate just prior, I set up an appointment with the allergy specialist at my doc’s office. For anyone who’s ever done this kinda test, it’s very strange. They poke your arms up and down with known allergens. The ones that get puffy are the ones you’re allergic to. Pretty old school, caveman-kine testing, but hey, it works.

Turns out I’m rather allergic to mold, grass and dust mites (but I’m thinking “who ain’t”!?), and fairly allergic to cockroaches. Yeah cockroaches! What the? How the heck did they test that!? Did they prick me with some of their juicy goodness? Yikes!

This interesting life experience led me to today’s survey question:

Is yous allergic to anything and if so, what?

Wifey is lactose intolerant (does that count?), and I know of some peeps who are highly allergic to shellfish. I know when I dive around during softball games, my legs and arms get all itchy kine, so grass for me, is one fo sho. And, after that crazy test, I guess I can’t mess around too much with any more B52s! Awww, that makes me sad. I’m gonna miss those cute lil’ buggahs! Hehe! 😛

K, your turn! What you be allergic to yo? 😉

Happy Survey Thursday… Woo Hoo it’s almost TGI(F)F!

Where In Philadelphia is Edward Sugimoto? – August 12, 2009

August 12, 2009

Back from a whirlwind sports weekend in Philly y’all, and I gots some great news to share: the Shane Victorino interview was a go!Woo hoo! After biting my nails and wondering if it was actually going to happen all weekend, I was able to meet up with Bruddah Shane in the Phillies duguout before his Sunday game to chat a bit about his personal life, his baseball life, and do some Q&As with your submitted questions. Still workin’ on puttin’ that all together but will post it here upon completion. Guaranz!

In the meantime, let’s take care of some “Where Is Ed” bidness shall we? Last week, we had two winners. Time-stamp-wise Richie Marquez was the first when he posted his answer correctly on my personal world-wide-ed.com blog. Advertiser blogs-wise, Takeshi was the first, so we’ll give the win to both! Fair enough yeah!?

This week, instead of just one photo, let’s make things a bit more interesting and really challenge your brain with, count it, 4 PHOTOS! Scurred? Muhahahahaha!

No worries, even if you’ve never been to Philly, it should be kinda easy (I think). I’ll have hints for each photo and Google will help out fo sho, but I’m also counting on the WWE `ohana/community helping each other out more than anything. One person will get one, the next person will get another, and so on and so forth. First one to list all four correctly will be declared da winnah! Ready? We go!

Where In Philadelphia Is Edward Sugimoto? - August 12, 2009
(Photo 1) Where In Philadelphia is Edward Sugimoto? – August 12, 2009

Where In Philadelphia Is Edward Sugimoto? - August 12, 2009
(Photo 2) Where In Philadelphia is Edward Sugimoto? – August 12, 2009

Where In Philadelphia Is Edward Sugimoto? - August 12, 2009
(Photo 3) Where In Philadelphia is Edward Sugimoto? – August 12, 2009

Where In Philadelphia Is Edward Sugimoto? - August 12, 2009
(Photo 4) Where In Philadelphia is Edward Sugimoto? – August 12, 2009

Hints: (Photo 1) – popular bar near Citizens Banks Park (known for their ____ fries). (Photo 2) – well-known Philly Cheesesteak restaurant. (Photo 3) – “Yo Aaaadriannnn!” (Photo 4) – Say no to crack. 8)


Da “Where In Hawaii” Winnahz Circle!

Happy Hump Day Where In Hawaii Wednesday y’all. 🙂 Shooooots!

Fave Five Friday – Poke Locations

August 7, 2009

If you said “Tantalus” or “ma’s house”, you’re a perv! Getcho mind outta the gutter yo. 😛 I’m actually referring to the raw seafood mixture that so many of us love with our beer, er meal. Poke, NOT poke. Getum? 😉

In any case, I was thinking of putting together a “Poke around Hawaii” type of piece for AroundHawaii.com, like I did for Shave Ice, Pho, and Acai (part I and part II), and I wanted to get your guys’ help. Post some of your favorite poke around Hawaii and where it’s from and I’ll target the hostpots that get the most action. 🙂 For now, check out my Fave Five list!

  1. Masago Ahi from Yama’s Fish Market – YUMMMMM!
  2. Anything from Tamashiro Market! – just hard to find parking sometimes.
  3. Clam Poke from Costco – hooooo! surprisingly ono for something from Costco!
  4. Limu Ahi from Safeway – OK, I’m a bit biased ’cause I used to make it, but the recipe is some ono. And they only use fresh ahi, not frozen!
  5. Creamy Ahi from Poke Stop – I remember it being better before.

I heard good things about Ono Seafood in Kapahulu, JJ Seafood in Kaneohe, Fresh Catch in Kaimuki and Golden Mart in Mililani. Any recommendations for what to try there, or anywhere else? Holla atcho boy!

P.S. Wish me luck with the Victorino interview! Still crossin’ my fingers… : If you order the UFC 101 (Penn vs. Florian) fight on Oceanic Time Warner Cable PPV, look for us on TV k!? 8)

Happy VHO7V Friday and have an awesome weekend y’all! 🙂

Bon Dance Memories?

August 6, 2009

For how Japaneee I truly am, it’s surprising that I don’t really have a lot of memories of Bon Dances growing up. The ‘rents are actually from the motherland, but it was never really a big part of our lives I guess. Wifey, on the other hand, went every year with her family and had many fond memories to share. When we took a recent stroll to the Koganji Temple Bon Dance in Manoa Valley, it was nice to experience the sights and sounds that so many cherish, and, just otherwise get back in touch with my Nihonjin roots.

We're walkin' in the rain...
We’re walkin’ in the rain…

Koganji Temple Bon Dance sign
Koganji Temple Bon Dance sign

Koganji Temple shrine
Koganji Temple shrine

Bon Dance at the Koganji Temple
Bon Dance at the Koganji Temple

Bon Dance at the Koganji Temple
Bon Dance at the Koganji Temple

Menu at the Koganji Temple Bon Dance
Menu at the Koganji Temple Bon Dance

Fried Noodles at the Koganji Temple Bon Dance
Fried Noodles at the Koganji Temple Bon Dance

Beef Stew at the Koganji Temple Bon Dance
Beef Stew at the Koganji Temple Bon Dance

Talk to me!
* Have you been to this Koganji Temple Bon Dance?
* Any Bon Dance memories you’d like to share?

* Your favorite Bon Dance meal?
* Do you dance? Your favorite Bon Dance dance/song? (I was surprised to hear Elvira as one of the songs)
* Your favorite Bon Dance location?
* Any other childhood memories you’d like to share?
* Other things you folks like to do with your family?

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – August 5, 2009

August 5, 2009

OK, I’m getting a tad bit scurred now. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that Coconut Willy was stalking me after capturing a record 8th win last week! What in the!? Aren’t the rest of you interested in stalking me at least just a little? Puleeeease!?

Nah, nah, please don’t stalk me. But try give C Dubbs some hard rubs this week k? 8)

Gonna be one hard one kiddies (I think). I may actually have to drop a hint or two. But for now, chance um!

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - August 5, 2009
Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – August 5, 2009

Hint: Somewhere somewhat near the Honolulu airport vicinity perhaps? 8)


Da “Where In Hawaii” Winnahz Circle!

Happy Hump DayWhere In Hawaii Wednesday y’all. 🙂 Shooooots!

Fun Day Monday: Ask a Shane (Victorino)

August 3, 2009

Hey Hey Hey! We may’ve done it again gang!

As part of my UFC 101 weekend in Philadelphia this weekend, I’ve been in contact with Shane Victorino’s management company (shout out to Josh Goldberg at Beverly Hills Sports Council) to see if I can’t line up an interview with our proud Phillie All Star that very same weekend. Josh says that we’ll make it happen so I’mma keepin’ my fingers crossed!

In anticipation of this interview, let’s collect your questions, much like how we did with your BJ Penn ones: Post any questions you’d like to ask Shane in the comment area below and I’ll take them up with me to ask Shane himself. Then, we’ll do a post-interview blog with your questions (much like how we did with the BJ ones)! Sound good? Comment away! 🙂

A special thank you to Ted Nakamura who connected me to Leonard Nakahashi who connected me to Shane’s mom, who connected me to Josh at BHSC. Mahalo Ted, Leonard, Shane’s mom, Shane, Josh, and BHSC!

Shane Victorino
Shane Victorino [Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]

Wish me luck y’all!

Tinman Tips – A First Timer’s Guide to Tinman Success

August 1, 2009

Late last month, your boy manned up and checked yet another item off the ol’ “bucket list”: Compete in the Hawaii Tinman. On Sunday, July 26th, the 2009 Tinman Triathlon was in full effect and, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I was there yo. Having a couple of marathons already under my belt, I was going into the Tinman thinking it would be another cakewalk. Boy was I mistaken!

The “just have fun” mentality will quickly eat you alive in the Tinman competition if you aren’t properly prepared. Below are the lessons I’ve learned as a first timer that I’d like to pass along to all y’all. Enjoy!

* Take it serious! – unlike the marathon, there are a lot less “just for fun” participants, as made obvious by my finishing rank! LOL! Being fairly athletic and in reasonably good shape does not equal Tinman success. Not training seriously will not only be dangerous to your health, but frustrate the bejesus outta you (when your muscles don’t agree with what your mind is telling them).

* Train! – I would recommend training each activity/concentration successively, in addition to individually. In other words, it’s good to swim until the cows come home, but you should follow it up with a bike and then a swim. Yes, on the same day. My cheater friend Bari (who also did the Tinman with me) wisely took it a little more serious than I and participated in running and biking groups that met up on the weekends. The Heavy Breathers group in the Hawaii Bicycling League has a biking group that goes out on Saturday mornings and the Honolulu Marathon Clinic has a running group that goes out on Sunday mornings. He fully recommends joining them.

* Give yourself time to train – not only is the entrance fee more expensive the later you apply, you need sufficient time to prepare for what your body will go through. We decided to START TRAINING just two months before the race. With busy schedules and other life activities already planned (like that trip to Alaska), my once a week training schedule (at best), definitely did not cut it.

* Get ready to invest – if you’re “newbs” like us and going into it from scratch, be prepared to shell out some pretty pennies in order to get the party started. The bicycle (no, a mountain bike doesn’t count!), helmet, tri-shorts (specially padded swim trunks that are waaaay too tight), no-blister socks, goggles, water bottle, water bottle holder, miscellaneous bike tools/kits/bags, etc., are just some of the things to think about. And that doesn’t include the $80-100 entrance fee. And BTW, don’t laugh at the mountain bike comment. I actually briefly considered doing that (using the mountain bike I already owned) to save me some money. That, and using my snowboarding helmet as a bike helmet. LOL!

* Run the course – don’t use the day of the race to practice running the actual course. Go to Queens and swim the 750 meter (wall to wall to wall) ocean course. Bike the 24+ miles (40K) to and from Hawaii Kai. Jog the 6+ mile (10K) Diamond Head circle. All BEFORE the race! Extra special bonus points if you do all of them back to back as if it were race day. Click here for the specifics on the course paths. Since Bari and I were a little behind schedule, we ended up driving the course by car the day before. Don’t be us. 8)

* Get a good night’s rest – never underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep the night before the race. If you’re a night owl, you might want to consider sleeping early several nights in a row to help your body get used to sleeping at an early hour.

* Fuel up – eat enough food to last you until the late morning/early afternoon hour, as that will probably be your next meal. As they say, eat bananas to help with cramping and carbo-load a couple days before race day.

* Arrive early (Check in starts at 4AM) – if you arrive too late (especially if this is your first time), you will be scrambling around, trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do and where you’re supposed to be. You will probably also have a hard time finding a place to rack your bike once everyone else has settled in and found their spots.

Your view of the check in area pre-race
Your view of the check in area pre-race

* Be prepared – unfortunately, the folks at the Tinman only make your packet available about a week before the race (I could not find a PDF version of it on their site). There is a lot of valuable information in there that you’ll want to read before race day. Your various race numbers (for your bike itself, for your back for the bike portion, for your front for the run portion, sticker for your helmet, etc.) are also in there. Familiarize yourself with what they are and where they go. It also says to mark your left arm and left leg with your number (for the swim portion) before you arrive, but there are volunteers there, the morning of, with markers to help with that. Concerned for our health, Bari and I went to Longs and picked up a non-toxic marker and did it ourselves. The choice is yours. 8)

* Make sure you can handle rough surf – Before the race, Bari’s dad told us that the waves were expected to be 3-5 that morning at Queens. Not sure if it actually got that big, but there was definitely a bit of washing machine action going on. Rough water swimming in the ocean is A LOT harder and different than in your local pool, or even flat water swimming in the ocean for that matter. Since the water was probably the only possible place I could die (if I rested), I concentrated on training my swimming the most. Probably 98% to my 1% bike and 1% run. Although I HIGHLY recommend training the swimming fo sho, I would also say that you need to devote more than 1 and 1 on your bike and run. :

Bari and I struggling at Manoa pool early on
Bari and I struggling at Manoa pool early on

* Stay away from the wall (during the start) – for some reason, the officials for Bari’s group made them go all the way back against the wall. The combination of the crowd and the rough waves and the reef did not bode well for Bari’s foot as he opened up a gash on the bottom prior to starting.

* Enter the water later – if you’re a weak swimmer or don’t have much water endurance, what in the heck are you doing competing in the Tinman!? Hehe. But seriously, if you’re a weak swimmer or don’t have much water endurance, don’t hurry to get to the starting line within your group (you start in groups based on experience, age and gender). You may end up burning up your energy trying to stay afloat for up to 5 minutes until your start time. Plus, if you stay towards the rear of your group, there’s a better chance of the water being less rough and crowded. Well, at least until the group behind you catches up! LOL!

* Buy a good bike! – thanks to my great friend who shall remain nameless, Bari thought it would be a good idea to buy a bike for me from a Craigslist ad. 8) Later, we discovered that we’ve been duped and that the puppy was actually one from Walmart. So even when I was flying it at full blast on the highest gear, everyone continued to whiz right by me. WTH!? Don’t take any chances. Get a good, Tinman quality bike from the beginning, especially if you plan on competing more than once. If you’re not sure, some of the local bike shops may rent bikes out. Here’s the rental information from The Bike Shop.

* Hydrate, especially during the bike portion! – there are NO aid stations during the 24+ mile bike portion of the race. Be sure you have a water bottle or two filled with your favorite fluid (other than hard liquor 😛 ). I had one bottle of Gatorade and that wasn’t enough, just FYI. If you’re in the same situation, be sure to partition out half for going to Hawaii Kai and the other half for coming back.

Heartbreak Hill in Hawaii Kai - generally speaking, the midway point for the bike ride [Photo Credit: wifey]
Heartbreak Hill in Hawaii Kai – generally speaking, the midway point for the bike ride [Photo Credit: wifey]

* Have a great support system – having your friends’ and family’s support before, during and after the race is priceless.

Kari, Miko and moms waiting patiently (and I stress patiently :P ) for my arrival. [Photo Credit: wifey]
Kari, Miko and moms waiting patiently (and I stress patiently 😛 ) for my arrival. [Photo Credit: wifey]

Wifey snaggin' some action shots [Photo Credit: Kari Ohara]
Wifey snaggin’ some action shots [Photo Credit: Kari Ohara]

Still in good spirits (for some reason) on Heartbreak Hill [Photo Credit: Kari Ohara]
Still in good spirits (for some reason) on Heartbreak Hill [Photo Credit: Kari Ohara]

The cheering section! Ahaha! [Photo Credit: wifey]
The cheering section! Ahaha! [Photo Credit: wifey]

Making me crack up on the way back down Heartbreak Hill [Photo Credit: wifey]
Making me crack up on the way back down Heartbreak Hill [Photo Credit: wifey]

* Kiss your bum g’bye! – after sitting on a teeny seat for that long, your butt and “special areas” (if you’re a man) will undoubtedly get sore. I’m just sayin’.

* Wear gloves – I underestimated the value of a pair of gloves for that long of a bike ride. Though it was just tender and didn’t quite blister for me, I can see it being a problem for others.

* Be careful on the bike dismount – if you didn’t train properly (or even if you did!), when you dismount your bike, be aware that your legs will be J-e-l-l-o. This happened to me as well as my unnamed friend Bari, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were actually some who ate it coming off of the bike. Just be aware.

* Transitions, transitions, transitions! – Our transition times were just plain ridiculous. Streamline your in-between time to shave precious minutes off your overall time.

* Don’t take pictures – unless you’re a dedicated writer/blogger extraordinaire (like me) 😛 , don’t stop to smell the roses. Taking mental notes and stopping to take photos during this race is not a good idea for your finishing time. Lesson learned. But then again, we wouldn’t have any wonderful shots like these now would we? *grin*

The start of the run on Kapahulu next to the Honolulu Zoo
The start of the run on Kapahulu next to the Honolulu Zoo

Looking back on Monsarrat Ave, on the way towards Diamond Head
Looking back on Monsarrat Ave, on the way towards Diamond Head

Leaving the first of 3 aid stations at Kapiolani Community College (the 2nd was at the beginning of Elepaio St and the 3rd was at Triangle Park)
Leaving the first of 3 aid stations at Kapiolani Community College (the 2nd was at the beginning of Elepaio St and the 3rd was at Triangle Park)

Much like the Honolulu Marathon, you'll head down 18th Ave towards Kilauea.
Much like the Honolulu Marathon, you’ll head down 18th Ave towards Kilauea.

At this point, my legs were shot. The reason why this photo is looking up towards Diamond Head is because I was walking backwards! Ya gotta do what ya gotta do right? 😉

Fighting the heat on Kilauea before turning right on Elepaio St.
Fighting the heat on Kilauea before turning right on Elepaio St.

Again, much like the marathon, you go up Kahala Ave towards the finish.
Again, much like the marathon, you go up Kahala Ave towards the finish.

Tourists taking in the sights on Kahala Ave
Tourists taking in the sights on Kahala Ave

Aloha story: you see the fella in the blue jogging in the photo above? During the race, he came over and decided to keep a brutha company and jog along with me towards the finish. He was just exercising and wasn’t even in the race! What a nice gesture, especially being that since 5:55AM that morning, I was pretty much on my own. It was nice to have someone to finally talk to. After chatting a bit, we found out that we shared a mutual friend in fellow Honolulu Advertiser blogger Melissa Chang. I Tweeted @Melissa808 after the race to please thank her friend and found find out that his name was Russell. Mahaloz Russell for your company and encouragement!

The fountain off Kalakaua Ave near Kapiolani Park
The fountain off Kalakaua Ave near Kapiolani Park

Cones leading to the finish line
Cones leading to the finish line

Allllmost there! [Photo Credit: Kim Asano]
Allllmost there! [Photo Credit: Kim Asano]

Alas! The goal is in sight!
Alas! The goal is in sight!

Funny story: DJ Maleko, who was emceeing the finish line area, called out my name and said that I should’ve taken this picture after I finished, not before!

So thar ya have it! I hope this helped you future Tinman-ers at least a little. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comment area below.

A special Mahalo to my blog commenter M, and all of the staffers at The Bike Shop and McCully Bike for the pre-race help/tips! Doumo Arigatou (Mr. Roboto) to Kari Ohara, Miko Ohara, Kim Asano, moms, pops, wifey and wifey’s family for the support before, during and after the race! Big ups to the Tinman peeps for putting on this glorious event and the 100s of volunteers (and race participants as well) who showed their support during the race! Props to Russell for being my last leg jogging partner! And a final grazie to the Carrolls for the hospitality before the race and a wonderful lunch after.

I (guess I) can’t forget to send some love to Bari Carroll for motivating me to train for this thang against my will. 😛 You be a-ight I guess… Nah, thanks B!

Bari and I - 2009 Tinman Finishers!
Bari and I – 2009 Tinman Finishers!
2009 Tinman Hawaii Results:
  Bari Ed
Swim 21:40.3
Rank 489
19:19.6
Rank 402
Transition 1 11:15.9
Rank 539
9:27.6
Rank 536
Bike 1:28:56.0
Rank 375
1:52:16.0
Rank 527
Transition 2 2:35.3
Rank 463
1:52.8
Rank 346
Run 1:01:32.3
Rank 328
1:25:52.3
Rank 523
Total 3:05:59.8
Rank 415
3:48:48.3
Rank 536
Source: timelinehawaii.com

See ya guys in the water next year??? 8)

P.S. Wanna see our progress from newbs to average Joes? Check out Bari’s (slightly biased) editing magic in our Tinman journal/video documentary! Don’t watch if you’re squeamish about pale, topless men. Consider yourself warned! 😛

Ship’s Ahoy! – Experiencing an Alaskan Cruise for the Very First Time – Part I

August 1, 2009

 Part I  | Part II | Part III | Part IV

For someone who’s spent his entire life on an island completely surrounded by water, it’s amazing that your boy has never traveled much on one of them floaty things… What are they called now? A yes, a boat.

I mean there were those times on fiberglass-infested kayaks, small fishing boats, and touristy catamarans all over Hawaii, or that local ferry in Seattle, or even that Honshu to Kyuushu hovercraft in Japan… but nothing really to write home about.

So when the fam wanted to get together for a little family bonding on the water – Alaskan Cruise ship style, I was in like flint!

Now because the ship’s first port of call was out of the Port of Seattle (Smith Cove Cruise Terminal on Pier 91 to be exact), we “Hawaiians” had to fly over to our Northwest neighbor in order to start our Alaskan adventure.

Ain’t no thang. All it meant was that we’d have a bonus night (going) and whole day (coming back) in the Emerald City. Sa-weet! Two vacays in one!

After a quick stay at the Comfort Inn & Suites SeaTac – which was preceded by a high class meal at the Silver Dollar Casino Restaurant & Lounge, and followed by a visit to the “International Festival” at nearby Angle Lake Park the next morning, we were shuttled off to the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal.

Smith Cove Cruise Terminal, Pier 91 - Seattle, Washington
Smith Cove Cruise Terminal, Pier 91 – Seattle, Washington

Much like the airport terminals across the country, this seaport terminal could get confusing and hectic real quick if you aren’t paying attention.

Choose the right boat!
Choose the right boat!

Expect to stand in line for like 20-30 minutes.
Expect to stand in line for like 20-30 minutes.

Following the long wait and mandatory paperwork, we were ready to board yo!

Sign for Holland America Line's ms Westerdam (7 Day Alaskan Explorer)
Sign for Holland America Line’s ms Westerdam (7 Day Alaskan Explorer)

Not sure if this is typical of cruiselines, or we were just waaay too early, but our rooms were not ready when we got on the ship. We decided to kill some time familiarizing ourselves with our home for the next 7 days, and its many amenities.

The Lido Bar
The Lido Bar

The Sea View Pool
The Sea View Pool

Alas, our rooms were ready… If you’re claustrophobic, your stateroom may be a bit tight for you. Check it.

View from the "hallway" to the bed (front door is behind)
View from the “hallway” to the bed (front door is behind)

View from the "bedroom" to the hallway and bathroom
View from the “bedroom” to the hallway and bathroom

Pretty tight quarters for the potty and shower/tub, but it worked.
Pretty tight quarters for the potty and shower/tub, but it worked.

Our luggage was not delivered to our room yet and we wondered where in the heck it was. Turning the corner to get to the elevator answered all of our questions.

Mystery solved: the pile of luggage (ours is in there somewhere) [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]
Mystery solved: the pile of luggage (ours is in there somewhere) [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]

Ed’s Tip: If you love your luggage, buy a hard case. They stack everyone’s luggage near the elevator, on the floor you’re on, before room delivery.

Before we could even catch our breath, it was time for the all-ship, mandatory (yes mandatory!) safety training, where we geared up in our lifejackets (provided in each room) and proceeded to the 3rd floor deck for some instruction.

Cousin Evan in a sea of orange
Cousin Evan in a sea of orange

After roll call (yes, roll call! 😛 ), we were trained on what to do in case of an emergency. Although it was supposed to be serious, we were able to find humor in our fashion.

This is how we roll [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]
This is how we roll [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]

Ed’s Tip: Be sure to study the chart on the back of your room’s door. It shows the quickest, shortest route to your designated meeting area outside, in addition to how to properly wear your life jacket.

Emergency Information on Holland America room door
Emergency Information on Holland America room door

Following the training sesh, we further explored the ship, discovering the Hydro Pool, Thermal Suites, Fitness Center, Lido Pool, and all-important basketball court!

Going left on the Brother-In-Law
Going left on the Brother-In-Law

Brother-In-Law made the mistake of challenging the Sugimotos to a 2-on-2 game of hoops, which led to the following victory and defeat photos. *grin*

2-on-2 champs! [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]
2-on-2 champs! [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]

Maybe next time? :) [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]
Maybe next time? 🙂 [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]

Ed’s Tip: If you try to hoop it up and it’s insanely windy, don’t give up. The wind up there on the 11th floor varies, depending on the weather and what day of the cruise you’re on.

Before long, it was time to get ready for dinner. Since it was casual night, we decided to just eat BBQ food (served next to the Lido Pool) and follow that up with some dancing at the Northern Lights Nightclub on the 3rd floor.

Party animals aboard the ms. Westerdam
Party animals aboard the ms. Westerdam

Holland America’s reputation is that it is more for the older crowd, and nowhere was that more apparent than the empty nightclub that night. We owned the dance floor baby! Later, we were told that formal nights are when the club (and everywhere else) gets crowded.

Ed’s Tip: Party on formal nights. You’ll have more company.

Every morning, you’re greeted with a “Today at a Glance” daily itinerary in your room’s mailbox. Itemizing various activities hour by hour, you’re never short of possibilities to fill your day (e.g. Basketball Shootout, Ping Pong Challenge, No Limit Texas Hold’Em Poker Tournament, Bingo, Digital Workshops, Wine Tasting, Culinary Arts Presentations, Broadway-esque shows, etc.).

On day two, we decided to make it a true vacation and fill our time with long overdue pampering, courtesy of room service for breakfast and the Hydro Pool and Thermal Suites for hard core relaxation.

Room Service for breakfast
Room Service for breakfast

The Hydro Pool
The Hydro Pool

Our view from the Thermal Suites (beds are heated)
Our view from the Thermal Suites (beds are heated)

Ed’s Tip: Part of your fees includes a daily charge of $11 for tip. Since you’re paying for it anyway, you might as well order up room service for those times when you just don’t feel like going out. For the Hydro Pool/Thermal Suites package ($40 per person), order this to start the morning of a full day on the cruise (no docking) to make the most of your money. This way, you’ll have all day and night for in and out privileges. For the Thermal Suites, try to pick an off-peak time to go. With just 6 beds, you will hardly ever find a bed open during peak hours.

And then it was formal night!

I was probably in the minority on this one being that I was fairly excited. How often do we get to play dress up and grind good kine eats like this?

The wifey and I on formal night at the Vista Dining Room
The wifey and I on formal night at the Vista Dining Room

The Crab Cake was a winner for all of us. I ordered two for good measure.
The Crab Cake was a winner for all of us. I ordered two for good measure.

Surf and Turf combo
Surf and Turf combo

Crab Legs!
Crab Legs!

Ed’s Tip: If you’re a big eater, portions will be small. You may want to order up several rounds to satisfy the ol’ appetite.

But don’t forget to leave room for dessert!

Leanne and Lee enjoying their dessert
Leanne and Lee enjoying their dessert

... But not as much as us!
… But not as much as us!

After squeezing in another session at the Thermal Suites, we decided to put day 2 to a close in preparation for the next day’s festivities.

Day 3 called for us to turn our clocks back one hour (from Seattle time to Alaska time) and involved many on-boat activities, including the highlight: majestic Glacier Bay.

Huge glacier wall near Glacier Bay
Huge glacier wall near Glacier Bay

My attempt at an artsy fartsy shot near Glacier Bay
My attempt at an artsy fartsy shot near Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay, Alaska [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]
Glacier Bay, Alaska [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]

Glacier near Glacier Bay (notice the relative size of the ship in the water and the gushing waterfall in the cave?) [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]
Glacier near Glacier Bay (notice the relative size of the ship in the water and the gushing waterfall in the cave?) [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]

Family shot in Glacier Bay
Family shot in Glacier Bay

Ed’s Tip: Give yourself enough time to eat so you’re not rushing to finish eating in order to get a good view of the scenery. The Glacier Bay Park Ranger Commentary, for us, began at 1PM (check your daily schedule). Also, dress warm. During certain hours, staying outdoors to experience Glacier Bay for long periods of time may prove to be too cold for some.

And then, it was time for socializing with our tour group at the Captain’s Corner of the Crow’s Nest (10th floor Observation deck)…

Our tour group with one Michael W Perry! [Photo Credit: Mark & Carolyn Yasuda]
Our tour group with one Michael W Perry! [Photo Credit: Mark & Carolyn Yasuda]

… with dinner to follow at the Vista Dining Room again (9th floor).

Sitka Sound Dungeness Crab and Artichoke en Bouchee appetizer - Tender pieces of crab and artichoke, braised in shellfish sauce and served in a pastry shell, topped with lemon-Hollandaise sauce
Sitka Sound Dungeness Crab and Artichoke en Bouchee appetizer – Tender pieces of crab and artichoke, braised in shellfish sauce and served in a pastry shell, topped with lemon-Hollandaise sauce

Fairbanks Seafood Platter appetizer - A fine selection of Alaskan spotted shrimp, salmon jerky, clams, hot-smoked salmon and smoked halibut.
Fairbanks Seafood Platter appetizer – A fine selection of Alaskan spotted shrimp, salmon jerky, clams, hot-smoked salmon and smoked halibut.

Ketchikan Fisherman's Chowder - Halibut, salmon, cod, shrimp, thyme, celebry, red-skin potato and corn braised in a creamy clam soup, served with sourdough croutons.
Ketchikan Fisherman’s Chowder – Halibut, salmon, cod, shrimp, thyme, celebry, red-skin potato and corn braised in a creamy clam soup, served with sourdough croutons.

Reindeer Sausage and Vegetable Soup - Rich beef broth with sausage, diced carrot, onion, potato, green beans, peas, cabbage, fresh herbs and finished with sherry pepper to add a little extra spice.
Reindeer Sausage and Vegetable Soup – Rich beef broth with sausage, diced carrot, onion, potato, green beans, peas, cabbage, fresh herbs and finished with sherry pepper to add a little extra spice.

Halibut Caddy Ganty entrée - Topped with sour cream, onion and fresh breadcrumbs, served over olive oil red-skin mashed potatoes, broccoli florets and roasted cherry tomatoes.
Halibut Caddy Ganty entrée – Topped with sour cream, onion and fresh breadcrumbs, served over olive oil red-skin mashed potatoes, broccoli florets and roasted cherry tomatoes.

Razor Clam, Bay Scallops and Manila Clam over Noodles entrée - Tender egg noodles, diced tomato, garlic and parsley, tossed in a white wine cream sauce, topped with sautéed razor clam, bay scallops and streamed Manila clams.
Razor Clam, Bay Scallops and Manila Clam over Noodles entrée – Tender egg noodles, diced tomato, garlic and parsley, tossed in a white wine cream sauce, topped with sautéed razor clam, bay scallops and streamed Manila clams.

Ahhh… the end of day 3. By now, you’ll be getting used to the VERY long days.

Bright blue skies at almost a quarter to 10PM!
Bright blue skies at almost a quarter to 10PM!

Tomorrow, we are expected to see land for the first time in 3 days, as we hit Juneau Alaska at 6AM in the morning. See ya bright and early!

To be continued…

 Part I  | Part II | Part III | Part IV