Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My No Bandwagon Vacation, Destination: Hawaii

Meet the 4 guilty parties of the No Bandwagon Hawaiian Vacation of 2009:

From Left to Right: Ms. Contextual Strategist, Ms. Dole Pineapple, Mrs. Fish, Ms. Handholder

What makes a No Bandwagon Vacation:
All parties must be within their mid-20s. Agenda must include going out, some relaxin in the sun, funny jokes, and some pondering of how wonderful it is to get away from the everyday humdrum of life.

For my Hawaiian no bandwagon vacation, I had the pleasure of going to the island of Oahu for 6 days and 5 nights. Through the fabulous finding skills of ms. dole pineapple, we managed to get a cheap flight and hotel package and scored a partial ocean front view at the Marriott Waikiki Beach.

While most of the plan was to get some Vitamin D, we managed to fit some activities in here and there:

  • Hanauma Bay Snorkeling

  • Surfing at Waikiki Beach: "Stand in front of my belly, don't worry I'm not trying to touch your butt," Tony the surf instructor.

  • Drive to the North Shore, seeing the Banzai Pipeline
  • Germaine's Luau (which was highly discounted due to Ms. Dole Pineapple's ability to dissuade the "COOL" timeshare saleswoman)
  • Late nights out on the town: the W and Oceans 808

And on to my favorite part: the FOOD
in Waikiki we were lucky to sample: ( I will later supply my Yelp reviews of my favorites, but for now I have italicized them)
  • Ono Hawaiian Foods - authentic Hawaiian food with kahlua pork, beef stew, taro leaf wrapped around chicken
  • Sansei Restaurant - sushi
  • Blazin' Steaks - $6 entree plates with large portions
  • The Beachhouse - amazing scenery outlooking the ocean at the Westin Moana Surfrider Hotel
  • The Tiki Room - chill bar with live singer and food appetizers
  • Haagen Dazs - enough said
  • Sushi King - reminds me of home sushi
  • Puka Dog - hot dogs with a whole new twist with toppings such as lilikoi, papaya; think of hot dogs catered to those with a sweet tooth, featured on Anthony Bourdain's show

in North Shore my favorite foods of the trip included:
  • Giovanni's Shrimp Truck - the infamous truck with plates heaping full of shrimp
  • Matsumoto's Shaved Ice - shaved ice brought on a whole another level with the sweet flavors of lilikoi, melona guava to your ordinary strawberry, lemon, grape for those who like to play it safe

We love Hawaii!!! I will have to go back. Aloha!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Who are we without money?

I'm not sure where it came from, but I remember someone saying that you can't do anything without money - you can't buy a house to live, you can't eat, you can't do anything that would make you happy.

When did society rear us to believe that such beliefs are THE beliefs? Does money really buy you happiness? Happiness comes in so many forms. To some it might be that next $2000 Louis Vuitton bag that they've been saving each paycheck for to buy. To others it might be that big house on the nice suburban lot they've been eyeing at forever.

The problem with both of these things are that they act as living proofs or status symbols that their owners have made it, earned it, whatever IT is. The elusiveness of what IT signifies is that it is what first society measures as a sign of success, and secondly to what that person strives themselves to be measured against. But just as money may provide nice things, it also has the potential to provide a sense of complacency in life. What do I mean? Sure money can buy you the LV bag, but once you have that LV bag then what? Another one? A car, a house? Are you just going to go up the totem pole of status signifiers until you've made it? Money has the danger of creating a sense of security and complacency that when you reach the top you've made it. You're at the top of the ladder and as long as you have money, you're golden. What else is there to strive for? There are only so many Bentleys and penthouse apartments you can buy until they just become another thing on the list.

Complacency at the top is all about being comfortable at the top, and forgetting about what it took to get there and remaining to be appreciative of the effort that it took. That's why when people fall to rock bottom from the top, they lose themselves in the process. They've built up their identity around success measured through material things, that they've neglected to realize that happiness is a journey and a process. It takes hard work. And more importantly it is a continual process. Once it is achieved, it can be lost again, and you have to work to earn it back. A perfect example of this is what one of the richest men in the world is doing, he started a philanthropic organization to help others. He could have done a flat one-time check to the organization of his choice, but by starting his own organization, I think he's really managed to leverage his assets in a positive way that will provide a great source of happiness even when the money runs out.