I opened this web page yesterday evening to write a blog post to find that one of the main files for the website had been hacked (once again). It took several hours to get a backup restored. The site is back in operation. I’m pretty frustrated with this problem. Frustrated enough that I’ve just paid $90 for a security company to protect the website. The setup of this system is also very convoluted. I’ve spent considerable time on hold waiting for chat support to come online.
The replacement of the tile in the fountain pool is now underway. The fountain has been cordoned off and today a crew were down there hammering off the existing tile. The head guy for the construction crew says they have a six-week budget to do the work and based on how things went today, he’s sure it’ll take the full six weeks. The grounds are so pretty it’s unfortunate to have all this construction going on. It seems to me that there have been a number of problems with the whole update project. For instance, the flagpole! The wrong top was shipped, the project guy thought he could get away with painting the ball on the top the right color. Nope. The Church wants things done as close to perfect as possible. Further, the flashing around the bottom wasn’t sent. Finally, the middle section of the flagpole isn’t straight. The project guy decided to put it up anyway, but position the bend so it wasn’t noticeable from the street. Wrong. So, they’ll spend money (for which they won’t be paid) to take it down when the straight piece arrives. And why did the manufacturer ship it with a bent piece? This is one example of several where the contractor tries to “make do” with the wrong stuff and the manufacturer or supplier knowingly ships stuff that doesn’t meet the specification (if they didn’t know, that’s even a bigger problem). Well, I should end the rant: </rant>
There are several (four, I think) grounds keepers to maintain the gardens, lawn, and area around the Temple. These folks work hard and definitely do a magnificent job. The grounds are always manicured and inviting. I wonder sometimes if they know how much the work that they do affects the visitors who come to the Temple and to the Visitors’ Center? Every day visitors tell me how beautiful everything is and how peaceful the area feels. The fellow in the picture has some hand sheers and is trimming the bush around the big light post base (the light that goes on it is out somewhere for refurbishment and the return date is still unknown). He spent the entire day yesterday trimming these bushes and plants in the courtyard at the Visitors’ Center. I’ve chatted with him a couple of times and he is the nicest guy one could ever meet. One very important work they do is pick up the massive palm tree branches that come down from the palm trees. Those things are huge and heavy and make quite a noise when they come down. I tried counting how many royal palm trees there are going from the Temple out to the beach, but I couldn’t see them all and stopped counting at 150. That means there are always downed branches to be picked up.
We have three or four people who come into the Visitors’ Center every day. Nina has written about one lady on her blog. This fellow is at the Center every day as well. He is most of the time homeless, although recently he acquired a small motor scooter that he rides around. He comes in every day to charge up his smart phone. It generally takes the phone about three hours to recharge. He visits with the missionaries a bit and then goes on his way. He has gotten himself mixed up with drugs and that pretty much rules his life. Hawaii’s climate is nice enough year around that it’s easy to be homeless over here. Along some of the beaches the State has built lockers for people to use, most of which are used by the homeless folks who sleep on the beach at night.
Yesterday afternoon we volunteered taking tickets at the Aloha Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Since the luau includes a show and the show starts at 5pm (the luau opens at about 4:45pm), most of the guests are lined up and waiting to get in when the gate opens.
I find it a bit interesting that there are always (1) a few people who pay for the luau and then don’t come and (2) there are always a few people who arrive at about 6:15pm or later when the show is over and most of the food is gone. The schedule of available events at the PCC is set up so that by 5pm everything at all of the “islands” is finished so that people can go to dinner.
The luaus at the PCC are quite the affair. The whole affair is kind of hidden from view. After we tear off the luau portion of the ticket, the guest gets a lei and then the photographer takes a picture of the family or group together with some members of the cast (the pictures can be purchased later in 8×10 format for $18 or two for $30). The dinner is buffet style. An emcee coordinates the whole show which includes performances from the other islands such as Tonga, Samoa, or Fiji. A pig is put into the ground earlier in the day, taken out at the beginning of the luau, and served as part of the meal to those who are interested. The show always ends with a “fireknife” presentation. This is kind of a teaser for the real show later in the evening.
I took the picture of the entrance into the luau near the end of the presentation. Nina is standing on the left. We have matching clothes … her in a muumuu and me in a matching Hawaiian shirt. The young lady that hands out the leis is sweeping up the area. They work very hard at keeping the whole area clean and swept (reminds me somewhat of Disneyland and their obsession with cleanliness). The luau is on the east side of the walkway so it gets the afternoon sun. That means that I wear my hat while we’re there taking tickets. I’ve got a pretty good tan but don’t want to get a sunburn!