Archive for October, 2009

Aloha!

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

In my time “away” from bridge and other things, I was lucky enough to spend time in some beautiful parts of the world. I found the Italian Riviera, for example, to be absolutely breathtaking in spots.

I was not prepared, however, for what I found after I left sultry Atlanta.

As you may know, I headed right for Hawaii – and I was completely blown away. That place is paradise, I tell you: blue water everywhere you look; beautiful, friendly people, plus a climate to die for.

Just listen to me – blown away and to die for are phrases you never heard anyone say in the “old days,” but I have decided that maybe those days weren’t as “good” as we remember. I don’t know who said it, but I like the quote: “If you’re yearning for the good old days, just turn off the air conditioning.”

Not that it’s germane to the topic, but I can tell you that most people in Hawaii don’t even need A/C. They don’t have “good old days” in Hawaii. Today’s days are just like yesterday’s – great!

It takes a long time to get from Atlanta to Hawaii – I was pretty groggy by the time the plane landed – but it’s worth the trip.

I spent the first weekend in Kaneohe, part of Oahu, which also includes Honolulu.

I love the names you hear all around the islands. I found out that Kaneohe means “Bamboo Man.” In fact, just about every place you go has a name that means something poetic or historic or colorful. I learned about a former king of another area I visited, called Kailua (“two seas”). The king’s name was Kauakahiakahoowaha. I didn’t dare to ask what that means. What do you reckon his friends called him?

Anyway, I stayed with Bev and Arnie Drill in Kaneohe and had papaya for breakfast one day. They were very hospitable.

Bev and Arnie Drill shared their home with me.

Bev and Arnie Drill shared their home with me.

Everywhere I went, there was a spectacular view of something, mostly the Pacific Ocean, I guess. You can get an eyeful anywhere, it seems. I was stunned by the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, for example.

I did manage some bridge while I was in Hawaii, specifically the Unit 470 Sectional in Honolulu. Our 50th state has a lively and competitive bridge community, I can tell you.

After that, I stopped by the Kailua Bridge Club and had a chance to meet the owner, Edith Neff. She was just like the other Hawaiians I met – very charming. The club is very nice, and everyone made me feel welcome.

Oops, I’m late for my bridge game. I’ll have to post more about my trip to Hawaii later, so, check back soon!

That’s me at the Kailua Bridge Club.

That’s me at the Kailua Bridge Club.

Hot ‘Lanta, Part 2

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Okay, now – back to my tour of the city.

Not far away from the aquarium is the home of Coca Cola. I guess I had forgotten that headquarters for the world’s most famous drink are right there in Atlanta.

The people at Coke were very friendly, especially the tour guides.

I was hoping to leave the Coca-Cola plant with one of those great-looking red shirts, but they didn’t have them in super-extra-extra small.

I was hoping to leave the Coca-Cola plant with one of those great-looking red shirts, but they didn’t have them in super-extra-extra small.

There’s a big benefit, I guess, to being my size. Lots of people think I’m cute (nudge-nudge, wink-wink), and I’m trying not to spoil that image. Hey, it’s gotten me into lots of places so far, and I like the attention. Bridge people seem to have a lot more fun than they did when I was playing “seriously.”

Don’t you just love that big chicken at the KFC in Marietta? I bet the Atlanta area has the only restaurant that looks like that.

Don’t you just love that big chicken at the KFC in Marietta? I bet the Atlanta area has the only restaurant that looks like that.

I had a great time at The Varsity, an 80-year-old restaurant in Atlanta they call the “Lunching Pad.” I liked the No. 1 Combo at the Varsity – two chili dogs, onion rings and a Coca Cola – but I did have to beg for some Rolaids later on.

There were more stops, including the Fox Theatre and CNN Headquarters. What an eye-opener! I can remember when there wasn’t any television anywhere.

They told me I had to rest up for the Atlanta Sectional Tournament, so I took it easy for a while. One thing about those chili dogs, though – they stay with you.

Yessir – that’s a lot of food. Now you know why I left Atlanta looking to let out the pants. It was worth it, though. Yummy!

Yessir – that’s a lot of food. Now you know why I left Atlanta looking to let out the pants. It was worth it, though. Yummy!

Before departing Atlanta, I must say that bridge in the area is so much more than brick and mortar clubs, or even the one-day-a-week clubs that rent space. What I observed were people who love bridge – especially the directors and managers –working as hard as they can to get other people involved, assisted by players with an inspiring devotion to the game and a willingness to welcome new people. That is one element of bridge that hasn’t changed during my time away.

People who knew me in my heyday might thing I’m getting all soft and “mushy” about this, but my travels have been an eye-opener for me. I can’t wait for the next stop.

Thanks for everything, Dan, and Atlanta bridge!  For more photos of me in Atlanta, have a look at the photo gallery below.