Last weekend I visited Foster Botanical Gardens (FBG), on the edge of Downtown Honolulu. This is one of the few public botanical gardens in Hawaii that charges an entrance fee. It is minimal though–$3 for kama’aina w/ ID; $5 for everyone else (see FBG link above for details).
As far as botanical gardens are concerned it is relatively small. But given it’s unusual location –smack dab in the middle of metropolitan Honolulu (the freeway runs on one side and the Downtown business district is on the other)– it is a small miracle! Within the garden is a huge variety of trees, shrubs, and flowering plants. 24 magnificent trees are officially listed as “exceptional” and are protected by City ordinance. 5 of them are clearly visible in my QTVR (click linked image above).
For those of you who are “bug buffs” (like me), FBG is a virtual bug safari! Also, there are tons of Gold Dust Day Gecko’s in the Bromiliad patch. :mrgreen: I could spend the entire day there doing nothing but bug hunting. FBG is literally a Downtown oasis for insects, small reptiles, birds, small mammals, and humans even.
I have lived on Oahu for most of my life and have only been to Foster Botanical Gardens one other time — and that was back in grade school. It is astounding to think about how much I take for granted, as a long time resident. Actually it is kind of sad. I think I’ll get that annual pass and make it a point to visit FBG regularly…my bug portfolio is looking kind of thin. ;)
My post today is very out of order — no, it is not “broken”. Simply out of sequence. I have been working on a more detailed “retrospective diary” of my last trip to Japan. (Oddly enough, on the heels of my Spring 2008 trip to Tokyo, next week! I really gotta work on my timing… (^^;) ) Today I happened upon a “test” panorama that I did while we were in Hiroshima. It grabbed my interest and I detoured from the travel log to re-create a finalized QuickTime Virtual Reality for you all to view.
Basic instructions on viewing: “click and drag” to pan and tilt, “Shift” to zoom in, and “Ctrl” to zoom out.
That was our view from the top of Mount Misen on Miyajima just off the coast of Hiroshima. The sun is setting so you can get a basic idea of which direction is West (therefore: North, South, & East also.) This is a full 360 degree (horizontal) view with +90 degrees up and -65 degrees down. I thought about climbing to the top of the biggest boulder to shoot the pano but then I would lose the view of the actual rock formation. (Actually, I was just too chicken to do it. ;-) )
Ryan and I started our Miyajima venture after lunch. We really cut it close to make it up to the top of Mt. Misen. But our timing was perfect for an incredible sunset — scenic — payoff! There were two other visitors on the mountain (four of us total) at that late hour. All of us were only half way down when the “last call” — for the gondola ropeway ride back to Miyajima proper — sounded! One of the girls, who was heading up to the peak when we were heading down, came sprinting past us just as the “last call” message ended.
*STOMP STOMP STOMP VVVOOOSH!!!* “Ko -nich -wa … “, was all I heard when I saw the flash of long blonde hair, corduroy, and the soles of her Nike’s. She was booking it! At that moment, I felt my age. I thought about how, not too long ago, that was me and my friends going up and down Diamond Head Crater. All I could utter in response was, “I gotta start exercising!” It didn’t matter anyway, she was long gone by the time I realized what happened.
Funny thing though, because it was just the four of us left, the workers held one car for all of us. It was one of those “neat” things that happen when you travel. There we were, the four of us … Ryan and I: the two Hawaii boys (who look Japanese but speak perfect English). One Asian woman, who looked Japanese but only god knows for sure (she never spoke). And then there was the “Blonde Sprinter”, who looked like she could have come from “anywhere USA” but sounded like she was from Australia or South Africa. It was obvious that all of us were out of breath (for various reasons). So rather than try to labor between panting and conversation, we all just sat there and appreciated the ride down. It was quite zen: the cool mountain air, dim light of dusk, sounds of birds coming home to roost, quiet *hum* of the gondola, and the four of us breathing.
Sure, it might have been nice to strike up a conversation and learn the facts about each person — but why spoil a good thing? Just so we can open our mouths and spout useless small talk? I think not.