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Good morning Bangkok! We don’t often catch a sunrise but everyone was up early this morning.

After breakfast we all piled into the van for a big family lunch at Winner House Vietnamese restaurant.

Happy to see my Aunt Lita after so many years.

Then a few of us headed over to JJ Market for a bit of shopping. We lost Dad at one point – oh never mind, he’s by the durian of course.Then time to pick up some street food for dinnerAnd then promptly passing out for the night from sheer exhaustion

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First we needed to say good morning to Mr. Chimpanzee on the way to breakfast.Then it was time for a much anticipated dip in the pool.Sweet cousins.Lunch by the poolside of course.And a much needed nap.Then we all piled into our vans and headed off to see my Grandma, whom none of my kids, or nieces, have met, and whom I haven’t seen in 14 years.All of the babes passed out during the drive. Jet lag is rough!Upon arrival, we can’t help but admire my Uncle Thavee’s orchids.Meeting Ahma for the first time.Then off to a big family dinner on the river. The kiddos tried their best, but they were really too hot and tired to be hungry.Poor Mia couldn’t even stay awake.All Autumn really had an appetite for was some plain rice, which at least was super cute.But the ice cream was a definite hit.Long overdue reunion with cousin Earth.Finally back to the hotel, time to wind down and pass out.

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We’ve been in Hawaii for almost a week catching up with family and friends.  We’ll share some memories in another post.  This one is dedicated to the amazing night we had with the Soul Signature Ohana.

When coming to Ohau this time I wanted to add more story from my right 1/2 sleeve onto my left and Kitty wanted to get her first tattoo. Lopeti (Raspets) was who had done my previous piece and we both wanted him to help us with these new ones.  Lopeti is an amazing artist and soul.  He really puts the love of his craft into his work and was able to capture Kitty’s story perfectly.

Soul Signature is truly one big Ohana.  Sua Suluape Toeutu’u Aisea was welcoming guests, tattooing, and playing the occasional drums with the keiki.

Kitty’s took several hours and afterwards it was my turn.  This time I was getting a shoulder cap on the left side.  Lopeti added so many elements of my family and heritage to the piece it turned out perfect.  You’ll notice Kitty and I both have the Enata representing our marriage and 3 kids.

All pau at 2am?  Not yet…

As luck / fate would have it there happened to be a gathering of the top most venerated artists in the world.  Soul Signature was ground zero for the gathering.  The tattoo legend Freddy Negrete checked out both our tattoos and took some time to get a pic with Kitty.

Most of the night people were waiting for the arrival of the master and father Sua Sulu’ape Petelo. His plane landed after midnight and he came right over. He is such a kind soul and took time to talk story with us for awhile before the crowd arrived.  Watch the video above if you’re not familiar with him but he is also a tattoo icon and cultural legend.

It was a long night for the kids they danced and partied as long as they could till they eventually passed out on the tatau mats for pe’a and hand tapping in the back.

People from all over the world showed up while we were getting tattooed.  We met some amazing people from Tahiti, Samoa, New Zealand, Europe, modern Hawaii torch bearers, and even Rich from the Honolulu Tatau MC.  Check out our little Ohana in the background.  It was an amazing night with some of the most Aloha we’ve ever felt.  It was truly a special night at a special place.  Mahalo nui loa to Lopeti, Aisea, and the entire Soul Signature Ohana.

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Thanks to Libby for capturing the adventures and Kitty for helping plan them.

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As Summer approaches it seems like I’ve been asked a few times at work and outside about some Oahu recommendations, so I started putting together a list.




These are some of my relatives in the late 1800’s at a family luau in upcountry Maui. I missed this one but 150 years later I very much enjoy the local food. Here are some recommendations for Oahu.



Side Street Inn Home | Side Street Inn – a MUST go. This used to only be a little bar downtown we would go to after work and get their famous pork chops, but now they are on Kapahulu close by waikiki. GO. Big portions of good local food (note local does not mean hawaiian)

Ichiriki – good sit down Japanese cook your own nabe diner.

Rainbow Drive Inn Rainbow Drive-In – classic plate lunch. Right by Waikiki. Get loco moco after dawn patrol

Da Kitchen Da Kitchen – huge portions. Good plate lunch. Word is this might be closed on Oahu.


Helena’s Hawaiian Food Helena’s Hawaiian Food – best traditional Hawaiian food, but a little outside of town.

Ono’s – traditional Hawaiian food. Close by Waikiki.

Marukame Udon Marukame Udon – Waikiki – Honolulu, HI – awesome quick FRESH udon noodles. They do one thing and they do it well.

Fresh Catch – one of the best new additions to Honolulu is all the poke bowl shops. This is a good one.

Ruffage Natural Foods Ruffage Natural Foods – Waikiki – Honolulu, HI – vegetarian options, healthy and poke bowls.

Gyu-Kaku Gyu-Kaku : Gyu-Kaku – Japanese BBQ Dining – cook your own Japanese style.

Diamond Head Health Bar Hawaii Health Bar – close by Diamond Head. Best way to start a day is a Da Cove Bowl.


Genki Sushi Locations :: Genki Sushi USA – inexpensive sushi close to Diamond Head. Good spot for quick strike sushi lunch.

Curry House Curry House CoCo Ichibanya – Honolulu, HI | Yelp – Japanese curry chain.

Big City Diner Big City Diner Hawaii | – breakfast.

Champa Thai Welcome To CHAMPA THAI RESTAURANT – some good Thai food fairly close to Waikiki.

Deb’s Soul Food Debs’ Ribs – Debs’s Got It All…and It’s All Soulicious!: Home Page – this is on the windward side, Kailua, right by where you can rent kayaks. Rumor has it this place may be closed.

Tiki’s Grill & Bar Tiki’s Grill & Bar: Best Restaurant in Waikiki Beach & Honolulu – good view and drinks for night life Waikiki with beach view.

Sorabol Welcome to Sorabol Hawaii !!! – Korean food. Open 24hours. Classic high school, college, late night food, but good anytime.

Shiro’s Saimin Shiro’s Saimin | Catering, Noodles, Saimin, and local Hawaiian food – famous saimin shop.



Leonard’s Bakery Leonard’s Bakery – Malasadas, Pao Doce, Malasada Puffs, Pao Doce Pups, and more… – classic malasada treats – must try.

Liliha Bakery Liliha Bakery: Home – cream puffs. A little out of the way but a local favorite.



Longhis – nice place in Ala Moana with a nice view.

Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant – Sushi – Roy Yamaguchi – Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine – good formal not too expensive restaurant.

Alan Wong’s Hawaii Regional Cuisine | Alan Wong’s Restaurants – famous. Spendy. Delicious.

Sushi Sasabune  Sushi Sasabune-Yelp – Go with the Omakase.


Places To Go

North Shore

Matsumoto’s Shave Ice – popular famous shave ice place.

Dole Plantation – Dole ice cream, maze, fun stop on way to north shore.

Polynesian Cultural Center – Polynesian Cultural Center Official Site – areas representing Polynesian cultures, luau, night show. Fun and educational.

Shrimp Trucks – Giovanni’s. They are all good but they constantly battle on who is ‘the original’ shimp truck.

Pali Lookout – on the way. Windy. Hold on to your hat.


Windward side (Kailua)

Lanikai beach – nice quiet relaxing beach. This and Kailua beach always voted some of best beaches.

Kailua Beach – kayaking, windsurfing. Rent kayaks near beach and kayak over to the three islands.

Olomana hike – nice medium hike with great views of windward side.

Stairway to Heaven – long stairway hike. Used to be closed for repairs but open now.

Valley of the Temples (Byodo-In Temple – Valley of the Temples Memorial Park – Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii) – peaceful nice visit.


Town (Honolulu – Waikiki, Diamond Head, etc)



Diamond Head hike

Waikiki Beach – rent surfboards right on beach.

Free Hula on Waikiki beach Tuesdays

Manoa Falls

The Palace

Ala Moana Beach Park – different beach picnics place etc

Kakaako park- different beach picnics place etc

International Market – in Waikiki. Fun lots of souvenirs. Haggling. etc. I like to actually buy at the swap meet but there’s fun stuff here too.

Bishop Museum



Hanauma Bay – extinct filled-in volcano. Good snorkeling. Easy to get to. Lots of fish. Rent on the beach.


Pearl Harbor

Aloha Stadium Swap Meet – GO to get souvenirs etc. This place is pretty awesome. Local artists too.

Sandy Beach – Sandy Beach – careful – warning – warning – go to watch people get dominated by crazy beach break. Enter at your own risk. Looks harmless but it will jack you up in the air, slam you down, drag you 30′ across the sand, rip off your shorts, then recede, leaving you shortless on the the beach 30′ from any water (I speak from experience). They call it the neck breaker for a reason.



Waikiki – canoes, queens – beginners. If you want to learn this is one of the best places in the world to learn. Nice breaks. Rentals right on beach.

Diamond head – no life guard only go if know what you are doing.

North shore – Waimea, pipeline, sunset, etc (go to watch big waves and competition – only in winter. A lot of times flat in summer) plenty of surf spots up here, but if you have to ask about them you probably want to stay south.

Surf News Network – local surf report (long story short Hawaii heights are different from mainland – basically 3′ Hawaiian = 6′ )



You don’t need to know any of this but it wont hurt to know a few words. The more local you go people will sometimes only use pidgin.

Ask someone directions they may say – mauka and makai. Choke traffic, puka, all pau, etc lots of daily words and phrases that people use.

How to speak Hawaiian

Hawaii Pidgin The Voice of Hawaii – YouTube



These guys were featured in a History Channel documentary and tattooed the Tongan royal family.

Soul Signature Tattoo – Home – they do traditional and modern.

Tapping at Soul Signature Tattoo Shop – Suluape Aisea


Pro Tip

Also not many people know about this but before you plan your vacation and spend a bunch of money check the Jellyfish forecast. They are very predictable, arrive around 10 days after a full moon, and are there for 3 or 4 days. When they are there you pretty much don’t want to go in the water since there is a blanket of them and it doesn’t feel good to get stung.

Hawaii Jellyfish Calendar


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LA Trip

Kitty Luca and I decided to take a week trip back to LA.  We love many things about Portland, but also miss many of the people and parts of LA we came to love over the years.  I was mostly looking forward to visiting a few friends, dining at my favorite local spots, sane driving speeds/drivers, and the sunshine!  Kitty was definitely most excited about seeing her friends, their babies, and all the families in LA.

Instead of flying we decided to make it a family road trip.  We bought a new Subaru Outback a few months ago and equipped it with a Thule box for snowboarding, camping, and family trips.  We packed it up and headed out. Kitty had the great idea of putting tons of Luca’s books on one side of Luca’s carseat with an empty box on the other side.  As he flipped through and finished Gruffalo, Bear Hunt, Nursery Rhymes, and his other 50+ books in stow he would take them and deposit them into the empty box.  When we stopped at a rest area we would swap boxes and start all over again.  We also took a moment to run around.

We stopped in Benicia on the way down and again on the way back up to visit with my Uncle Eric, Auntie Judy, and twins Enid and Eliza. Luca loved all their musical instruments, their backyard view of trains and boats, football cards,  and their dog Harley… but most of all he loved their blackberries!

In Pasadena!! I got a big smile on my face as we crossed the 210 into Pasadena.  We headed over to the Paseo and Islands to have my favorite Kilauea Burger.  They were having their annual chalk art festival. Luca loved the art, music, and people watching.

Swim time at the hotel

We met up with Kristine and Luca’s first girlfriend, Leah, for brunch the next morning

They played

He took her on a plane ride

They walked over to the swings

Then it was time for goodbyes

We had dinner at C&Os in Marina del Rey with Kitty’s USC friends and their families

The next day we headed over to Katie and Tom’s for a pool party

On to the Santa Monica pier for a picnic with food from Heirloom.  Luca loved loved loved the beach.  He built sand castles, chased seagulls, and played with his dad in the waves.

We stopped by to visit with all the families from our old condo on Magnolia Ave

DISNEYLAND!!! For those of you who have been to Disneyland with me you’ll know this stop was more for me than Luca, but he had a good time too.  One of my friends from UO who has been living in LA for years works at Disney and hooked us up with free tickets.  Thanks again Barry! Luca has not stopped talking about four things.  1) Holding Mickey’s hand 2) High-five with Tigger 3) Fireworks 4) Pirates scary (my bad).

As soon as the Pirates of the Caribbean ride started and the talking skull warned Luca of what was to come he signed and exclaimed All Done! We told him anytime a pirate scared him to stick his tongue out at him and call him silly. That seemed to do the trick.  Afterwards it was time for Churro and a break with mom.

“So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!”

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We decided to make it a long weekend and headed up to visit Kimmy and Kyan up in Seattle.

On Saturday we took Luca to his first baseball game.  I’ve been looking forward to going to a Mariners game since the season started.

The game couldn’t have been a more perfect game for Luca’s first.  In fact it was literally a perfect game.  In the history of baseball only 21 perfect games have been played and this was one of them.  Being a fan of baseball it was pretty amazing to have watched one in my lifetime and to have enjoyed it with my son made it a perfect day for me as well.

Back at Kimmy and Kyan’s watching some game news and highlights before heading out for some dinner.

Later that night, while the rest of us slept, Luca and Kyan went clubbin.  Luca was the designated driver.

On Sunday we headed out to breakfast and the beach.  Luca took a moment to enjoy the ducks.

Afterwards we headed to the EMP Museum and the space needle.

The museum is half music half science fiction.  We headed over to the science fiction portion first and were treated to an amazing Avatar exhibit with lots of props and hands on activities for Luca.

The atokirina were attracted to Luca as he stood in their forest.

After the sci-fi portion we went over to the music side and checked out the Nirvana exhibit.

Luca taking some time to pose

DJ Luca mixing up some beats for the crowd at EMP.

One of Luca’s favorite portions of the museum had to have been the drums.

 The space needle was celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend.  In celebration it was repainted to its original orange color.


One last snack under the space needle before heading to Pike’s Place.

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It’s fun to watch as Luca develops his personality and individual likes/dislikes. There are a few things besides his mommy, bananas, and the outdoors that Luca really likes. Apparently Luca has developed an affinity for American Idol, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and dancing.

So it was no surprise that during our recent trip to Iowa and Illinois to our friend Sally’s wedding that Luca took to the dance floor when Lady Gaga began playing. When Kitty tried to take him away he became upset and would run back. For awhile he was in our arms or standing on the sidelines, but at some point he decided to turn it up to 11. Luca took to the center of the dance floor and proceeded with his latest dance moves.

Come on now wave your arms in the air, now mini dip mini dip, big dip… now standup straight, stomp your feet, and strrrreeeeetchhhhh… you’ve got it… you’re doing the Luca Lee. This routine did not go unnoticed and soon Luca was in the center of a dance circle getting down. As some people took turns dancing with him he upped his game. The best part was when everyone in the circle was clapping and Luca threw his arms into the air, everyone gave out a cheer and followed his lead… then just as he had everyone wanting more he walked off the floor.

I was pretty busy chasing him around the dance floor but I grabbed a few seconds of video.

We had a wonderful time at the wedding and enjoyed our first trip to the Midwest.  Besides seeing so many friends…

we got to see the Mississippi river, experience a Midwest thunder and lightening storm, visit the John Deer Pavilion and eat at Cracker Barrel.

The trip home was over 7 hours with 3 layovers. How do you keep a 16 month old entertained?

Now repeat 800 times… literally!

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