A Tropical Holiday… and Movies I Watched During My Vacation

Hello everybody! Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas break. It was nice to be home for Christmas, we purposely planned to avoid being at the airport during the holiday craze so coming back last Saturday was perfect timing for us. Thank the Lord that our trip went smoothly. Despite the long layovers, not a single flight was delayed and no major travel headache for us to complain about, so we were indeed very blessed.

AlwaysRoomForFamilyWe had a mellow Christmas eve, went to a joyful Christmas service at our local church. I love this year’s theme… There’s Always Room for Family… so true isn’t it? Since I just spent time with my family in my hometown, it definitely holds a special meaning for me. Afterwards we’re invited to dinner at a friend’s family home where we had a super-delicious-but-not-so-conventional Swedish-Indonesian cuisine 😀

Baby it’s cold outside.
It’s quite a drastic 50+ degree swing from our tropical vacation. We went from 90-degree climate of Jakarta to about low 80s in Kauai to well, barely 15° F with a sub-zero windchill here. Brrrrrr!
Anyway, here are some pics from my two-part vacation to Jakarta and Kauai. Pardon the picture quality in Jakarta, I took all of them on my iPhone. The Kauai pics are the ones my hubby took with his digital SLR, so they’re definitely much better.
One of the highlights from my Jakarta trip is that I got to meet I’m super excited that I’ll be meeting up with some of my fellow Indo bloggers next week: Andina from Inspired Ground, Novia from Polychrome Interest, and FC contributor Cecilia! It was fun chatting with all of you ladies! I was especially thrilled to see Novia’s huge smile when she received the Mighty Boosh Special Edition DVD 😀

From left: Novia, Cecilia, Andina and yours truly! Somehow Novia and I wore matching yellow to our meet-up, we must be kindred spirits!
From left: Novia, Cecilia, Andina and yours truly. Somehow Novia and I wore matching yellow to our meet-up, we must be kindred spirits!

For more pics and a complete recap from our Indo bloggers meet-up, do visit my friend Novia’s post.

The view from my hotel room... the sky is always hazy in Jakarta because of the polluted air :(
The view from my hotel room… the sky is always hazy in Jakarta because of the polluted air 😦

Since we visited during monsoon season, it’s almost always overcast here but the temperature remains hot, around 90+ degrees every day. The relatively high winds did help cool things a bit but the torrential downpour wreck havoc on the already super-heavy traffic as flash floods pop up everywhere, especially in low-lying areas.

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From top left: Ivan & I at Ancol Beach City, the wooden boat we’re on, and various ‘macet’ (extreme traffic jam) views that constantly plague Jakarta.

A trip from point A to point B that would normally take 10-15 minutes would take 90-120 minutes, that’s on a normal weekday and NOT during rush hours. Just add at least an hour to your commute if it’s during AM or PM rush hour. My brother said that in Jakarta, there are only two congestion type: heavy or extreme traffic jam… so either you’re crawling at 5-10 mph or basically at a standstill for a good hour or so, barely moving an inch, whilst a throng of motorcycles zip by all around you. I really don’t know how people could endure that day after day.

Suffice to say, we didn’t get to visit too many places in our 6-day trip to Jakarta. Though it was fantastic to spend time with my family and eat my favorite food growing up, by the end of the week, we were ready for our real vacation to Kauai 😀

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View from our resort in the Princeville area, the northern part of Kauai.

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Poi’pu Beach (on the south side of Kaua’i) … that’s me on the left taking a stroll on the gorgeous sandy beach

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Another view of Poi’pu Beach

The most magnificent rainbow at Waimea Canyon!
The most magnificent rainbow at Waimea Canyon!

It just rained briefly before this picture was taken and we were about to leave. Fortunately I overheard a girl yelling loudly about a rainbow so we promptly went back to the Lookout area. Lo and behold, the most spectacular rainbow suddenly appeared in the canyon. The rainbow was so vivid that all the photos we took looked like they’ve been Photoshoped! We saw a few more rainbows on the way back, in fact, I think we saw at least one every single day!

Various shots of Molokaa Beach, a secluded beach we got to during our Kauai Photo Tour
Various shots of Moloa’a Beach, a picturesque secluded beach in the north shore we went to during our Kauai Photo Tour

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A wild white cat kept us company at Moloa’a Beach

The serene Anini beach in the North Shore near our hotel. It actually rained just a few minutes after we took this picture so we had to run to our car!
The serene Anini Beach in the North Shore near our hotel.

It’s a pretty windy day as you can see. It actually rained on Anini Beach just a few minutes after we took this picture so we had to run to our car! It rains quite a bit in Kauai in the Winter months, but fortunately it was mostly passing rain, so we could just wait it out for a few minutes and it’d be sunny again 😀

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Not sure which beach this was. Ivan and I sort of stumbled upon it from the Marriott Kauai Lagoons Golf Course in Lihu’e

Last but certainly not least… on our last day in Kaua’i, we took the helicopter tour to Jurassic Park Falls. The chopper ride was really smooth and we got an amazing view of the entire island from above, like this view of the majestic Napa’li Coast…

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Can’t get over how blue the ocean was from above…

More views of Napa'li Coast from the helicopter
More views of the mystical Napa’li Coast from the helicopter…

The only way to get to the pristine beach above is through a rocky Kalalau Trail, an 11-mile of arduous hike that includes a very narrow paths over cliffs that are hundreds of feet high!

We went with Island Helicopters as they’re the only chopper company that has the permit to land on the island. So here it is… the crème de la crème of our trip…

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Ivan and I at the base of the Manawaiopuna Falls (aka the Jurassic Park Falls) in the Hanapepe Valley

The chopper landed just a few hundred yards from the 360-foot Falls. It’s a bit of a movie geek moment when they played the glorious Jurassic Park theme as the chopper descended down onto the island… I literally got goosebumps! The pilot told us that only three years ago Island Helicopters was able to purchase the permit to land there, which took about five years to obtain. He showed us the remains of the concrete slab where the Helipad from the first Jurassic Park movie was used. Apparently it was destroyed by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, the biggest tropical storm that hit the island. According to this article, several storm scenes in the 1993 movie are actual footage of Iniki.

So that’s my vacation recap… hope you enjoyed the pics 😀

Movies watched during my vacation

Pretty much the only time I had to watch movies was during my long flights to and from Minneapolis. I watched a total of four movies and one documentary just on our 15+ flying hours to Jakarta!

  • Bringing Up Baby
    Cute rom-com with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. I’ve got the worst headphones ever, I could barely hear a thing! The movie itself is not bad, kinda silly and absurd but enjoyable.
  • Pride & Prejudice (rewatch)
    l was in the mood for something romantic so this was a perfect choice. I still think Keira is too pretty as Lizzy Bennett but she was all right. At least the chemistry between her and Matthew MacFadyen was right, I especially love the proposal scene. Hence it’s one of my favorite movie rain-scenes!
  • The Dark Knight Rises (rewatch)
    I never made it to a second cinema viewing of this one so I couldn’t help but watch it on the plane. The giant plot holes I mentioned in my review still made me laugh, but darn it’s still one heck of a superhero flick! 
  • InBrugesPosterIn Bruges
    I’ve been curious about this movie for so long I’m glad I finally saw it! My hubby actually saw it right after I did and I couldn’t help peeking at some of the scenes again. LOVE this film! The acting is top notch, full of witty dialog, plus the scenery is so gorgeous. It could practically doubles as a tourism video for the capital of Belgium. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson have an effortless chemistry together, and man that final scene packs a punch! Ralph Fiennes has quite a memorable supporting turn as well. I definitely should rent Seven Psychopaths, the latest from writer/director Martin McDonagh.
  • This Means War
    Every time I came across this one on Netflix my hubby always scoffed about it so I figure I’ll just watch it on the plane when I came across it, for one reason only and that is Tom Hardy 😉 The preposterous level is off the charts and Reese Witherspoon is hardly believable as a girl these two guys would fight to the death over, but still it was fun watching the charismatic Hardy and Chris Pine bantering. Not a bad rental, even better when it’s free!
    ,,,
  • National Geographic TV show Megastructures on Dubai’s Burj Khalifa
    You can watch this one on Youtube, it’s quite fascinating even if you’re not an architecture buff.

HemingwayGellhornOn the way to Honolulu, I also saw the HBO TV movie Hemingway & Gellhorn starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman. It focuses on the tumultuous affair of the renowned writer and the war correspondent. I thought it was a decent film, and I think Owen captured the boisterous, untamable nature of Hemingway. He may be a great writer but boy, I wouldn’t ever want to be married to someone like that. Apparently their romance is the inspiration for his book For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Later this week I’ll have reviews of The Hobbit & Playing For Keeps, and also guest reviews of Jack Reacher and Django Unchained, courtesy of my pal Ted S.


So what have you been watching the past week, folks?

Aloha! Hawaii on my mind… what’s your fave movie(s) set in America’s tropical paradise?

Happy Monday, everybody! Well, as I mentioned on my monthly roundup, I’ll be off for a two-week vacation to my hometown Jakarta and then Hawaii on our way back to Minnesota. So in less than two weeks, I’ll be arriving in Hawaii, Kauai to be specific. This will be my second time in Hawaii as I went to Honolulu when I was about 13 with my family, but my first time on Kauai island.

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Anini Beach – the closest beach to our resort

It’s no surprise that America’s tropical paradise has been a popular spot for the movies and TV shows. I grew up watching Tom Selleck in his indecently short shorts in Magnum P.I. and I think my brothers like watching the original Hawaii Five-O. I quite like the current remake on CBS as well though I haven’t been watching it much lately (I’m horrible with keeping up w/ TV shows!)

FromHeretoEternityAs far as movies go, there seems to be a ton of films set in Hawaii. The busy Hawaii Film Office calls the islands ‘Hollywood’s Tropical Backlot.’ Perhaps the generous production tax credit makes it a welcoming place for filming, on top of the welcoming climate and spectacular locations of course. From classics like From Here to Eternity, Blue Hawaii, and Tora! Tora! Tora! to contemporary ones like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Punch Drunk Love, Pearl Harbor and Oscar-nominated The Descendants, there have been some popular films set on the islands. Even some of the non-CGI scenes of Avatar were shot in Hawaii. As this site pointed out, the two leads of the movie actually filmed some scenes on location in order to “… give them all a taste of how the scenes would feel if they were being shot in a real rain forest.”

JurassicParkFallsJust on Kauai alone, there are a dozen movies set on the fourth largest island on the archipelago (per gohawaii.com). Of course the most notable one being Jurassic Park (though the theme park was filmed in the family-owned Kualoa Ranch in Oahu island). I can’t wait to take the helicopter ride to Manawaiopuna Falls, or the Jurassic Park Falls as it’s become known for. The breathtaking 360-foot high falls is in my list of memorable waterfalls in the movies I made almost exactly a year ago. I need to rewatch that movie one of these days, it’s one of my fave movies of the 90s and surely on my top 10 from Spielberg.

My top three movies set in Hawaii (of the ones I have seen so far) would include Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, and The Descendants. Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor would make my worst, ahah.


So now your turn. What are your top three movies set in Hawaii?