Happy New Year!
Shh..Surprise Birthday Get Away for Mark!!! read the evite from cousin Kaulu. Mark Hopkins (aka “Dogman”) was turning Fiddy and the goal was to get family and friends from the mainland as well as Hawaii to secretly converge on Sonoma Valley in Northern California to celebrate Mark’s Big Day. Kudos to Ulu for keeping Mark dumbfounded (I think she used a few of her stealth moves from her professional hula dancing days) and thanks to Mark's brother Mike for the hookup of the guesthouse on the grounds of the Arrowood Winery in Sonoma. The property was beautiful and the party a huge success.
Like a snowflake in the breeze, the Ghunnies floated into Boston just days after its 3rd snowiest January on record (38 inches)! In the first two days of February another 10 inches was recorded. Never two to let a little weather stop World Ghunnie-nation (not an official Wikipedia-ism - yet) the Ghunnies zipped it up, tucked it in and Blazed that ol' Freedom Trail, in hopes of thawing it out. Trip highlights included stops at Charlie's sandwich shop, Filine's basement, the China Pearl (great dim sum, and just in time for Chinese New Year), the Cheers bar, fine italian dining at Prezza ("the Gold Standard for North End restaurants"), Mike's Pastry (yummy canoles and chocolate chip cheescake), Faneuil Hall, the Paul Revere House, the USS Constitution, Alibi Bar at Liberty Hotel (used to be the Charles Street jail), seafood at Skipjacks, "pajama brunch" at Tremont 647 (wait staff all wore pjs), Joe's Bar & Grill and the Frog Pond in Boston Common to name a few. Our stay at the Fairmont Copley brought a couple of highlights of its own. Catie, the resident labrador retriever greets hotel visitors in the lobby. Vincent the concierge not only gave us great food recommendations - for our Saturday night he 'gifted' us with center orchestra tickets for the Boston Symphony (each had a $125 face value). Score (literally)! The current run's featured conductor was also a guest at our hotel, and he had passed the tickets on - eventually to us! For a revolutionary look at the Ghunnies in Boston please click here.
The Ghunnies have returned from two and a half weeks in Hong Kong, Thailand and Bali - not nearly long enough! Although our time in Hong Kong was short, we were able to tool around Victoria Harbor, take a side trip to Mongkok and enjoy some excellent dim sum. Have a taste of Hong Kong here. We arrived in Bangkok just in time for the celebration of Songkran (Thai New Year festival), but also right in the middle of a political uprising! In addition to that excitement, we were able to visit temples, take a longboat on the Chao Praya river - and even see a Vegas style Ladyboy show. A definite Wow. Big thanks to our local tour guide Joy and driver Khun Charlie! In Phuket and Khao Lak we took a Thai cooking class, did some world class diving, rode elephants, and survived a wild thunderstorm that sent a tree crashing down just feet from our tent! Check out Thailand here. We completed our adventure in Bali where we met up with good friends, splitting our days between restful Ubud in the foothills and the luxury beaches at Nusa Dua in the south. Join us in beautiful Bali here. Special thanks to the wonderful Wati and our driver Katut. And where's the rub you ask? The numerous massages along the way of course!
We celebrated Maureen's big four oh in the way that only Las Vegas can provide, in over the top style.