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Tattoo Traditions of Hawaii

January 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted by Phin Upham

The Hawaiian tradition of kakau, or tattooing, seems to have little rhyme or reason yet the tradition is widely recognized. We can find uhi tattoos spread out amongst the different islands, villages, and families and across the social sphere. Hawaiians are also known for marking almost every part of the body. There are instances where warriors from the Pahupu companies got solid black tattoos that covered every part of their body but their teeth and eyeballs.

Kakau traditions also seem related to various points in one’s life, much like our usage of tattoos to marka  fallen family member. Uhi has been used to commemorate major life events, as a show of loyalty to a chief, and as a kind of living lesson to others within the village. In essence, every tattoo tells a story, or establishes a connection to some significant place, person or god.

Kakau seems closely related to an expression of grief or sorrow. With the death of a loved one, especially a popular public figure like chief Kamehameha, an individual might mark or scar their own the body in some symbolic fashion. This is the most documented use of kakau, and so it seems the most plausible explanation for their usage.

We also know that Hawaiians used kakau to mark a class of outcasts called the kauä. It is unclear if this caste was the only one to have this distinction, but it is important in its symbolism. Uhi is also a simple adornment, the equivalent of getting a bracelet for one’s wrist but it’s permanent. It was the coming of European traditions that changed the usage of tattoos and brought them into the modern age. This new style flipped tradition through the incorporation of text and visual motifs.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.

Top Three Unusual Spots to Spend the Holidays In

December 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

If you and your family are tired of spending the holidays in your hometown, then it’s about time you packed those bags and went on a trip to any of these unusual travel destinations that will surely make this year’s holidays unforgettable and even more exciting.

Phuket, Thailand

If you can afford to miss out on snow this year, travel to the sunny coasts of Thailand. While everyone else is keeping warm in front of the fireplace, sipping hot choco and roasting mallows, you’re skinny-dipping in any of Thailand’s glorious beaches, soaking up some healthy sun, and ultimately experiencing life. It’s indeed a wonderful way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life that you’re used to. This holiday season, don’t get worked up in the kitchen. Instead, indulge in sumptuous seasonal fruits and feast of Thailand’s native delicacies.

African Safari

While reindeers and polar bears fill the heads of little ones back home, you’re seeing gorgeous wild animals live. Exotic safaris have so much more to offer than just animals, mind you. You will experience a vacation-of-a-lifetime with the most perfect mountains, streams, grasslands, lakes and rivers as your backdrop. While you may not encounter the astounding annual wildebeest caravan, which happens sometime during the summer, you can still witness how wild African animals really are in real life.

Tysfjord, Norway

While everybody else feel like running away from water this winter season, you’re actually going snorkeling and wildlife watching in Europe! The Christmas season is the perfect time to swim with amazing orcas, or killer whales in Norway, because they arrive during the fourth quarter of the year, and stay until January.

The southern coast of Sri Lanka

September 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Sri Lanka is situated at the southern tip of India and is a beautiful tropical country. There are plenty of places to visit here, especially since the decades old civil war came to a close over a year ago. The country has mountains, pristine forests, loads of historical sites and most importantly miles and miles of golden beaches.

Being an island, there are no shortages of beaches. However, the south-western and southern coast are the most popular with tourists. These areas (namely Hikkaduwa, Galle and Unwatuna)are the most geared to handle beach loving tourists. You can find hotels which can treat you in extreme luxury and you can find simple places that just proved you with a clean room and bathroom. So there is something for everyone and every budget.

The sea is usually calm for most of the year and is only affected during the brief monsoon periods. There are plenty of fish and coral for those who live diving and snorkeling; however, you should inquire about the currents before you get in to the water and any local fishermen or hotel staffer should be able to help you out with that. The water is warm throughout and immensely enjoyable, so please do wear your sunblock and make sure that it is water resistant.  If you are travelling to this area, it is better to do so at night as traffic during the day is quite high. Your travel agent should be able to provide you with more information about the area and accommodation upon request.

Discounted cruise vacations

April 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Article written by Gear Up 4 Nature

1193456_cruise_shipWhether you are looking for discounted cruise vacations, discount air travel or a cheap family vacation package and for a service that takes care of your travel needs right from the start of your vacation until the end, there are travel sites on the internet that offers its services keeping in mind the needs of their customers in finding them the most efficient and convenient deals that cover most if not all aspects of their travel requirements.

With its services covering a range of airlines, cruises, car rental and hotels, it allows customers who are in the mood for an impromptu holiday to be able to do so or even for those who meticulously like to plan their holidays well in advance.

Some travelers can be budget conscious while there are other customers who are spendthrifts (and why not!), and so with this in mind, there are different offers that are available. For the former, one way to save money is by booking air and hotel together while for the latter, there are cruise vacation packages that will give you your money’s worth many times over along with airline tickets specials that are available for those who are looking to save as well.

All you have to do is find a couple of site, enter the details of your journey in the booking services tool provided on each page, book your vacation and board the cruise of a lifetime.

Interested in a Hawaii trip?

April 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 


Who doesn’t love a Hawaii vacation?

Not a single person that is of course unless you live under a rock. For many, it is that dream vacation filled with beaches, great weather and a mix of cultures that will leave you with memories in the years to come.

With its ever rising popularity, several travel agents are now in the business of catering to vacationers that are interested in a Hawaii trip for almost several years now. Since they have been in the business for so long, it is no surprise that they know where to shop, eat and play on the islands of Hawaii while also letting the traveler experience the natural beauty and adventure that is indeed associated with the Aloha State.

Regardless of whether you are looking for oceanfront villas, golf vacation packages, a trip for your family or a romantic honeymoon, you can find the best Hawaii vacation deals as they are linked to the top airlines and resorts, and this also means that not only can you find a holiday that is just right for you but also at a good price that doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

With search tools, one can avail of the options listed for airlines and car rentals as well as the list of hotels that you would like to stay at, and can book based on their availability.  So don’t waste any time in finding the best bargains for the trip of your life to Hawaii.

Top 10 of World’s Terrifying Places

October 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Most people revel in scary things and find it fascinating. If you are one of those people, here is the top ten list of the world’s most terrifying places that you must visit:

1. Museum of Anatomopathology, Austria, Vienna
Also known as the Tower of the Stupid, it is located in the isolation ward of a former lunatic asylum. Representing a real monument to harsh medieval medicine and abnormalities, even the most cynical tourist agrees that this place has a chilling atmosphere.

2. The Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
The plague left many cemeteries overfilled, and people were forced to dig out bones and arrange improvised depositories. The Czech ossuary is a special depository of sorts. Its greatest impression is produced by its walls made of stacked up human skulls.

3. Paris Catacombs, France
While seemingly a common tourist path, only a small part of it is open for excursions. It is patrolled day and night, and the country spends considerable funds to maintain a special police service, even though it contains nothing of value. Tales are far and wide about ghosts, monsters and blind lunatics who have not seen the light of day for several generations.

4. Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Oswiecim, Poland
Created on the former concentration camp of Oswiecim, where more than 4 million people died, you enter through the famous gateway shot in almost every war movie. The museum exhibits include brick blocks and things taken away by the fascists.

5. Museum of Torture, Mdina, Malta
Containing a huge collection of guillotines, tongs for pulling out nails and other torture instruments, this museum also has extremely naturalistic wax figures used to demonstrate the use of the torture devices.

6. The Winchester Mystery House. San Hose, California
Built by Sarah Winchester, the heiress of an armourer who went crazy due to a terrible prophecy, the house was built to house the souls of every person killed by her father’s rifles. The house is considered to be full of ghosts and other evil forces.

7. Dracula’s Castle. Transilvania, Romania
Situated on the edge of an abyss, you can even walk into the room where on the big bed with a canopy, Count Dracula used to suck his victims’ blood. The castle was also inhabited by Vlad the Impaler, considered to be one of the most monstrous personalities of the Middle Ages.

8. Gulag, Russia
During its twenty years of existence, millions of people have passed through Gulag, whose camps were known for violation of elementary human rights and drastic punishments. Starvation, disease, death and exhausting labour were extremely high. Even today you can see deserted barracks, tunnels, punishment cells, prisoner’s clothes and shaved hair.

9. Museum of Execution Instruments, Paris, Fountaine de Vaucluse
Its founder previously worked as an executioner for over a decade. The museum has execution instruments from all nations and covers all times.

10. The Valley of Death, Tibet
Full of bones, yogis are known to come here to die. Others travel to the Valley of Death to find purification, obtain secret knowledge. Interestingly, very few come back in their original mental state. The belief is that in the Valley of Death, the human soul undergoes a ‘special’ trial.

Favourite celebrity resorts

October 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Forbes Magazine recently revealed a list of resorts rated as favourite by celebrities:

Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy
Lake Como is of glacial origins in Lombardy, Italy. It is the third largest lake in Italy and is one of the deepest lakes in Europe, measuring over 400m in depth. This is a favourite of George Clooney, Matt Damon and Madonna.

Mykonos, Greece
One of Paris Hilton’s hot favourite places to be, Mykonos in Greece is a tourist destination known for its cosmopolitan character and intense night life. Believed to be named after a local hero, considered to be the offspring of the god Apollo, the island is composed mainly of granite and has very little fresh water.

Dalmatia, Croatia
Waves of the Adriatic Sea gently splash upon the shores of Dalmatia and its thousand islands, islets, and cliffs. Reaching around 56m in depth, the sea is the most transparent and beautiful around the outermost Dalmatian islands. This destination is a Ralph Lauren and Bernie Ecclestone favourite.

St. Tropez, France
A popular French Riviera vacation spot, especially for P.Diddy, Pamela Anderson and Bruce Willis; it is located on the Mediterranean coast near Nice. Saint Tropez is also home to Plage de Tahiti, a famous nude beach.

Capri, Italy
The spectacularly dramatic coast of Capri is has a many creeks, tiny bays and caves. Sunny days means you can see beneath the crystal clear waters, and gaze for hours at the seabed rich in flora and fauna, including banks poseidonia oceanica. This is a top favourite of Rod Stewart, Jane Birkin, Naomi Campbell and Tom Cruise.

Dining among the Trees

May 4, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’re claustrophobic, or dining with the fishes just isn’t your thing, consider the Yellow Treehouse, a New Zealand-based exercise in both marketing and sustainability that sits 30 feet above ground amidst a private redwood forest. The large, onion-shaped restaurant was conceived as an ad campaign for directory-focused company Yellow and was built using only resources found in the company’s directories. With its slatted, tree-clinging structure, the restaurant is meant to resemble nature and, fittingly, was constructed using redwood from the surrounding forest, as well as sustainably grown pine and poplar.

The bad news (or good news, if you’re acrophobic) is that the Yellow Treehouse was open for business for only a few months. However, in the future it may become available for rent for weddings and parties.

Hot Spots: Dublin, Ireland

April 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

There’s more than just a robust literary underpinning to Dublin, Ireland, although the city’s history of letters is unavoidable. The erstwhile hometown to James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, J.M. Synge, W.B. Yeats, and many other major writers brims with a youthful vim (an estimated 50% or more of the city’s denizens are less than 25 years of age) that belies the solid architectural appearance. Neatly bisected by the River Liffey, Dublin offers ample sightseeing opportunity via foot. For the traveler on a tight budget, Dublin’s many free attractions leave extra funds for a pint or five after a long day of tourism, but for those with a little extra gravy, the Dublin Pass widens the range of attractions while keeping funds in check.

What is there to do in Dublin? What isn’t there to do in Dublin?

  • Tour Malahide Castle. This 824-year-old castle, the home of the Talbot family for almost eight centuries, is technically is the seaside town of Malahide. But just a short jaunt from Dublin, Malahide, with its 260 verdant acres, specters of former inhabitants, one of the world’s most magnificent dollhouses, and collection of handmade models of Irish trains, is worth a visit.

  • Relive 18th-century incarceration at Kilmainham Gaol, a prison-turned-museum that for more than 140 years housed Irish rebellion leaders, women, and children in cold, dark conditions.

  • Think reverent thoughts at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland (of which Swift was dean between 1713 and 1745), which houses one of the country’s largest organs with more than 4,000 pipes.

  • Slake your thirst at the Old Jameson Distillery. A tour of the facility wends through the evolution of Jameson Irish Whiskey and finishes with a complimentary Jameson signature drink.

  • Steep in Irish history at Dublin Castle. Built in the 13th century on a former Viking settlement, the castle is now a location for state receptions, presidential inaugurations, and more.

  • Half an hour south of Dublin, Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre brings Irish medieval life into the present day through live performances, guided tours, and annual Ulysses-themed Bloomsday celebrations.

  • Swing a club at one of the city’s many golf courses. Although golf actually originated in Scotland, Ireland offers many world-class courses; Elmgreen Golf Centre is a favorite of Dubliners.

  • Revel in the Irish literary tradition at the Dublin Writers Museum, which features books, letters, portraits, and personal items from Dublin’s literary celebs.

  • Writers may be at the forefront of Irish culture, but the visual arts are alive and well at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the country’s top national institution for modern and contemporary art from Irish artists, as well as world-renowned artists from all over.

  • The James Joyce Centre bills itself as an institution “dedicated to promoting an understanding of the life and works of James Joyce.” Don’t worry: nobody else got Finnegan’s Wake, either.

  • After you’ve had your fill of Joycean epiphanies, fall in love all over again with Dublin’s native beverage, Guinness, at the Guinness Storehouse.

  • Sample Georgian Dublin at Number Twenty Nine, the city’s Georgian house museum, and see what life was like in Dublin between 1790 and 1820.

  • Face your fear of the dark at The Bram Stoker Dracula Experience, “a uniquely different, most interesting, brilliantly, entertaining, interactive, educational and very scary adventure based on the life of Bram Stoker his great vampire creation (Dracula) and horror in general.”

  • View an immaculate example of Neo-Classical architecture at the Casino at Marino, built in 1775. This small building was designed by Scottish architect Sir William Chambers for the 1st Earl of Charlemont, James Caulfield.

  • Visit Trinity College, home of the Old Library and the Book of Kells, a centuries-old manuscript written on vellum that contains illuminated Latin text of the Gospels.

  • Lip a pint at the Brazen Head, Dublin’s oldest pub and purportedly Robin Hood’s establishment of choice.

  • Nothing complements a frothy mug of beer like fried fish. Get your fish-and-chips fix at Leo Burdocks, where the prices are light but the lines are deep.

For more information about Dublin, including information on accommodations and getting around the city, visit the official website of Dublin Tourism. <-->

La Parisian Vita, Courtesy of

April 15, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

For anyone who cut her hair into a semi-sloppy bob after seeing Amelie or wished Carrie would just stay in Paris with The Russian forever, a new site called Do it in Paris is just what the doctor ordered. Featuring Parisian fashion, tres chic Paris addresses, French recipes, and tips on what to see and where to eat, the site is a comprehensive guide for anyone planning a trip to Paris, as well as anyone who wants to take a mini-vacation in their head! Also handy is the Practical Guide, which provides information about landing in Paris, getting around the city, and daily life.  For a taste of the Parisian joie de vivre, visit

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