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Happy Kaimana

The Kaimana Klassik is in it’s 28th year and attracts approximately 32 teams from the USA and nations across the Pacific rim. There are two divisions, Open and Women’s, with a deep talent in both pools of play. The food was great, the weather turned great, and the experience was great-er. Let’s talk about the weekend.

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Let’s talk venue. The camping site is at Waimanalo Bay is just 10 yards from the public beach, a beautiful background to setup your camouflage tent in front of. I brought a tarp for shelter because apparently that is the Canadian thing to do. I looked like a crazed camper for over an hour digging holes to secure my tent and tarp as the winds were forecasted to gust into the evening and overnight. Upon checking in at player registration I was advised to tie my tent to a tree because the winds were going to be even stronger on Saturday. The fields were located at the Waimanalo Polo Fields just across the street from the camping site, a short 10 minute walk from tent to field. Headquarters was a cube van, the multipurpose tent was open sided with a stage at one end and the food at the other. The fields looked and played great throughout the weekend with 8 fields setup in total. The toilet situation was a cluster of 20 port-a-loos with outdoor lighting for evening visits although the entire field was surround by thick bush and it was well watered by the end of the weekend.

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Let’s talk weather. The weather was an animal. It started out just a bit breezy before turning gusty and then downright hurricane like. Then the rain came in the middle of the night soaking everything. The rain only let up long enough to get to the fields and get the first round of games started before it was like being in Seattle in February. The rain fell sideways through the first game and into the second game before a delay was announced. Once the system broke the sun came out for the rest of the weekend with the wind slowly tapering off through Saturday, Sunday, and being rather calm on Monday. It was down right hot Monday morning at 9 A.M. as we played our quarterfinal match up.

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Lettuce talk food. Included in the player package was a disc and reusable branded plastic cup, plate and chalice. Kaimana offered easily the best spread I have seen at any sporting tournament that I have participated in to date. There was tin foil to cover your plate to offer a sanitary surface to load your food onto at each meal. Every morning was the typical bread product, spread product, and fresh fruit. The bonus here is the smoothy station that was a blender continuously going producing a never-ending slurry of ice cold fruity beverage. Instead of using ice cubes and diluting the smoothy, frozen fruit was used to chill the cocktail without losing the flavour. Yes, there was an alcoholic version if you so requested. Lunch was catered in at an additional cost but it was worth it. I had some succulent pig and rice for lunch that I won’t soon forget. There was also traditional Poke and other items to enjoy that were fairly priced. Dinner was a theme each night and there was always lots to eat. Seconds were available to all after the buffet had been open for a reasonable amount of time each night. In addition to the scheduled meal times were the snacks that randomly appeared throughout the day. There was pop, juice, fruit, cheese balls, chocolates, and much more. The beer was tapped from dawn to dawn so there was no reason for an empty cup. Each night the liquor bar would open with two featured mixed drinks along with the standard five liquors that were over poured and mixed to your choosing.

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Let’s talk teams. I was part of the Aloha Spirit Team (Hat team) in the open division along with 17 other of my closest stranger friends. We were joined by some of the remaining players of a former team that has played every Kaimana since it’s beginnings, Sarcastic Fringeheads. Thank you to Nathan for the team shirts! On the team were a few residents of the Hawaiian islands, a bunch of west coasters, some east coasters, and 3 Canadians. The talent was deep and nothing says camaraderie like pass the beer jug. I had a blast playing with this team for the weekend with our showcase performance was beating Stanford in a sideways rainstorm. On the championship Monday we managed to win our way into the semi-finals of the beer bracket. We battled the Japanese team, Freaks, with their smooth and disciplined style of play knocking us out of contention. Not to go unnoticed was the women’s bracket. There were more teams in the Women’s bracket than the open division which was a welcome change and offered up some great play throughout the weekend.

Let’s talk volunteers. This tournament was run completely by volunteers and there was no shortage of passion at this tournament. The King of Kaimana, Mondo, was in attendance again this year helping out and playing a few points to extend his streak of playing in every edition of Kaimana to date. I have to extend a big thank you to everyone who contributed to this tournament be it in the planning, execution, or clean up and to all the sponsors. Your work does not go unnoticed and it will be one tournament that I would be excited to return to again in the future.

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2 Letters, 2 Days: K.L.

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My arrival in KL was just after lunch time via a mid-morning flight from Bangkok. I caught the high speed express train from the airport to the central train station in downtown. The ride was smooth, quick, and reasonably priced based on all the factors. I hopped off the express and got on a local line that dropped me only 500 meters from my hostel. Well, I took a wrong turn when I arrived at my street and I ended up about 1500 metes from where I needed to be. I blame it on the silly numbering system on the buildings and not an inability to count. The hostel, Back Home Hostel, was a smaller venue and was in good condition. It was an open air style venue with the showers, bathrooms, and all common areas open to the outside air which created an atmosphere that I quite enjoyed. There is nothing like singing to the birds and mosquitos while you shower. I checked in and was quickly back out on the streets as I only had two days on the ground in KL.

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Kuala Lumpur is a city that many would know from the movie Entrapment where the plot line twists around a set of twin towers and a skybridge. This place is called the Petronas Towers and the number one reason I decided to visit KL so it was my first stop. Up on the 41st and 42nd level is the worlds highest two story bridge. Fun fact: the bridge isn’t attached to either tower. The bridge is in free floating suspension between the towers to prevent it from breaking while adding structural support to both towers in high winds. After visiting the Sky Bridge it was up to the observation deck on the 87th floor. This was a great vantage point of the city and gave a good overview of everything the city had to offer. Once I had completed my visit of the tower and grounds I headed to the local walking street to find something to eat. I sat down at a local vendor and enjoyed indian cuisine. My favourite part of this meal was watching the chef hand roll and bake the naan to order. At this point with a full belly I decided that it was time to meet some other travellers and unwind. I found my way to the local pub crawl hosted by a Dutchman who has been living in KL for about three years. I figured that this event would draw a crowd of about 10 to 15 participants but I was pleasantly surprised to see more than 50 individuals in attendance with even some locals joining in on the fun. We visited five bars over five hours and were treated to a drink at every bar. This is definitely the way to see the nightlife in KL and a great way to socialize with people from all over the globe.

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The next morning I grabbed a train to head north of the city to visit the second reason for my visit to KL, the Batu Caves. A large natural cave formation that is over a million years old is home to largest Hindu shrine outside of India. The 42 metre tall gold statue of Murugan is hard to miss and a focal point of many photos including mine. What can get lost at this destination is the side cave that is an ecological preserve called “The Dark Caves”. This area requires a minimal entry fee and is worth every bit. You walk over two kilometres into the cave and experience complete darkness. Close your eyes and wave your had in front of your face and you will understand zero visibility. It was an incredible experience and a great way to beat the heat as the caves are cool with a nice breeze moving the air from one opening to the next. I caught the next train back into the city to visit the National Mosque. I previously had not been to a Mosque and it was definitely an educational experience. I took part in a free tour led by a volunteer with a rhetorical sense of humour. His good spirt and candid moments added flair to an otherwise routine tour of the grounds. Just as the tour was finishing it began to rain. 13 days into my trip I had not experienced a drop of rain or even an empty threat of moisture falling from the heavens. This surprise pinned me down for about 45 minutes before I could head out in search of dinner. Once the rain let up I grabbed the train down to the Brickfields (Little India) for a Tandoori styled dinner. My meal was nothing short of fantastic as the Tandoori chicken was
full of flavour and again the naan was freshly baked to order. I grabbed a couple of mango frozen treats on my way home and my trip in KL was komplete.

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Two days is plenty to visit this city but beware that if you pass through on a Monday you will find many of the tourist sites are closed. And don’t forget to pack a garbage bag that can be turned into a raincoat at a moment’s notice.