Friday, June 1, 2012

Travel by Potato Chip: Unusual Flavors From Around the World

Lay's is planning to announce a contest worth one million dollars for a new potato chip flavor. Before anyone thinks they have an original idea, they may want to think about what already exists on supermarket shelves around the world. Consider these flavors (and there were much more I found) before you think you have the best new flavor idea.

I can only guess how these flavors would match with potato chips but the pickled onion, octopus and hot & sour fish soup sound nice. Not sure about the fruity flavors like lychee and blueberry but the Vegemite flavor I understand is an acquired taste.

(photo: Walkers)
Worcester Sauce (England)

(photo: Walkers)
Pickled Onion (England)

(photo: SublightMonster/flickr)
Lychee (China)

Kiwi (China)

Blueberry (China)

Kebab (France)

Margarita (USA)

Beer (USA)

(photo: k0ks3nw4i)
Mint Mischief (India)

(photo: Pepsico)
Hot & Sour Fish Soup (China)

(photo: Smith's)
Vegemite (Australia)

(photo: Kosco)
Octopus (Korea)

(photo: Amazon)

Seaweed (Various Asian countries)

(photo: CNW Group)
Onion Rings N'Ketchup (Canada)

(photo: Global Partners MBA)
Lemon Tea (China)

(photo: Real McCoy)
Hot Dog (Australia)

(photo: Carrefour Indonesia)
Rasa Salmon Teriyaki (Indonesia)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Les Miserables" Movie Trailer & Stills Released

We'll still have to wait six months for the feature film adaptation of the mega-hit stage musical 'Les Miserables' but until then we can finally enjoy the first trailer and production stills offering glimpses of the production.

The film stars Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette), Helena Bonham Carter (Madame Thenardier), Sacha Baron Cohen (Thenardier), Eddie Redmayne (Marius), Samantha Barks (Eponine) and Aaron Tveit (Enjolras).

The trailer features Hathaway's vocals of "I Dreamed A Dream" and brief shots of the other actors except for Carter and Cohen. Many moviegoers may not know that Jackman has a successful musical stage career but the bigger curiosity will be Crowe's vocals. We'll just have to wait to see if a second trailer includes vocals by the other actors.

The musical is sung through so it's hard to judge the sound of the film by this snippet to song. But the film looks epic in scale.

Visit the official movie website at

Anne Hathaway (Fantine)
Hugh Jackman (Valjean)
Russell Crowe (Javert)
Amanda Seyfried (Cosette) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius) 
Samantha Barks (Eponine)
(photos: Universal Studios)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dole Plantation: Plantation Garden Tour in Photos

This is one a series of posts about the Dole Plantation visitor attraction.

Visit for information about the Plantation Garden Tour. Hours: 9:30am-5pm daily (closed on Christmas Day). Tickets: Adults $5; Children (4-12 years old) $4.25; Kama'aina/Military $4.50; Children under 4 are free. 

The garden features sections covering North Shore plants, hibiscus, native species, bromeliads as well as life on the plantation and irrigation.

Pineapples belong to the bromeliad family of plants. Decorative bromeliads are prominently featured throughout the garden.

Pandanas (hala in Hawaiian). The fruit of the trees look like
pineapples (which they are not).

Cacao Tree. Waialua Chocolate sold at Dole Plantation gained national attention when Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey's personal chef was smitten by the confection.

Some cacao pods can be seen growing on the tree.

Sugar cane. At one time pineapple and sugar cane farming were the leading industries in Hawaii.

The anthurium is popular for decorative purposes because of both their beauty and durability.

The hibiscus is Hawaii's state flower.

An orange hibiscus flower.

A patch of ti leaf plants.

Ti is one of the few plants that the first Hawaiians brought thousands of miles
to their new home.

Bromeliads consists of nearly 3,000 species. One variety has the plant's gigantic flower spikes growing taller than a two-story house.

This pond is meant to represent the irrigation history of Hawaii pineapple farming. Grown on vast dry plains, a network of ditches and tunnels were created to divert water from mountain streams.

Koi fish swim in both of the Dole Plantation ponds.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)

Dole Plantation: Pineapple Variety Garden

The Pineapple Variety Garden is free to visit.
Sectioned to grow a variety of pineapples and at various stages of growth.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
This is one of a series of posts about the Dole Planation visitor attraction.

One of the free things to do at Dole Plantation is the Pineapple Variety Garden. It educates the public that pineapples (or bromeliads) come in other forms. The photo above names other varieties of pineapple but the smooth cayenne is the one that is grown commercially.

Another sign in the garden answers some Q&As about pineapples including:
Q: How long does it take for a pineapple plant to produce fruit?
A: About 20 months for the first fruit and another 14-15 months for the second fruit.

Q: How many crops do you harvest per cycle?
A: Two crops in 4 years or 3 crops in 5 years. After the last crop is harvested, the field is knocked down and a new cycle begins, starting with land preparation.

Q: Why is the soil so red?
A: The red color is caused by decomposed volcanic ash resulting in oxidized iron in the soil. It is good soil for pineapple.

Q: What is used as planting material?
A: The crown of the fruit or slip that grows on the stem of the fruit.

Q: How many plants are planted per acre?
A: A working pineapple plantation will plant between 27,000 and 33,000 plants per acre.

Q: What happens to a Wahiawa pineapple once it's picked?
A: About 60%-70% are sold and eaten fresh, many of these right here at Dole Plantation. The rest are processed and sent farther afield for the rest of the world to enjoy.

At the far end of the garden is a fish pond. For a few cents, guests can buy feed for the fish. Visit for more information. Hours: 9:30am-5:30pm daily (closed on Christmas Day).

The pineapple belongs to the bromeliad family of plants. These are
a decorative variety of the plant.
The Cosmosus Prozenas pineapple from South America.
The more recognizable variety of Pineapple (smooth cayenne).

The maze, tropical garden and train ride surround the Pineapple
Variety Garden.
Sign in the in the garden showing the distance to local and
international destinations.
The fish pond at the end of the garden.
Visitors can feed the fish. Feed dispensers located next to the pond's
viewing platform.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)

Dole Plantation: Pineapple Express

This is one of a series of posts about the Dole Plantation visitor attraction.

Because of time I didn't have the chance to ride the Pineapple Express. The two mile train journey takes twenty minutes and is promoted as offering a look at the island's agricultural history. Guests will likely enjoy most the scenic panoramas of Oahu's North Shore.

I did find a YouTube video which is posted below from by an enterpriser visitor to Dole Planation who made a vide ten minute video of the train journey. Based on the video below, I think for my interests it was probably best I didn't get to experience it. Living in Hawaii, it doesn't looks like it will show me something I haven't already seen. Visitors will feel otherwise.

Visit for more information. Hours: 9:30am-5pm daily (closed on Christmas Day). Tickets for Pineapple Express: Adults $8; Children (4-12 years old) $6; Kama'aina/Military $7.25; Children under 4 are free when accompanied by an adult.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dole Plantation World's Largest Maze

The big attraction at the Dole Plantation.
View of path at maze entrance.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
This is one of a series of posts about the Dole Plantation visitor attraction.

Cross this maze off the bucket list. I have a fascination with hedge mazes and for the longest time I could only imagine the fun of navigating these massive garden structures. I finally got the opportunity to visit the mazes at Hampton Court Palace in 1998 and Leeds Castle 2003. But despite living in Hawaii, this is the first time I'm trying out the World's Largest Maze at Dole Plantation.

The maze is in the shape of an aloha shirt with a design of pineapple at its center. The maze sprawls over three acres and includes two and a half miles of paths created by 14,000 plants. The entrance/exit is the same and where you can mark your ticket with your start and finish times. The challenge is to seek eight secret stations where your mark a card by pencil using a template at each station. The templates are in various shapes such as the sun, a pineapple, a palm tree and a fish. The paths are compacted dirt and gravel. My recommendation is to bring comfortable shoes. My work shoes needed a cleaning after navigating the maze two days ago.

Aerial view of the maze. (photo: Dole Plantation)
OMG. This maze is massive. The ticket desk does give a map of the maze in case you get lost but seeking each station can be frustrating to find especially when you can see the station through the plants but can't the find the path to reach it. There are a few holes in the hedges where the plants are completing their lifespan so I did cheat once to reach one station. Often there are points where visitors bunch up and other points where it feels like you're the only one in the maze. This was definitely a fun lunch break. My time to find all eight stations and exit: 53 minutes.

Visit for more information. Hours: 9:30am-5pm daily (closed Christmas Day). Admission: adults $6; children (4-12) $4; kama'aina/military $5.

Over two and half mile of paths cover the maze.
One of the templates at eight stations in the maze.
Where the plants are full the maze walls are very solid.
In a few portions, some of walls need filling out by new plants.
From ground level, one can't tell that these collection of plants
form the shape of a pineapple.
The plants that form the pineapple crown.
The plants that form the fruit portion of the pineapple.
Gates mark entrances from the center of the maze.
The only place to take a break is at the maze's center where there
are some benches.
Walking to the maze finish line.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)

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