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FORE — To brew the best beer in the country takes more than location, mountain water, and a climate conducive to growing hops and barley. It requires an attitude — a sense that hearty, tasty ales are an Oregonian birthright. Read more

Story and photos by Deston Nokes

Hawaiian artists performing at preview gatherings for Mele Mei started with a rumble, grew to a thunderclap and ended with gentle chords. From pop and rock to traditional Hawaiian styles, visiting journalists were treated to a memorable lineup of artists eager to provide a taste of what to expect at Mele Mei — a month-long celebration of music, hula and culture. Read more

By Deston Nokes

Special to The Oregonian

At nearly twice the size of all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined, the Big Island always has something new to experience.

On previous visits to the Big Island, I’ve golfed the Kohala Coast, pedaled down a volcano road, steered a paddleboard around a cove, visited a coffee plantation and hiked through rain forest into the Waipio Valley. I even was marshaled into service to judge a mountain oyster barbecuing competition among three proud paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys).This most recent trip, my companion and I opted for sun-soaked relaxation in the Kona area, using the historic town as a base to seek out the best local cuisine and enjoy water sports and a few pulse-quickening adventures. Read more

By Deston Nokes

GOLF TODAY NORTHWEST — It wasn’t the first time I heard laughter after my golf swing, but it was the first time I could attribute it to a flock of birds. The Hawai’ian laughing birds, called Erckel’s Francolin, were cackling in the brush as my errant drive thudded into the bunker. One has to take these things in stride, golfing along the Kona Trail. You never know when you might have a peacock strutting across the fairway or a herd of long-hair sheep ambling by or hear a flock the wild turkeys gobbling about.

Kona Trail’s four golf courses on Hawai’i’s Big Island — the Makalei Golf Club, the Big Island Country Club and Kona Country Club’s mountain and oceanfront courses — offer diversity, breathtaking scenery and all levels of tropical island play that Pacific Northwestern golfers dream about during their cold, wet winters and springs. Read more

GOLF TODAY NORTHWEST — To appreciate the magic of the Mayan Riviera, one has to look back to the 10th century ruins of Tulum, which is the only coastal city the Mayans ever built. It served as their seaport, fortress and temple. Along this coast, the Mayans found porcelain white beaches, reefs teeming with fish and a dense jungle pumping with animal and plant life.

The Mayans believed that the region, located along an 80-mile area just below Cancun, is floating and unattached to the earth. Below the surface runs a network of underground rivers, accessible by beautiful, fresh-water cenotes. Picture a swimming hole out of a Norman Rockwell painting and you have a cenote — perfect for plunging away the heat of the afternoon. Read more

CityPASS — Last year, getting out of a cab in Kyoto, I paid my fare and tried to give the driver a tip. His face winced as though I had insulted him and, to my surprise, he insisted on giving my change. All of it. The same happened with the bellman who helped me with my bags at the hotel. Looking curiously at the yen I pressed into his palm, he asked, “This is for me?”

They don’t tip in Japan and, after interviewing servers on both U.S. coasts, tipping doesn’t seem to be much of a tradition among visitors from the British Isles or continental Europe. Read more

While the San Francisco Bay Area is amply dotted in brightly colored, provocative art, famed muralist Ray Patlan recommends that visitors start in San Francisco’s Mission District if they want to experience a close collection of established and exciting mural artwork.

The Mission District’s Balmy Alley and Clarion Alley offer visitors the tightest concentration of murals in the city. The two alleyways are about a 25-minute walk apart from one another, and there are about 40 or so murals contained along each narrow street. Plus, the wall art isn’t limited to just the alleys, but adorns the walls along the adjoining streets — depicting joy, politics, history, injustice, family and sheer frivolity. “In terms of street art, the area is a museum,” Patlan said. Read more

Queuing up outside the 9/11 Memorial with other members of the press, I felt privileged to have the opportunity to preview the memorial hours before it opened to the public. The previous day, in a private gathering, the families of those lost on 9/11 were the first to experience the memorial, which took 10 years to discuss, plan, draw and build.

We were led along an outdoor, fenced corridor into a building for airport security-style screening; and then it was a short walk to the memorial itself, which is located on the site of the Twin Towers. Read more

Story and photos by Deston Nokes
FORE — Since opening Bandon Dunes in 1999, followed by Pacific Trails in 2001 and Bandon Trails in 2005, the resort often has been listed at or near the top of many golf aficionados’ lists of best places to play. But to consider the setting, the views, the ease of getting from one course to the next, the restaurants, and for — most of all — the quality of shots required on courses that look like nothing else in the United States, Bandon Dunes might be the best golf-centric resort in the country. Some say the world. Read more

FORE — With heat roaring out of the Mexican jungle like a hot breath from hell, and with buzzards circling over the 12th tee, we concluded that picking a mid-August afternoon tee time was a very silly thing to do. Leave it to a beaming señorita driving a refreshment cart to provide us the “liquid will” to complete an incredible round of golf.
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