Saturday, September 15, 2007

Aloha!

We spent our vacation this year on the Big Island!
DH and I have wanted to get to Hawaii for a long time...this year we just said it's TIME and made the reservations! I desperately needed a bit of time off!

We drove down as close as you can get to the Kealakekua Bay that has Captain Cook's Monument -
DH wrote a children's book about Captain Cook so the subject fascinates him...we asked a bunch of the local folks if they had ever seen the actual plaque that's IN the water at where they think Captain Cook met his demise and they looked at us like we were nuts - but I have seen pictures of it on the Internet!!! The only way to get over there is by kayak...but we did not really realize that until it was too late to rent a set and paddle over there...there used to be a arduous trail, but it was not available - there was a landslide in that area after a recent earthquake that we think is why the trail is out of commission.

We watched a luau from our balcony at the hotel - it was a trip being able to wander in and out of the hotel room instead of having to sit there (captive) for several hours - we could see perfectly well!...the only thing we did NOT get out of that was tasting poi..which most people that have tasted say it tastes like you would imagine wallpaper paste tasting...not dreadfully high on my list of things I gotta do!! -
we did get to taste the kalua pig at a buffet though so we did not miss much as far as the food goes - it was interesting seeing the imu - I thought the room was on fire when they started the pit in the morning as the smoke wafted up to our windows - it wasn't until I saw the guys messing around in the dirt that I figured out what was going on!...We stayed at the Royal Kona
and since it was our anniversary, they upgraded the room and sent us a bottle of (alcohol free) bubbly..which we shared whilst watching the luau...the room was incredibly big...since it was on the corner, the balcony stretched around both sides...I brought some material and started a Hawaiian Applique block..it was pretty cool to work on that in Hawaii while listening to Hawaiian music!

We went on a flying tour of the Island...saw the 10 mile wide bubbling lava,
the macadamia groves, the eucalyptus groves, saw the waterfalls off the cliffs, and the ritzy resorts to the north of Kona...One is the Hilton at Waikaloa..the pilot pointed it out to us as we flew over it...we were so intrigued that after the flight, we drove up there and had one of the most wonderful buffet dinners (that's where we tasted the kalua pig)..
if you have never been there, it's a trip in itself - there are 5 huge hotel buildings connected by a monorail and a canal boat system!!!! Hammocks are strung between palm trees and the most incredible collection of oriental art...just sitting right out there to be enjoyed. There are waterfalls and lagoons - it's quite fascinating just to walk around there.

We drove out to the top of the Island to see if we could see Maui..and we could...then we drove thru Parker Ranch lands...zowsers is that awesomely gorgeous (if ever we moved to Hawaii, I think I would want to be up near Waimea...)...We made it all the way over to Hilo..but since it was already dark by then, there was not too much we could see - we did try hiking down the pathway to Akaka Falls..but the only flash lights we had were our cell phones!!

I got some 'interesting' flash shots of the vegetation! And the night sounds...pure heavenly music...I could listen to the frogs singing any day...

We went on a tour up Mauna Kea to see the observatories...they provide parkas since its below freezing (imagine that on a tropical isle!) We had dinner on the way up, watched the sun set on one side and the moon rise a few moments later on the other side...
saw the top of Mauna Loa in the clouds in the distance and on the way down we stopped to see the Space Station hurtle from one side of the sky to the other...then they put on a star show with telescopes so we could see some sights...that was the night of the total lunar eclipse so as soon as we got back down to Kona (it would have been even cooler if they had delayed bringing us back until AFTER the eclipse..but they have a 'schedule' to keep...) we hightailed it up the highway a bit so we could get away from the clouds and see the full show...it was pretty spectacular in itself!

We chartered a motor boat and tooled around in the ocean for a half a day...that was the only day I was out in the sun enough to get burned...just a scrap of the back of my arms where the sunscreen unfortunately got forgotten...but, owie!!! We did get a bit closer to the Captain Cook monument
..but you can't dock there, so it was not as satisfying as actually going there! It would have been better to have the boat for the whole day and to have another couple with us so that we could go snorkeling and exploring the lava tubes. We were a bit squeamish about tying down the boat and both of us being in the water without someone looking after the boat...

I bought a lava-lava (or sarong)...bright, bright green! I am finding its a rather effective wrap when we go to the movies and the AC gets to be a bit much...there I am, wrapped up in a bright green lava-lava....

We saw so many blooming trees and colorful bushes...and a gecko and oodles of myna birds, and a silversword plant, and coffee groves and spinner dolphins...the only things we didn't do that we thought we might have wanted to was to go on the helicopter tour that sets down in a meadow for lunch (mucho, mucho dinero!), see the Volcanoes monument, see more of the rainforest and I did not get to go into a Hawaiian quilt shop!!! I had some thought of bringing back some barkcloth...but I guess that's for the next trip...

I could have stayed there for a couple more weeks, but it was not to be. At the luau...the announcer asked how many were there for the first time..he had a name for them that he said translated to something like 'first time visitors'...then he asked how many had been there more than once...he had another name and said it translated to 'Rich People'...it sure is expensive doing the 'touristy' stuff!..but we did find there were two WalMarts and at least 1 K-Mart..and the prices seemed pretty much in line with the mainland prices, at least on the stuff we looked at...

I am still incredibly busy at work with our massive conversion of the accounting system - it's not scheduled to be done until April next year...so it was kinda traumatic to them to have me gone for even a week! I did drag my laptop with me so I could keep up on emails and do emergency fixes...fortunately they did not plague me too much! Even though my laptop is pretty tiny and weighs hardly anything, the bag they gave me for toting it around was tooooo heavy...so I made a quilted slipcover for it and stuffed that inside my sewing tote! Not only was it much lighter, no one could tell it was a laptop in there!