December ’09 from The Big Island

The end of last year and beginning of this one found us in Hawaii.  Yes, this was already posted on FaceBook, mailed out, and appeared on my other (now defunct) blog.  Still, forever optimistic new people will chance across stuff I wrote and pictures I took, I repost this here for them and those who may want to revisit it.

Also, posting it on this blog will help preserve my work for posterity.  Who knows, eons from now future (alien) anthropologists will shake their head in wonder such brilliance was around at the same time as reality shows.

Anyway, here it is, my update from December 31, 2009 from the Big Island of Hawai’i.
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“Whale!”  The cry stirs the tourists into a horizon-scanning frenzy, and I reach for my camera as I too look for the tell-tale spout indicating a behemoth of the sea is gracing us with their presence.  After a few minutes of not seeing anything, I look back at the person who shouted the warning, hoping for an indication of the direction of the sighting.   . . . he’s pointing at me, and everyone is snapping pictures.

So, maybe I’ve gained a few pounds, but still, I think that’s pretty mean.  Pissed off, I roll away from the crowd, huffing and puffing . . . “thar he blows!” . . . the cry fades as I dive around a corner of the building, and give my belly a chance to catch up.  Anyway, as I rest from the exertion I will summarize our stay on the Big Island.

Coming from a long lineage of sea-faring folks I am drawn to the ocean as if being called home.  Weird that, because I not keen on being a sea-faring folk.  I’m not a big fan of boats, I’m not a strong swimmer, and I don’t particularly like the idea of swimming in water many, many creatures use as their toilet.  That includes humans as I’m reasonably sure, but not certain, many habitually relieve themselves while frolicking in the surf.

That said I do like watching waves.  I do like listening to waves.  And I like feeling the shock from awesome surf propagate through the ground.  That last may be subjective, but when those big ones angrily smash the shore I believe it feels as if the very earth shakes.  So, being a wannabe photographer and writer, I take lots of wave pictures, and then I try to write about them so as to bestow even a small sense of the wonder infused in me by big surf.

Ah, screw it!  . . . how about a small update on our Hawaii vacation so far?
 

Typical Breakfast
Good food, great view, fantastic company

First full day in Hawaii; travel between islands, moving into the condo, buying some  supplies; eggs, butter, Portuguese sweet bread, and 100% Maple Syrup . . . all the supplies essential to making French Toast the way it should be made; unadorned by cinnamon and other trappings.  We also went to the farmer’s market and picked up some strawberry papayas.  They go well with nearly any breakfast.

 


With Christmas Day nearly over we went to a buffet we had booked before leaving Colorado.  It was crowded, the food was so-so, and it did not feel like a proper holiday meal.  Still, food was had a –plenty, and we waddled away content.

(Note: albums are named for the days, but they may span multiple days)
Day One Album
Next day we went to the place of refuge . . . no, not the dark corners of my basement, but rather a Hawai’ian sacred place now turned into a National Park.  It’s called the place of refuge because any miscreant able to swim across the bay to the place would be granted asylum, and after a suitable amount of time could rejoin society cleansed of their transgressions.  You can read all about it
HERE

Place of Refuge
Place of Refuge

The story sounds fishy to me as it seems to give any good swimmer essentially carte blanche to do pretty much anything they wanted.  I suppose at least the people had to be fit . . . unlike these days, when all it takes is some money, and you can go through life being a complete rear orifice and get away with it.

 


Day Two Album
Sunday was spent heading to, and returning from, Tex Drive –In.  Once again, we were in for a small disappointment, this time with regards to Tex’s world famous Malasadas.  We both remember them more flavorful and lighter (fluffier).  These were good, but they tasted more like Indian Fried Bread, and while not a bad thing that, it was not what we had a taste for.  But no matter; we had what we came from.

Along the way to and from Tex Drive-In, we also passed a few other landmarks.  I could detail all of them, but suffice it to say we drove through the High Country, to some famous lookouts, and general nice scenery.  We were back at the condo in time to sit out and watch the sunset, and celebrate the end of another day with a dinner out (we usually alternate decadent condo cooking with decadent eating out). 

Kona Sunset
Sun, surf, and lava

 


Day Three Album
Monday was a trip to the Volcano National Park.  We should have checked ahead of time . . . part of the park was closed due to excessive sulfur fumes from the new eruption (mostly steam).  The caldera rim drive was closed, as well as sections of the caldera itself.  The Chain of Craters road was open, but that is not as interesting as the sites of current activity.  Plus, the lava viewing was now outside the park boundary, and was run by the county, which means it was only available between 5:00pm and 8:00pm, and involved trucking in the dark over lava fields.  Yeah, not going to happen.

We opted to go on to Hilo, where we had a nice picnic by the bay, and then continued on around the island, going by Tex Drive-In again, and back on down to Kona.  Along the way we stopped at a couple of more parks, and did a four mile scenic drive off the main road.  Overall, a nice outing, with the only bad thing being the traffic we hit when we got near Kona.

Traffic!!  A far cry from our first visit here, back in the early 90’s.  One other unwelcome change . . . the locals seems a lot less friendly, and on the roads they are downright rude and inconsiderate.  It’s primarily the younger set, so maybe that’s just a reflection of things all over . . . the younger generations have all been infected with the A**hole virus, and the symptoms are getting worse.  Anyway, we were back once again in time to view the sunset, then had some fried eggs on top of fried Spam on top of toasted 12 grain bread.  After dinner we enjoy a banana split.  And another day draws to a close.

 

Great surf action
Pounding Surf

Day Four Album
Tuesday was a relax day, shopping day, and swimming day.  Nothing of note other than we had us our traditional Kona Mud Pie (Kona coffee ice cream pie with chocolate and whipped cream).  After the sunset I made another batch of French Toast.  And another day drew to a close.
Wednesday opened with my usual walk along the shore (1.5 hours) shooting waves and tidal pools.  We then headed up the coast hitting a few “famous” beaches.  Most were too crowded to actually spend time in, but we did find a few places where we could walk along without having to deal with crowds.  We also hit a couple of the golfing resorts, but they really make inconvenient to just visit, so we did not spend much time there.  We headed back to Kona and spent a nice dinner watching the sunset as we ate the fresh catch of the day.

 


Day Five Album
And here we are.  New Year’s eve, and I’m about to go out and watch the sunset, then spend the evening packing for our flight to Maui tomorrow.  I’m including links to a couple of videos I shot.  Lots more that will be uploaded once we are back home, but for now these will have to do.
(remember to watch in HD)