Monday, March 19, 2012

Mission accomplished

E-mail to Rod Thurs Mar15

I'm writing this from a restaurant/bar in lovely little Hilo airport. The chairs are nice and cushy and the announcements are spoken in that rich Hawaiian accent that is so calming, wishing all good travels, welcoming people to Hawaii and saying Aloha to those leaving with hopes of their return. (In Hawaiian you are wished, "Til we meet again."  "A Hui Hou". Hou is pronounced Ho.) Their service is gentle and respectful, such a contrast to what I experienced at LAX on my journey over but here's hoping that with Continental and United joined together things will go much smoother on my way back though I'm on an Air Canada plane from LA to TO (?) (NOTE: My trip back was great. The airport workers were wonderful and kind!!!). I'm glad that I have a 3 hr stop over in LA. It'll give me plenty of time to get my seat assignment as I couldn't get it done at Hilo as Misty (travel agent) had suggested.

the turtles said goodbye here
The morning began with the promise of sun. Sun shined on us as the Alaskan woman and I chatted over brekkie of blueberry scones, maple yogurt with fresh blueberry, mango, banana, mame sapote (tastes like a combination of sweet potato and pumpkin with undertones of almond, chocolate, honey, vanilla and black cherry). 30 minutes later it poured! So, I decided it was time to head out to Pahoa and Hilo. One of the guys at the desk (the partner of the amazing hula hoop performer) told me to check out Lava Tree Park on the way. He said it was a sweet little place, one of his favourite spots to visit and even drew up a map for me. 

Before heading over, I stopped by the ocean for one last look at the waves and saw 2 turtles poking their heads up in the surf for one brief moment. 

shelter in lava tree park
I have loved driving the roads in Hawaii. It's like doing the hula. The roads sway up and down and from side to side, like one's hips when doing the hula. However, I have noticed on my travels the presence of many memorial sites on these same roadsides dedicated those killed in accidents. The last site appeared just before I entered the park.  A rusted driver's side door hung from a thick tree branch; chilling. These reminders of the misfortune of others make me feel very fortunate and have served to increase my awareness and my defensive driving!

Lava Tree park was so lush that I took lots of pics during my 45 minute walk on the path. You are warned not to step off the path as there are many, many hidden crevices which you can fall into. Much of this area has a maze of lava tubes and caverns underneath the surface from previous lava flows. 

I then headed to Pahoa a small town peppered with more bars than anything else. (Hence the memorials on the roadsides (?). It is situated between Kalani and Hilo. My mission was to check out Aloha shirts for you. No luck. So I got a mango tango smoothie to go at a pizza place. This was THE COLDEST drink ever delivering a stabbing ice cream headache. It was still thick with ice when I got into Hilo! 

place of the Boogie Woogie Pizza slushy
I scoured the streets of Hilo stopping in at stores here and there looking for shirts. I'd been recommended a few places by some Hawaiian residents at Kalani during brekkie, the guy at the reception desk as well as shopkeepers in town. I scored one for you and me and one T-shirt each for $55! There was a market at the south end of town filled with produce stands and some handmade jewellery stalls showing wares at very reasonable prices. I picked up 2 bracelets for $8.

Restaurants here are primarily Thai, Japanese, Hilo-Mex, some natural food places and a kava bar which looked really interesting but, since I was driving, I passed on it. Kava makes me feel great but spacey. They all looked really tempting but I just wanted something light so I chose Café Pesto  where I enjoyed their focaccia bread with gorgonzola cheese and rosemary (like a little, delicate, light, crisp pizza) and a café mocha. I heard one man say that they were known for their creme brulé - I thought of you but I'd OD'd on milk products so I didn't dare indulge on your behalf :(

Hilo has a beautiful sand beach coastline with good wave action at the north end of town where some people appeared to be surfing. Most of the bay is protected and ideal for the many canoe and outrigger teams putting in at the south shore at 5pm. These were some serious paddlers; very impressive! 

I will miss many things about Hawaii. One is the constant sound of nature. The silence of our neighbourhood is going to be deafening! But, I'm looking forward to coming back to you and the kitties.

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