* No A/C.
There is a fan, and there is a breeze, but I wonder what it is like if
it is very humid and hot.
around 9PM local time, it starts really pouring, and there is a tin roof,
and it is deafening. I know I won't sleep, now. This weather needs to
clear pronto, or I'll get no tan!
So, now I'll
have to figure out how to go to bed. It's about 9PM and I am exhausted.
I manage to fall asleep. Then the ants get in the bed and bite my legs.
some people came in to the downstairs room and began playing (I think)
an electric piano and singing. Not loudly, but it woke me. I began drifting
off again and then I heard a "pa-dump, pa-dump, pa-dump" noise,
quick like a cat scampering across the room. I think I'm dreaming and
roll over. About 2 minutes later I hear the same noise. I sit up in bed
and turn on the light. I have a flashlight, so I point it over to the
right side of the room where the noise is coming from and I don't see
anything. It has to be a gecko/lizard or something. I cannot see it though.
All I know is if it gets on the bed I will be screaming. Why do I feel
like I am on Survivor or something? I leave on the bedside light; this
seems to keep whatever it is quiet. I lie down. I look up at the ceiling
and there are these either 1) baby flying roaches/palmetto bugs or 2)
some other kind of beetle. I also notice a big "palmetto bug"
walking on the rafters. Great. I don't think I can stay here for 6 days.
AM I am awakened again by another downpour. It's incessant. I don't have
boots, only swim shoes, but I better wear those when I go downstairs,
because it is likely a mess out there. I go to the bathroom and it's fine
in there; I don't see any bugs, geckos or flying roaches (let's just call
them FFR for short - f*cking flying roaches). I go to the sink to wash
my face and see something moving on a ziploc bag that has my shower stuff
in it -- it's another FFR! I don't have anything to kill it; you know
what -- I don't care. All my sh*t is sealed up, so it cannot get anything.
No point in freaking out.
2, part 1 - Action Plan
I get back in bed and start reading Fast
Food Nation, which I brought as light reading. Clearly I
am not going to sleep much more. My body thinks it is 11AM, though
I suspect the lack of sleep makes that less meaningful.
Gentle Yoga class is at 10 AM. I want to do that to distract me
from what I need to be doing. What I should do is call my brother
Tim today to work out a plan of action.
to leave here because I will not sleep well a second night at all.
What are my options?
* stay with
Miranda and Tim one night. They could pick me up.
* I could
ask someone here to drive me to the airport so I can rent a car. I could
check out, and drive to Miranda and Tim. Seems kind of pointless, but
I could use the opportunity to see the island on my own as I drive to
Kona. If I stay there a day, then I'll have to change my plane ticket
and leave out of Kona.
of action is to get to the phone. I can do a local call for 50 cents from
the front desk. You're limited to 5 minutes, so that's not particularly
helpful. I'll have to discuss my dissatisfaction with Ron before I call
Tim. That may determine what I do about staying. He might be able to give
me a ride back to the airport, but I'll have to pay them, which is OK.
I wonder if I will be penalized for breaking my reservation. I am sure
I will. But I don't think I want to waste my time here if I am miserable
with the bug situation. Certainly they don't want a bad review on my
web site, lololol. Too late.
I am sure
this is all sounding like the ravings of a mad woman that's been up over
24 hours. Maybe once day breaks and hopefully the sun comes out, things
will seem better, though I cannot imagine another sleepless night here,
knowing the FFRs are in here. It feels like I am camping outdoors. This
thing is all screened in, but it clearly isn't sealed well, since all
sorts of little nagging flying things are in here. I haven't noticed getting
really bitten by them (yet). I did bring repellent.
I need is a vacation from hell that I allow to last for days on end, though.
so I need to decide when to pull the plug.
It is starting to get light out, and I hear that "pa-dump" noise
again. When I get up to investigate, I can see what was making the noise
-- horses! They are just outside my window, below in the pasture. They
must have been running around out there during the storm, under my tree
house. OK. That's one small sigh of relief. Perhaps, once it is light,
I will be able to lie down for a bit and rest.
I can now
see outside my treehouse fairly well
(5:45 AM), and the site is indeed pleasant.
with the ocean waves audible. You can also see the ocean from the tree
house, but it is in the distance. Actual beach access is close, but it's
about a mile down the road. Clothing-optional, of course, lololol. Yeeah,
right, not for me.
overcast and humid.
2, part 2 - Up and about
So, I got
dressed around 6:15 AM and went outside with my Palm cam to take pix of
the area. It's not raining, the horses
are out playing and grazing. I walked the entire campus; I had one guy
in a car pass me on the road and splash mud on me, but he was the only
person I saw other than the guy cleaning the pool. It is a fairly large
place, with paved and gravel trails, with the main
office in the middle of the grounds. My tree house is viewable
from the entry road. I took pix there and at the entrance to Kalani.
across the way from the tree houses is the Rainbow
Room, where the yoga classes are taught. It is a good
sized facility, with a tennis court next to it. I didn't see where
there were any yoga props, so I will tote my own.
in the meadow area near the volleyball court and I decided to see
if my cell phone was live. IT WAS! I had two voicemails on it, one
from Tim from last night, another was a wrong number(!). I called
Tim back and Miranda answered. The connection sucked but we were
able to, over the course of two phone calls, make a plan. Her dad
had made reservations at Volcanoes National Park for them on Thursday
6/13 and Friday 6/14 in a 2-bedroom facility, hoping I would tag
along. What fortune! They said I could also crash in their place
if things really don't work out here in the interim. At least I'll
be able to use a landline and a phone card. I have to find out what
penalty I might have to pay for leaving Kalani early.
As I type
this, there are all sorts of little bugs traveling across the floor, no
FFR though. Can I make it another night here? Geez. It will be torture.
I'll have to see.
went to breakfast on the Lanai. Met Ron again; told him about the FFR
problem and he said someone would come address it. He introduced me to
this guy, Darrin, who is the IT guy there and we talked about the phone
lines and the internet access. He has about 10 workstations there that
he supports. He ran an extension of the phone line from a telephone pole
2 miles away. The best they can get is about 33.6 bps, or half of what
most people have with dial-up. He was a funny guy.
at breakfast (7:30-8:30) was scrambled eggs, potatoes, grits, and some
tofu dish scramble. There was fresh fruit, cereal, all kinds of muffins/toast
and coffee/tea. Was tasty, but needed some salt, lol. I didn't eat much
since I have a yoga class at 10AM.
I come back
to the office and swipe in. I only have to pay for the days I stay and
they will prorate the rest. I call Tim on the cell and let him know that
I will be brave and stay one more night. I hope I don't regret toughing
it out. I will call them tonight in a panic if I am besieged by the FFR.
Ron also told me a good place to go walking later. If I come out to the
main road and turn left, there is a path to a lookout point where you
can watch the waves break on the lava rock and meditate. I definitely
want to go there.
2, part 3 - Yoga and such
Gentle Yoga in the Rainbow Room with Inga. She did a good overall
workout, on my level except for a couple of poses that I could do,
but she really shouldn't have included (side
plank, yoga mudra) because
there were newbies in there. The relaxation pose at the end was delicious.
fall asleep in it, but it was a netherworld state where I forgot where
I was, hearing the birds outside the hall, the warm breeze coming in.
It was fantastic.
bad she doesn't teach this again until Thursday, when I'll be gone. I
don't think I'll do the Hatha class tomorrow since it is at 4PM and I
think it will be too hard. I will likely go to the rainbow room when it
is unoccupied in order to do some practice on my own with my props. I
will need to take a couple of towels to do it though.
a restorative class on Saturday that will be held. Maybe Tim and Miranda
will want to come to it if they are still on that side of the island.
back to the room and it has been "cleaned", though that
term is questionable. I still see the dead bugs still on the floor.
The bed was remade, towels replenished. Whether it was sprayed or
not is another question -- wait -- there is a can of Raid
left on the floor for me, which I put on the little fridge.
see any bugs either. I guess they did a first pass. I'll be spraying
the place again once the sun goes down. I see a couple of the ant-like
things and sprayed them and the Raid seemed to work fine. Maybe
I'll get sleep tonight. I have to remember to put on more bug repellent
before going out to lunch.
I wish my
phone worked in the damn room. I'll have to go out to the main building/gift
store and buy a rain slicker next time it lets up.
I hope that
I am not bored silly all day. There is a weaving class that is at 3PM
in the cafe. I want to try that.
Went to lunch.
Had a chicken salad and cup of tea, and a maple scone. The iced tea is
flavored (peppermint). Bleh. Ate with a nice couple from San Jose, CA.
Both were in my yoga class. They had ants in their bed last night as well
when they came in (they arrived ahead of me). They almost left too, but
used the Raid and took care of it; they are also leaving tomorrow. They
said the walls are thin between (they are on the other side of the wall
from me) and they can hear everything, not that I was making noise. Like
me, they are unhappy with the accommodations, but like the people, the
classes and the food.
was worth it all...
The panoramic view of the point; click to enlarge.
lunch, I went out to that point Ron suggested. The
path is about 50 yards from the entrance to Kalani, marked
only by 2 stones. It's isolated. I put down a towel, and pulled
out the Palm to record my impressions--
am typing this as I sit on the edge of a cliff of black lava rock,
all by myself, with the waves crashing and breaking before me.
sea spray is light on my face, and smells wonderfully pungent. The
dark clouds from the morning are finally parting, and I see blue
sky and white clouds. Lush green foliage, a deeper green than pictures
can convey, grows out of the rich volcanic rock on either side that
just out from where I sit, perched about 100 feet above the ocean.
It is all a majestic thing to witness - proof that the earth is
truly wonderous. The solitude is almost mystical...it is rejuvenating.
There is not a soul anywhere in sight.
stayed out on this point and did some yoga poses...how amazing is
this feeling as I sat in bound angle facing the ocean waves crashing
just feet away from the edge. I laid down in shavasana (relaxation
pose, on my back) and listened to it all, trying to lock this memory
away to savor again in another time and place.
cell again. Got disconnected. The lack of consistent service here sucks.
I may call Tim from the office when I call tonight.
I am sitting at the pool; there is a hot tub out there too. No one is
here right now except the guy that taught the tai chi class. The weaving
class starts in a few, so I'll hang out here till around 3 pm. It's nice
and quiet. Most of the guests are out snorkling (like the couple from
San Jose) or seeing the volcanoes. It's overcast again. The weather on
this side of the island is weird.
Day 2, part
4 - Weaving and evening
So I went
to weaving class, taught by Lynda, where I made myself a bracelet. It's
not bad, clearly flawed, but ok enough to be passable. Lynda was really
funny. She is this flaky woman in her late 50s, with her curly hair dyed
about 4 shades of blonde. She has this motherly vibe, but has a voice
that is quiet and whiney, sort of like a mild Penny Marshall. It's hysterical.
Some of the young (early 20s) boys that volunteer here in exchange for
room and board, came in and greeted her. One of them had a bad cut from
surfing on his hand and Lynda took us outside and showed us a plant that
islanders use to put on wounds. She had the guy chew a leaf, then place
the cud on the open sore. She said it has a alum-like chemical in it that
causes the wound to close up.
ended around 5PM, so I went walking around and came back to the room around
5:30. I was very tired all of a sudden (my body still thinks it's 12:30
AM), so I lie down and put on my headphones to listen to a guided meditation
MP3, put on an eyebag, and I drift off to sleep.
I woke up
around 6:15, so I need to dash off to dinner. I get up and stumble out
of my treehouse and down to the meal hall, which is about a quarter mile
walk away. Some people actually drive there; this seems ludicrous, given
there's a decent walking path. Anyway, there's Koi fish (cajun style),
salad, green beans and cauliflower, and some sort of wheat/sunflower bread.
It was tasty. I ate alone, even though that nice retired couple from San
Jose was there, as was Ron. I felt tired and just wanted to eat and go
back to my room and meditate.
I tried my
cell phone when I left the meal hall, and I had a message from Tim on
it that was broken up from his bad transmission. I assume it is about
the plan for tomorrow. I try calling back, but my connection is weak and
I get his voicemail. I stopped by the main office (which is between the
meal hall and my room) and called using my calling card and the land line,
and left a message for him. I told them I would check out at noon tomorrow
and that they could call the main desk for directions to Kalani.
I went back
to the room and wanted to rest, but I decided to go walking again to the
lookout point. I packed up some towels and walked out there. When I was
on the path to the point itself, I saw that there was a couple of people
there. Oh well. I know not to come at dusk, lol. I turned around and came
back to the room. I remind myself to head back out there in the AM and
take a picture of the point itself.
about 7:30 now and there's a hula class, but I am just too damn tired
to go. I go take a bath. As I get out, it starts raining again. Not
too heavy though. I am standing there at the mirror and what do you
know, that giant 2.5 inch F*cking Flying Roach
(FFR) crawls out from behind the mirror! I whack it with
a big bottle of soap on the counter and it goes belly up, squiggling.
I decide to be sadistic and put the bottle on top of it. Since the
bottom of the bottle is recessed, that bastard is trapped under there.
Hahahahahaha. I will leave it there for housekeeping to find.
I get in
my jammies, and continue reading Fast Food Nation, getting about a 1/3
of the way through. Then I doze. briefly.
to the sound of another downpour! We are definitely either in a rainy
season, or this part of the island just gets rain like this every day
(some areas do, such as the Kona coffee fields). I have the fan on in
the room, and it isn't really that humid, relatively speaking.
on my MP3 player and listened
to more guided meditation while stretched out on the bed, and at
some point I fell asleep. Since the player cut off, I must have
listened to about 2 hours worth of stuff.
and as far as the bug report goes, I sprayed the whole place once
more before going walking earlier, and I can report that I've seen
nothing but that FFR I trapped. No ant-like creatures, only a couple
of flying gnat-things, which are not menacing. No crawling "friends"
on the ceiling either.
3, part 1 - Getting up and getting ready to go
I get up to update my journal and to take off the MP3 player and
recharge it. I am hungry. I have some Choice
bars in the fridge, so I eat one, since it will be a while before
breakfast (7:30). It is still raining out there.
AM: It decided to storm yet again, just as I stepped out to go to
breakfast. I headed in to wait it out. It stopped, and I went to
the meal hall.
with Gail and Clint again (the couple from San Jose) and Mickey,
one of the Kalani kitchen staff. She is from Silicon "Silly-con"
Valley, but appears to be a native islander.
on things from Clint and Gail at Volcano National Park, since they were
there before coming to Kalani:
Barbara Golden, Rainbow Rainforest Retreat. Gail and Clint stayed there.
* Good food:
The Lava Rock Cafe, town of Village. Also: Kiluea Lodge, Volcano Village.
Ice cream sundaes.
* Thai food
is great at Thai Thai restaurant.
* Cheap shopping:
At the TrueValue hardware store in town, upstairs is a souvenir shop,
that beats the prices almost anywhere around here.
breakfast, and I stood in the meadow to get a cell signal to check
for messages. Tim left a voicemail saying they were heading out
this AM after getting directions and will be here around noon.
back out to the point past the entrance to
Kalani and took pix with my film camera. I laid out some
towels and stretched out for a bit. There are some damn biting red
ants out here that I swat away. Not too many though. The sun is bright
and intense today, I am under a tiny palm tree for partial shade.
I type up the morning's notes on the PDA as I listen and watch the
put on my MP3 player and listened to Anita Baker's Rapture
- what a great record to associate these sights and sounds with! I
laid back with my eyes closed and then listened to a guided meditation,
after a while it started to drizzle lightly. It felt so cool with
the ocean breeze evaporating it as the rain hit my skin. It stopped
for a bit, then began again. I looked at my watch and I had been out
there for over an hour, so I figured I better not stay out in the
sun too much longer. I headed back as the rain came down a bit harder.
I walked up the Kalani drive, I saw that the horses that I can see
from my room had come a bit more closer to the fence, so I took
a picture of them. I came back in, washed up and changed. I packed
up my things and did a double check of everything. I sat down, relaxed
with a bottle of water and sat down to update this journal. The
sun is back out again and the sky is clearing (again). Boy, is this
to the main office and checked out. As I was at the desk, Tim showed
up. We hugged and went to their rental car, a Ford Escape. I greeted
Miranda, who had cut her hair short since I last saw her, in a Louise
Brooks-style bob. I took them to my room (I had left it unlocked
so I could leave my bags there till they came) to show them the
view of the point and we took some pix.
loaded the car and drove around the grounds, so I could show them
were surprised at how rustic Kalani was. They thought it would be
more like a resort, not like a retreat nestled in the "jungle."
Then I took them out to the meditation point. They were shocked
at the isolation and beauty of it. We took pix.
we drove off to Kona, doing some sightseeing and picture-taking
along the way...
3, part 2 - On the road
some of the places Tim and Miranda
took me --
up lunch at a local take-out stand in Hilo. We had laulaus, which
is a wrap of chunks of pork, fish, chicken and potatoes rolled in
Ti leaves) from Ka'uppena. We ate in at Hilo Gardens a short drive
nearby, which is a city park on the water.
took Hwy 19 in the direction of Kona, the: scenic route. We stopped
and took pictures at Onomea Falls.
the Akaka Falls Cafe, located
on a small strip of older buildings, we had some delicious homemade
ice cream. I had a cone with vanilla and macademia nut ice cream.
* It was
off to Akaka and Kahuna Falls for more
pictures. To get to them you had to take a paved but often steep path.
Not painfully long, It's worth the stop, though, the view is amazing.
* The next
stop was the point at Laupahoehoe,
where the waves were breaking high. This location was the site of a tsunami
disaster in the 1940s that killed a class of teenagers and teachers that
was on a field trip there. It has many large lava rocks that jut out at
the water where you can wade in at low tide. It was high tide here and
it was easy to just go in a few feet and get pelted by some big waves.
Tim almost got caught in one when we were taking pictures.
* We reached
Waupio Valley – it rained, but it was
* On the
way through Parker Ranch country, we stopped to try and capture a pic
of an awesome rainbow.
at Kona Inn Restaurant in downtown Kona, where we watched the sun
go down as we sat on its patio. There were men out on the ocean in Outrigger
canoes, braving the fairly rough waters. I picked up some postcards at
a local store, Tim went to a Borders to get a jazz CD and we stopped at
Wal-Mart to buy film. I have to remember to shop at a Wal-mart when I
get to Oahu, because they have lots of touristy stuff at good prices,
even locally made dresses and shirts that cost an arm and a leg elsewhere.
father Walter owns the house way up
on a hill in Kailua-Kona that Tim and Miranda are staying at. The house
has an attached, but private, guest bedroom and bath that has a double
bed and two sofa bunks.
lives in the main part of the house year round. Tony and Sharie
have two funny dogs, Gadget and Gizmo,
that are very friendly.
Tony is a
tiler and Sharie works at the Hilton Waikoloa north on the Kohala Coast.
We were introduced and we had an interesting and funny conversation about
the wild boars/pigs that come down the mountain for water. Tony killed
27 wild pigs over the last couple of years. He showed us a photo album
of the catches. Those beasts are no "Babe"s; they are mean and
ugly and charge people. The largest one they caught was over 200 lbs and
it had to be shot when it ran at/attacked Sharie's father in law. We settled
in the room after a while and I took a shower and went to bed. We have
to pack in the AM for our 2-day trip to Volcanoes National Park.
4, Part 1 - Around Kona, onto Volcano
AM: Got up, updated log. Packed a smaller bag for two-day trip to
Volcano Natl Park. Went to Kona Airport to change my flight to Honolulu
on Sunday from Hilo to Kona. Was $10 penalty. Then we drove along
the scenic highway to breakfast, the Aloha
Angel Cafe. The waitstaff have T-shirts with angel wings
on the back. I had a great feta, tomato, green onion and bacon omlette.
Back on the
road to The Place of Refuge, where
fugitives from the law in ancient days would be forgiven...if they could
make it there. Lots of pix here, we goofed around on some of them.
We went to
the Kona Cafe for pie and then drove off to South
Point. It is at the southmost tip of the island, a desolate
place where it’s very windy. This is also the southernmost point of the
U.S. -- the next closest continent is Antartica! They have windmill
generators there. We went all the way out to the edge. We each
picked a point out there where we could meditate and just marvel at the
waves hitting the huge lava boulders. I am actually typing this while
perched on the edge of a cliff; the sheer drop beneath me to the rocks
below is both frightening and exhilarating; I had to grasp my stylus that
I typed with in my fist tightly; the wind gusts were that strong. I gripped
my Palm like a vise.
was the first anniversary of Miranda's brother's passing. She bought
some beautiful exotic flowers and cast them into the ocean to honor
4, Part 2 - Lodging for the night
checked into the Kilauea
Lodge Country Inn (email@example.com,
800-967-7366) around 5PM and I found that there was a place called
the Wellspring Center next door that teaches yoga. I plan
to go the 7:30 class tomorrow.
went to the Lava Rock Cafe for
dinner and had some tasty food. It's a small, intimate place with
tables inside and out. There was a guitarist there that sang some
James Taylor and Jim Croce. He had a wonderful voice and it went
well with dinner.
odd thing that we all noticed about this area (Volcano Village)
is that it is much colder here than the rest of the island. Cell
phone service is no good here either. You have to pay a roaming
fee. There is a public phone in the common area outside the room.
That area is quite nice; it has a fireplace as well as a TV/VCR.
decided to go into the hot tub at the Lodge after dinner. It was
quite marvelous, we all needed the relaxation after all that walking
and hiking. We had the whole thing to ourselves.
We came back
to the room relaxed. Went for a short drive because Miranda forgot her
toothbrush, but the general store was closed.
I'll get up to make that 7:30 yoga class at Wellspring Yoga Center and
the have a breakfast and then come back and finish up my postcards. I
saw that there was a post office down the road so I'll take advantage
of that and mail them off. While I'm at yoga, Tim and Miranda will go
hiking in the Volcano Park to do a trail that will be over in few hours
then they will pick me up.
5, Part 1 - Yoga and Hiking in Volcano
up and got dressed for yoga. It is chilly today. The class was wonderful.
If I get back here I'd go again, and highly recommend this place.
Center for Stress Reduction, Therapeutic Stretch and Yoga
190 Kamehameha Ave., Room 4
Hilo, Hawai'i 96720
Kathleen Porter, who studied under Jon Kabat-Zinn at U Mass
Stress Reduction Clinic and is certified in yoga through the Sivananda
International Vedanta Centre.
I grabbed an omelette at the Lava Rock Cafe then checked out souvenirs
11AM: I walked
to the post office down the road, mailed off all my postcards and came
back to the room. Tim and Miranda were there, waiting for me, lol. I thought
they wouldn't be back from the first Volcano Park walk until noon.
at the U of HI Press to let her know that my flight to Oahu would be earlier
on Sunday (10 AM), than originally planned.
Today I changed
to a spaghetti strap top to get a more even tan, slathered on the 30 spf
sunscreen and hoped for the best. It was a bright day, so getting a tan
isn't an issue, just whether I'll burn.
sightseeing at Volcano Park and part
of the Crater Drive is blocked off during the day. We took 2-mile hike
along a giant lava flow to a mountain called Hairy Hill. Tim and Miranda
made the hike up to see the view. I couldn't do it because the terrain
was too rough and uneven for my feet (I have hallux rigidus and I cannot
flex my ball joint well). It sucks to have limitations like this when
otherwise you're fine. The only thing worse would be to risk injuring
myself out here in the middle of nowhere.
we went drove along Crater Ridge, and later a field of steam vents that
smelled like sulfur. The last hike of the day was to the bird park called
Kipuka Pualu, a trail that was untouched
by the lava, so there was old growth flora and fauna, such as a type of
pheasant that had a red crown. We saw the male and female of the species,
as well as the chicks. They looked like chickens, really. We saw giant
hollow koa tree, and then we returned to the car. Tim and Miranda thought
about coming back to the park to see the live lava flow at night.
back to the lodge around 5:30; we were moved from the 1 bedroom room
we were in last night to a 2BR cottage called Tutu's
Place (it's a charming 2 BR/1BA house a couple of blocks
from the main lodge. For $150/night you get the whole house, with
full kitchen, fireplace, TV/VCR. It's a bargain at that place. It
sleeps 5. What luxury! Thanks Walter (Miranda's father).
went to Thai Thai and ordered
take out, and while that was on order we went to the general store
to get some soda ($2.50 for a 2-liter bottle! good god!), and to
the Lava Rock cafe to pick up desserts. We drove home, and stuffed
ourselves--the food was great, not too spicy. We wanted to get to
the hot tub on the main part of the hotel one more time in the evening.
At this cottage, they give you nice complimentary bathrobes, so
we showered up, loaded in the car and drove off to the hot tub.
It was all to ourselves, so we relaxed among the lush foliage, loosening
all the tight muscles from the long hikes today.
we drove back, we got in out comfy clothes and ate dessert, then
sat in front of the fire; I decided to update the journal.
Day 6, Part
1 - Road trip back to Kona
today, so there won't be a lot of volcano visiting. We are going to have
breakfast at the Lodge, then hit the road to visit some local arts and
crafts shops. The waitress at the Lodge was incredibly incompetent; the
place was nearly empty and we had to wait forever for our tea, coffee
and juice. It was so bad that the other waitress there came over to save
the situation. Apparently the bad waitress is a chronic problem. Tim and
Miranda said the good waitress had to help them out yesterday as well.
and Miranda then went to the Thurston Lava
Tube in the AM after we had breakfast. I stayed back at
the cottage and laid before the fireplace under a quilt - I had way
too much sun yesterday and was dealing with resulting chills. They
came back about a 1/2 hour later, looking for flashlights, since it
can get very dark in that tube. The flashlights at the cottage had
weak batteries, so they ended up staying back at the cottage for a
few minutes and then we all headed out.
through Volcano Park and went to the Volcano Inn, an historic hotel perched
on the edge of a crater. Tim and Miranda thought that they might be able
to access a spot from there called Broken Road, where the State attempted
to build a road nead the crater and it collapsed. They didn't find an
access point though.
the Volcano Inn is the Volcano Arts Center, a gallery of local art. Interesting
and expensive stuff. We then drove toward Hilo, and reached the downtown
area, which is a quaint collection of older buildings next to the bay.
We stopped for lunch at a place called Cafe Pesto, and had personal pan
pizzas. I had spinach and feta and it was tasty.
we went, continuing north, wrapping around the hillside, trying to
make good time (before 6PM) to reach Kona to the Kailua
Candy Store, where they make homemade chocolate and you
can watch them dip macademia nuts, shortbread, animal crackers and
such into the chocolate. They use only locally produced butter, eggs,
cocoa and other ingredients. Most of their business is done by mail
order. We tasted free samples and I bought a bunch of items for gifts
and had them shipped directly. I cannot eat more than a taste as the
carb load is pretty damn big on these candies.
74-5563 Kaiwi St. (at Kuakini)
800-622-2462, 808-329-8721 (f)
that excursion, we decided to take in the sunset at the Keauhou
Beach below where Miranda's father's house is in Kona. We sat and
watched the big turtles wash
in and out of the shoreline. One came up to beach itself and rested
for the evening. The rule here is you're not supposed to get within
10 feet of the turtles, so we respected that space.
the sun set, we headed up to the house to put our bags in and when
we got in there, we saw a giant flying roach!
also ants on the sofa. Apparently, they had left some food stuff (ripe
bananas and a box of Cheese-Its) laying around in the room during the
3 days we were gone and it drew them in. Out came the Raid. Tim had to
sleep in the main house and we plan to set off a bomb tomorrow AM when
they take me to the airport.
7, Part 1 - Moving on to Oahu
out of Kona to Honolulu is at 8:55 AM (and is about an hour in the air),
but I need to be at the airport at 7 AM in order to get through security.
me off around 7:15, and there wasn't much of a line. However, the security
was tight. The Kona airport has one of those new InVision scanning machines.
I had to roll my checked bag to it and put it on the belt. This procedure
took about 5-10 minutes, but it was empty here, so I could imagine lots
of problems at a busy time. I ten went through regular security and had
to be wanded; my toiletry bag got bomb-residue-swabbed again. As I went
to the gate, it looks like there will be another check before boarding.
At this gate, it's outdoors (as is the waiting area), and you board on
flight was about 35 minutes. I had to sit next to a child that would
just not sit still. Even so, I managed to sleep through most of
the flight because I was so tired.
greeted me with a beautiful lei and we went to her new 2-door Toyota
coupe and we drove off. We decided to get some lunch so we went
to Kua Aina for a burger, which was in a nearby mall in downtown
by and checked me into the Ohana
Maile Sky Court, which is in Waikiki, but a few blocks from
the beach. It's a nice room, small, but clean and you can open the
windows. I put on some sunscreen and head downstairs since Wanda was
waiting in the car.
We head off
to some sightseeing around the island we go on an excursion to a wonderful
city park in the hills on Nu'uanu Pali Dr
(old Pali Dr.). The cool thing about this park is the view of the city.
The ultimately cool thing was that the old road, used to connect towns
during the last century until the creation of the current parkway, is
still walkable. It's really overgrown with many varieties of plants, including
california grass, gingerflower plants and even banana trees. Wanda and
I walked this old road all the way down till it was practically impassable.
The hike back up the hill was quite steep, but it was a good way to walk
off the burger.
We then went
on the first of several shopping excursions. There was a new Costco downtown,
so I flashed my card and went in to see what they had in there. It was
much like our Costco in NC, though here there were varieties of macademia
nuts that you cannot find, so I loaded up the cart with them. I also found
some cool, kitschy cotton car seat covers with aloha prints that I will
put in my Focus wagon. I checked out the salmon prices, since my local
Costco usually sells it at $3.99/lb. Here it was $5.79/lb! Generally the
prices were about the same.
was Hilo Hattie’s, where they sell lots of aloha shirts and muu-muus.
I didn't find anything there that I liked, so we then headed to Wal-Mart.
Indeed, there were many nice things there, but none fit right, so I was
frustrated at that turn.
took a break to get some ice cream at Bubbie’s and then continued
our shopping. We stopped at the University
of Hawaii Press offices to drop off all my purchases
for mailing back to the mainland. Their offices are quite different.
Each department is in a separate, 1940s building. No central air,
just window units. The rooms are open with big cubicles formed by
dividers and furniture. Wanda showed me her server room. She is
a big fan of Novell Netware 6 for file and print serving. We sat
and talked shop for a while and then headed off for more shopping.
both of us were tired, and around 7PM she dropped me off at the
hotel and went home. I went up and took a bath, relaxed and then
got dressed and went down to explore Waikiki for a bit.
down the main drag of Kuhio. I managed to see some interesting urban action
as cops were swarming around a city park arresting people. I couldn't
see what was going on, really, but it reminded me of being in NY.
at a street vendor and bought a Waikiki t-shirt and got a soda and walked
back to the hotel. I was really tired all of a sudden and realized I needed
I went to
8, Part 1 - Arizona Memorial
7AM: I slept
well. I got up and knew I had to get myself together by 8AM, when Wanda
would call. We are going to Pearl Harbor, to the Arizona
I got dressed
and went downstairs, got something to drink and headed up to the room
again. Wanda called my cell and I put on some sunscreen and headed downstairs.
The weather was pleasant, but the sun is intense.
At the memorial,
the parking lot had a prominent sign that said "This is a high crime
area. Do not leave important items in your car." Not only that, you
cannot take a purse, fanny pack or anything in there with you. So I slipped
my money and my Palm Pilot in my shirt. You have to take a number for
the shuttle boat that takes you to the memorial, and you wait in this
lovely open building where you can sit outside, looking at the harbor,
or stay inside and look at the various historical exhibits about December
7, 1941. We were trip #12, and they were on group 7. Around the time when
group 8 was called, they announced that one of the two boats was out of
commission, and that our trip won't occur till 11 AM (90 minutes). Wanda
and I gabbed, and walk around the grounds, so the time passed quickly.
turn comes, we are eventually shepherded to a theatre where we watched
a film about the history of the memorial, and then we got on the shuttle
ride to the Arizona.
turret No. 3, stern
of smokestack, Gun turret#2, bow
what you think about war or the military, it's a moving experience to
think of all the lost souls on board below you, never recovered from the
Arizona. Oil from the hull still rises to the surface as droplets, dispersing
on the bay water. The memorial itself is built on top of the wreckage,
so you can look out the window and see the ship below. There is an observation
port at one end of the memorial, and a list of those that perished on
was pretty hot when we returned, and both of us were hungry. Wanda
took me to a Korean BBQ place, Yummy's.
I tried the special plate, that has 2 scoops of rice, spicey grilled
BBQ pork, chicken and beef and a choice of 4 veggies. I chose seaweed,
long rice noodles and cabbage, and hot cucumbers and watercress.
It was all very tasty, though I left most of the rice to avoid carb
lunch: this is the equivalent of a Philly Cheesesteak or
a BBQ sandwich; a local well-known foodstuff. A plate lunch is 2
scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni/potato salad and a meat (hamburger
steak, korean beef, pork or katsu chicken) You find this everywhere,
even in McDonalds, BK and other fast food places! Too many carbs
for me; I don't know how people can eat it.
then headed over to T&L Muu-Muu factory on Kapiolani Blvd. I
tried on several styles and actually found one I like. Of course,
people around here wear these to work and such, but I'm sure I'll
look the fool when I wear mine to work, lol.
was a day of shopping. Wanda drove me all over to various outlets
and malls and it was a lot of fun. Honolulu is so interesting, and
people watching is fascinating. A couple of notable observations:
here are colorful: in every sense of the word. The amount of ethnic
diversity here is amazing and refreshing. There are so many people of
all colors -- Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Polynesian, Filipino, Hawaiian,
etc, many intermixed. You don't see many African Americans or Caucasians
here as you do in, say, NYC. You see more of the pale persuasion in Waikiki,
but most of those folks are obviously tourists, since they dress like
visitors in loud aloha clothing.
here are bigger: I don't feel particularly large here, lol. Many
people here are if not overweight, are simply ROUND. Many are also large
overall. The Samoans here are huge. The guys look like they could crush
you in their hands. Wanda said that the people I see in Waikiki are generally
more slender, but that out in the "country", almost everyone
is rounder than the average person on the mainland.
other oddity is that people find my locs
fascinating -- apparently this hairstyle is very uncommon here.
I mean people just ask me about my hair, how it gets that way, "it's
so cool," etc. None of the few black people I've seen here
wear this style, it's either worn chemically straightened or in
braids, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the reaction, lol.
my friend Denise in NC to confirm that she or Kelly or both of them
could pick me up at the airport.
8, Part 2 - More malls
I continued our mall quest (Ala Moana Mall, Pearlridge Center), but I
was actually at a second Wal-mart when I saw this girl wearing short overalls
made of an aloha print fabric. I wanted those. Unfortunately you cannot
find them easily. Wanda learned that they are sold at swap meets (local
flea markets). Those are on Wed, Sat and Sun., so I won't be here to get
them. It means that I WILL HAVE TO COME BACK next year, lol.
we had dinner at the Cannery. I had a steak and Mahi Mahi. It was tasty.
We chatted a good long while and went driving through town sightseeing
and ended up at Baskin and Robbins for a cone, then she dropped me off
at the hotel. I came up and was pretty tired.
diversion: on the local news here there was mention of The
Rock (Dwayne Johnson), the wrestler with the WWF/WWE,
was in Oahu last week. Apparently he has connections to the area
(he's half Samoan), and Wanda said his appearance was a BIG deal
here, with WWE tix going for $90. He is also supposed to star in
a movie on the life of King Kamehameha. A
bigger deal to me was news the Bruce Willis
is on the island (and was at The Rock's show). Bruce is filming
some flick here and during off-hours he can be found at various
clubs working the turntables and singing.
Bruce Willis -- I'm not sure why, lol; I've been a fan since Moonlighting,
but it goes even back to an early Miami Vice episode where he turned
in an excellent performance as a violent heel. And it goes without
saying that his portrayal in The Sixth Sense was fantastic; I saw
it 4X (he and the amazing Haley Joel Osment
had incredible chemistry). I don't know how on earth he often gets
pegged as the action hero type -- the Die Hard series, particularly
the first one, was excellent and his acting style and presence is
what helped make those films succeed as they did.
A lot of
Bruce's work before and since has set him apart from one-note action stars.
Anyway, it would be cool just to see him while here, but it's obviously
not likely to happen.
the log and went to bed.
9, Part 1 - Last Day
I have to
check out today, but since my flight is so late (10:40 PM) I need to check
to see if I have late check out available. I also have to get the extra
key from Wanda to turn in. She plans to pick me up and go to her Press
to meet everyone, and then mail my package back home from there. I am
supposed to go out to lunch with her friends for Japanese food. I will
try to get in a little more sightseeing and shopping before heading out.
I need to get to the airport around 8:30 PM.
I get up and shower and wash my hair and pack up.
Meet Wanda and we drive over to the State
Supreme Court Building. It has a large statue of King
Kamahameha I in front of it and then we saw the Iolani
Palace, the only royal palace in the U.S.
then went to Chinatown, which is incredibly clean compared to NYC
Chinatown. I didn't find a muumuu there.
we went to the University of Hawaii Press,
where I met 2 Cindy, Elyse, Lucy (and her killer chihuahua Pepper)
and Santos. We went to the girls' weigh-in at Curves women-only
exercise place. Went to Long's Drug Store and picked up honey roasted
was at Asia Manoa, and we ate family style and talked shop. Went
back to the Press and I met Joel and several other Press people
(Carol, Steph -- in their marketing department, and Ann from Acquisitions/Editorial)
before packed up all my booty from shopping and we went to the P.O.
and mailed it. $30.
in my hotel and walked to Waikiki to continue the muumuu hunt. We took
a detour, getting lost looking for the muumuu factory, and ended up in
the Duty Free Shop Galleria and I took the plunge and got in this machine
called the Aqua Marine Massage, which
is a George Foreman grill-like/suntan bed that you lie in and a plastic
sheath lays on top of you and you are pummeled with water pressure going
up and down your body. It was weird but wonderful and cost $10 for 5 minutes,
but she let she let me stay in there longer, closer to 10. I want to take
the International Marketplace, where I found one more muumuu. This was
the place to haggle for shoppers. Then we walked back to the hotel, Wanda
got to take a look at the view, and we checked out. Got a big discount
on the parking and room because of the Kama'aina (local/islander) rate.
Kaka'ako Park, which is near the waterfront, and saw wild kitties, surfers
and a bit of Diamond Head.
Aloha Tower, which used to be the tallest
building on Oahu, and was actually painted in camouflage to avoid being
bombed during WWII. It's also full of shops that you cannot afford to
buy anything in. We decided to eat at Don Ho's Island Grille, How hokey
can you get on your last night in Waikiki? Wanda
took my pic in front of the tiki idol in front.
In the spirit
of shop til you drop, we went to Ala Moana mall once more to check out
that Hilo Hattie’s. No luck on muumuus. We had ice cream at Dave's in
the basement of Sears – it’s locally made (and good) stuff. Last stop
was a scuzzy KMart on the way to the airport. I got A fake flower for
my hair so that when I return to work and wear my muumuu while doling
out macademia nuts that I will look authentic, lol. Wanda made me promise
to send a pic of me serving in my getup.
me off at the terminal, 2 hrs early. It took me about an hour to clear
the agricultural inspection (you cannot bring produce or plants to the
mainland) and security. That green carryon got pulled again. I had two
leis in there, but that was ok, seems it was my hair dryer that was causing
concern. They emptied all of the contents out on the table. Nothing like
having tampons and pads laid out for all to see, but these are the times
we are living in. Most of my stuff was in clear Ziploc bags, but she opened
them all anyway.
9, Part 2 - On the way home
the log as I sat in the HNL terminal gate 18, waiting to board at 10:04
- Honolulu to San Jose
AA FLT 58
a 757, with a 3-3 seat config. I have a window seat. It's a packed flight,
and they offered $300 and hotel for a night to stay over, but I didn't
find this out until I landed.
I slept through
this flight, only waking briefly for a drink. It was about 4.5 hrs. The
movie they showed was The
Time Machine. They served some kind of meal, but I slept so hard
I missed seeing what it was. I wasn't hungry anyway. There were a lot
of screaming kids on this flight, but they were thankfully not immediately
next to me, in front of me or behind me.
10, Part 1 - Still on the way home
- San Jose to Dallas/Ft. Worth
AA FLT 2448
here, either. I slept again. They had you pick up a "bistro bag"
as you boarded -- your breakfast. Inside: Box of Wheaties, lo-fat milk,
bag of raisins, a crappy-looking "bagel" and no-name cream cheese.
I only ate the cereal.
airport is huge and spread out. You have to take the AAtrain from one
terminal to another. I have only about a half hour before boarding, so
I scoot to the train to get from A terminal to C21.
- DFW to RDU
AA FLT 312
I had seat
17E, and feared this was a middle seat. If it isn't a 757, then it's a
window. Nope. It's a Super 80 jet, 2-3, config, I'm in the middle. I'm
just going to sleep on this one too. American Airline's seats either must
be wider or I'm smaller, because the middle seat isn't as bad as I've
experienced before. I had a drink and a small bag of Chex-like mix. I
couldn't sleep, since the ride was a bit bumpy.
pleasantly surprised when Denise, Kelly
AND Kristen showed up at the airport to pick me up. They
whisked me home, where they witnessed my horror at all the dog hair
(yeah, I expected it) all over my house from 9 days without a vacuum.
We then had a fun dinner at Cattleman’s, but not before Kristen’s
ATM card was swallowed by the First Citizen’s Bank ATM. So weird.
I came home and began unpacking, sorting mail, doing laundry, and
the dreaded vacuuming. It’s good to be home. I am looking forward
to getting the film developed and then creating the web site that
you can now see here!