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Portland, Oregon
 
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Terry & Dave Taylor

A Big Week on the Big Island

The three of us have arrived in Hawaii, to a beautiful hotel – the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel – and view. Yesterday, we checked in and just enjoyed the view from our balcony, unpacked and relaxed. Lisa took a nap while her Dad and I explored the hotel property a little and enjoyed a cocktail. I tried a Mauna Kea No’i – the Hotel’s signature drink… it had light and dark rum and lots of fruity stuff – plus a pineapple wedge, cherry, lime wedge, umbrella, stir-stick, straw and an orchid. It was a very crowded drink.

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
The view from our room

We dressed for dinner and took the shuttle to the sister-hotel next door, the Prince Hotel, to dine at The Hakone Japanese Restaurant. It was a major food fest, with a buffet heaped with Japanese delicacies and sushi. Lisa and DT grazed their way through too much food. They are now working-out at the fantastic health club in the hotel.)

This morning, due to the 3-hour time difference, DT and I woke early and went down to the beach for a walk, while the Princess slept. We took a cup of coffee from the bar set-up near the beach and went down to a patio built into the lava flow and watched colorful fish swim around the rocks. The water is warm, clear and a brilliant blue! Can’t wait to go for a swim. Today we are going to stay near the hotel and not venture out until this afternoon. I am using my cell phone to update my website – no roaming; no long-distance… modern technology has reached the islands.

We were like Mad Dogs and Englishmen today – out in the noon-day sun. I rented a boogie-board and used it to float around the rocks and corals in the little cove here at the hotel. I used a mask to view all the little fish – I was really surprised at the number and variety of colorful (and exotic to me) fish in Hawaii’s waters. Though, as we always have to say: “It’s no Great Barrier Reef…” - the fish/corals are much nicer here than on Molokini, where we snorkeled on our last visit to the Islands. Later, Dave took over the mask and float-board and paddled along the rocks to watch the undersea world go by. We stayed on the beach for about an hour, and then moved up to the pool, in the shade. Now we are all showering and getting ready to explore a bit.

Later, we took a drive to the north tip of Hawaii. It is only about 20 miles to the northern-most part of the island, but the change in landscape is drastic. It changes from lava flow, to lush and tropical – banana trees, small streams, and dense foliage. Beautiful! We stopped at a county park at Upolu Point and watched surfers ‘catching waves’. They were not catching very many waves though, and if they did, the wave threw them on the rocks. In my view: not a safe place to surf… but what do I know? We drove to the actual “end of the road” at Kauhola, where I snapped this photo of the sea meeting the cliffs.

Kauhola Point
Kauhola Point

As you can see, the steamy fog was also rolling in – we actually had to use the wipers on the rental car (Ford Explorer). There were several cars of hikers, getting ready to depart to the beach and cliff below. Dave and I had just recently watched a program on television where hikers were testing different types of rain gear at this very site! The area is full of beautiful waterfalls too. One thing about a dead-end road – you just have to turn around and retrace your tracks. We were getting hungry and stopped in Hawi Town at a great restaurant for dinner. We found a fun place, Bamboo, and sat down to a lovely meal. Bamboo has only been a restaurant for about 10 years, but the building is very old, as it began as a hotel at the turn of the century for sugar cane plantation laborers from Japan. Bamboo is over-decorated in that “let’s put anything Hawaiian we can find on the walls”-style. They had live Hawaiian folk music and a great menu. Dave was overly over-joyed that oono was being served tonight and had seared oono in a spicy sauce as an appetizer and grilled oono in a ginger sauce for dinner! Lisa had their signature dish – chicken satay potstickers, for an appetizer. The dumplings are made with ground chicken in a peanut (satay) sauce, steamed in a potsticker wrapper. They were served with a very sweet and HOT Thai sauce. For dinner, Lisa had chicken teriyaki and rice. I had Bamboo’s signature drink – a Passion fruit Margarita. It was divine, served in a coconut shell, of course! I had a vegetarian Hawaiian-style Caesar Salad, with “special island greens” (we call it lettuce) and macadamia nuts. For dinner I had fried noodles. It was a fun evening, especially as the musicians were very good, the waitresses were very friendly and the place was hopping with locals.

 
 
 

We listened to a strange radio station on the way back to the hotel. Old familiar songs, but “re-written” with lyrics promoting Hawaiian sovereignty. Watch out, Mainlanders – revolution is brewing (to the tune of “Ghetto Superstar”) and succession can’t be far behind. Give me Poi, or give me Death?

Back at the hotel, we tried to find a bar for a drink, but the main bar was closed (9 p.m.?) and the bar at the formal restaurant was completely empty. Dave and I walked down to the rocks to watch the Manta Rays swim under the lights below the patio. A woman on the path told us she and her husband had been coming to this hotel for 30 years and have seen the rays every year. They are black and white, with white underbellies. My P.O.S. digital camera would NOT take a photo of the rays though, as hard as Dave and I tried, (too dark!) so I cannot show you all! Sorry, sorry, sorry. They are strange looking creatures, swimming about with their mouths wide open! So, back to the lanai outside our room to gaze at the moon, apply more after-sun creme and enjoy everyone being together.

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