Howdy from Hawaii

This week, while visiting the family in Michigan for the holidays, B.H. and I went to Hawaii with friends.  It seems weird to be taking a trip within a trip, but that’s how the vacation crumbles.  The best thing is that my dog, Koko, is in seventh heaven with my sisters and their dog.  I’m pretty sure we won’t even get sad dog eyes when we return!

We’re staying near Kona, but have been driving all over the big island, bad colds not withstanding.  Yes, there were lots of people coughing on our flight over and it was certainly communicable!  I guess if you’re going to be sick, well, wouldn’t you rather be sick in paradise?

We went to the Hilo Farmers’ Market on Saturday.  The nice folks we are with made sure I had a little thrift time, and I even ducked into a vintage shop.

Thrift stores have some items that are constants:

Have we not seen little plastic dolls in crochet dresses nearly everywhere we’ve been?  She certainly is a duck-lipped version, but pretty easily recognizable.  I just had to laugh when I saw her with her Mae West confidence that she is the sexiest thing in the thrift shop.  You know what—she is.

Now this isn’t something you see at Colorado thrifts:

A lei display!  We will see one or two leis from time to time, mostly the ones made from individual silk flowers strung on cord.  This has a variety that you just don’t see on the mainland.  There were a lot of Asian-styled art and pottery in the store.  That seems to make sense given the population diversity here.  We saw signs written in Katakana with no English subtitles, so the Japanese-speaking population is significant.

I didn’t take a ton of pictures in the vintage store, but these wooden dolls caught my eye:


I have a number of these Japanese kokeshi dolls.  They have been made for a couple of hundred years in Japan, varying with the region.  Since WWII they have been popular with American tourists, and that seems to be the major market now.  They are very stylized with no arms or legs, just a cylindrical or ovoid body painted to simulate clothing.  It makes sense, that there would be a fair number of these dolls in Hawaii.  I was just looking at Etsy, and the vintage ones, in good condition, can be quite valuable.

We did go out to see the new black sand beach that appeared with the last eruption of Kilauea, which caused so much destruction, along with a bit of creation.  The beach is named Isaac Hale, and the latest lava flow changed the terrain quite a bit, but also enlarged it.  We went to the newest part:


The picture on the left shows the huge lava flow that went into the ocean and the blunt end gives the beach a little protection.  The rightmost picture looks northwest to the other end of the lava flow.  The waves were spectacular, as there was some high wind/wave warnings, along with the tricky current which is natural to this beach.  It was really interesting to walk along the beach and see the evolution of the sand:

As we walked onto the beach, the rocks were big, like a good-sized tomato with some like cantaloupes.  Walking along, the size changed to pea gravel, and then smaller, but still pretty coarse.  The beach is made of aa (ah-ah) lava and which is brittle and breaks up under compression from the water and human activity.  Walking towards the center of the beach, the lava started looking like this for large areas:

Which looks like sand to me.  I had my shoes on, so I didn’t test out the toe-appeal.  I think it still might feel a little coarse to the tender bottoms of feet, but much better than the larger stuff.  There are lots of footprints here so you can get an idea of the consistency.

The red arrow points to the lava flow that cut off this road:

It was about two cars tall more or less.  Our friend’s cousin who has lived on the island for about 40 years warned against climbing on this new flow.  She said that it’s almost like glass if you touch it, and you can even get slivers from it.  I appreciated the warning, because I had thought about getting up there to get a look at the flow—no thanks!

The road to the beach was pretty hairy in places, because it had to be dug out from this:

This picture isn’t totally clear, but it’s looking back towards Kilauea and you can see the path the lava made.  It was miles and miles of black, rocky terrain that covered everything in its path.  There were some really cool shaped rocks that happened where the lava met the ocean and abruptly cooled.  I just couldn’t get pictures with nowhere to pull over and the cars behind us.

We asked locals, and the people with the homes buried under the lava still own the land.  They can break up the lava and rebuild, or smooth it, if it’s the right kind of lava, and build on top.  I myself would be wary of building anything too elaborate on top of a recent lava flow, but then I’m afraid of earthquakes, too.

We stopped at a gas station and while looking at snacks, saw this:

There has to be a better name than “Wet Lemon”, don’t you think?  Then if you look at the ingredients, aspartame, sugar, Saccharine, honey, all I can think is that these are the sweetest lemons in existence!  We did not buy them; why let data ruin all of our theories?

Coming back from Hilo to Kona, we missed the sunset, but got this color show afterward:

Sorry about the traffic lights, but the sky and clouds were just so exotic looking to our high-plains desert eyes.  The view from the patio of our very basic but expensive condo is also a winner:

It’s right on the ocean so we’ve seen humpback whales, dolphins/porpoises, some sort of silvery big fish, like a swordfish, jumping out of the water, and lots of kayakers, outriggers, and snorklers in the water.  It’s a great way to jump start the day with a nice cup of coffee.  No, I don’t have any pictures of the oceanic wildlife; I see it and then grab the camera, but I do have a fun pic of slower land-based animals:

These small lizards were on the palms outside our condo.  I love that they each have their own trunk to laze on.  Hopefully, they’re being helpful and eating some bugs.

The flowers are also divine right now:


I’m especially fond of hibiscus, since I have a giant tree in my house, so I tend to notice them.  In the land of giant houseplants, what B.H. calls Hawaii, I could do a whole post on flowers, but then I would have to figure out all of their names!

Lastly, we have lots of bird friends while eating breakfast on the patio:

This little songbird is called a red headed cardinal, and they aren’t related to cardinals on the mainland.  There is another lovely yellow bird, that is much shyer, that flies away whenever I get my phone ready for a picture.

Well, be thankful that I didn’t inflict all of my pictures on you.  I tend to take way more pictures now that there isn’t film involved.  Oh, look at that pretty cloud/flower/sunset, let’s take a million pictures and hopefully get a good one.

Aloha from the big island.  We’ll be back to our regular content next week.

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6 Responses to Howdy from Hawaii

  1. OSS says:

    AhhhhhhhhAhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…(chuckle) makes me so homesick. We almost bought a house on the big island a decade ago. Glad we didn’t as the area we were looking at would have been under the lava flow. Yikes! We’ll be in the islands this year for our family’s reunion. SO looking forward to it! Thanks for sharing! – Dawn

    • kathy & deb says:

      Glad you didn’t end up under all that lava; places we stayed in before are now gone! The big island is my favorite island; there is so much going on! Have fun on your trip–it sounds wonderful!

  2. romitazz says:

    Beautiful Pics of Hawaii – looks like an amazing place you are staying at. We might have to talk about where you stayed 🙂

    • kathy & deb says:

      It was pretty nice on the south side of Kona, a little out of town. There was a golf course (we don’t golf), a tennis court (nope no tennis either), a couple of nice pools, and ocean front patios. Plus, a public beach within walking distance. Just email me and I’ll give you some more particulars.

  3. Sandra Magle says:

    Looks like a fabulous Trip!

    • kathy & deb says:

      It was a lot of fun. I did want to see the new lava flows, plus Hilo has some nice vintage shops and thrift stores. Something for everyone. 😉

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