Tuesday, March 19, 2013



I have a day and a bit to catch up. I forgot how tired I get when I go out every day. Yesterday would have been a good day to stay in and NOT get in the car. Instead we pushed ourselves and more about that later because I'm going to try and keep this is chronological order.
  I left off writing on Sunday when we were about to go to check out the local Farmer's Market. We drove to the little town of Pahoa, parked in the street and walked only to discover there was an adequate parking area at the Market place. It was a small market and I've seen it described as a Flea Market. There were 4 or 5 fresh produce stalls and some of the others had eggs as well. There were used clothes, beads, other jewellery, and some local crafts. There were only 2 stalls selling food that I remember and nothing we wanted right then although one advertised omelets. We spent $21 on fruit and veggies which was reasonable. 1 doz eggs, packet fresh green beans, red pepper, a large, purple, round and smooth skinned avocado, tomatoes, bananas, potatoes, white onions,  a type of lychee but with brown skin rather than pink and mountain apples or ohi'a'ai.

Our shopping bag was heavy so John went back to get the car while I had a good nosey around the remaining stalls. Once we were satisfied we had bought all we were interested in we wandered down the street and bought some water and icecreams which we ate sitting in the car. We were approached by a man with a clip board who wanted to know why we were parked in that area when we had been shopping elsewhere. There are a few odd moments when local language, as spoken by native Hawaiians, and our English cause misunderstandings. The man was quite happy once John said we had bought fruit and veggies in the market.

We then decided to check out the local scenic points and familiarise ourselves with the area some more. We drove back by the hot pool and took a good look to see whether there were changing rooms and toilets. Hmmm! Portable loos only.

Then we took the road that ends because the 1990 volcano took it out. At the end of the road, at Kalapana is a walk out to the sea on the lava rock to what was once a fine black sand beach.
There are new plantings of coconut palms and a few other adventurous plants beginning to establish. In the distance we could see steam rising from the sea where the lava is currently flowing. We stopped at the cafe at the end of the road and ate the most delicious fish and chips I have ever tasted. For once we turned our backs on staying wheat free. The fish was Ono a type of shark which is very popular here. The chips were called waffle chips and were like thin chips layered in a lattice and held together somehow to fry them. It must have been some fancy cutter. Lots of crispiness contrasting with flouriness.
This 1990 lava flow is part of the current Kilauea volcanic eruption. The following is quoted from Hawaii The Big Island Revealed by Andrew Doughty. "A rolling sea of hardened lava stretches in front of you. This particular flow occurred in 1990, annihilating the towns of Kalapana, Kaimu and the Royal Gardens subdivision beyond." (An extensive area of devastation)." Kalapana was a treasured Hawaiian fishing village, richly steeped in the traditions of the past. It's loss was a stunning blow to those wishing to keep the old ways alive."

We followed the road back the way we came. There were lots of side roads to ???? homes, orchards small blocks, developments? I don't know but people live there in the low-land  island jungle.
We found the Lava Tree State Park this time and went in for a pleasant stroll. A volcanic eruption 223 years ago left a legacy which is best seen here. The hot, fast flowing lava met the wet ohi'a trees and solidified leaving tall statues, up to 7 metres or 20 feet, which have since become hollow and are called lava tubes. The lava flowed on leaving a thick coating on the trees. When you can look inside these rocks you can see the bark pattern of the original tree. The vegetation has made good recovery but we were warned not to wander off the paths, ( I did), because the ground under the lava layer is often tunnelled due to the original trees or whatever was there rotting away leaving a hollow shell.
The light was fading as we returned to the car and took the now familiar road home. We had eggs for tea. I made a kind of salad using boiled eggs, finely chopped green beans for crunch, onion and Greek yoghurt. We ate it with rice crackers and have more to carry with us for lunch tomorrow.

Monday we awoke to sunshine as we have again today. It seemed like a good day to go to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. First I had washing to do and I had stayed up very late the night before so not enough sleep and I was very slow to get going. Too much coffee!!! We had a car cam movie to look at and see if we could download onto my computer then onto a portable hard-drive. Finally I was ready and we jumped in the car. A little way down the road I realised I'd not picked up the camera. U-Turn!!

We looked at the fuel gauge and decided to fill the car. USD33.00 for 7.6 gals. That's almost 29 litres. This is supposed to be the cheapest fuel on the island and roughly half what we pay in New Zealand so the ratio has remained the same as when we first travelled in US 8 years ago

It was now after mid-day. So much for an early start.

We found the botanic gardens without too many detours and paid our $30, $15 pp. To get there we drove the Old Mamalahoa Highway, single lane each way, twisty road, with double yellow lines. It is a scenic route. Thankfully we decided to change from jandals to sneakers because some of the paths were steep and there were deep steps in a few places. Nevertheless the paths were easy walking and disabled people could arrange for a golf buggy to bypass the steepest track and after that there were only a few short side paths to avoid. One section followed the rocky shoreline. I enjoyed sitting on one of the many strategically placed benches enjoying the view and atmosphere. The day was slightly overcast and the temperature around 75'F (24'C) so quite comfortable for us.
The flowers and foliage were amazing. We paused at the parrot house or aviary to watch half a dozen or so large colourful parrots. There were lots of great photo opportunities and my camera died about 15 minutes in. Grrrr! Another lesson learned. Keep the battery charged. We will also leave our second camera in the car at all times only bringing it in to download photos and charge the batteries.

Perhaps we have a thing about gardens, flowers and cameras. John reminded me we left our camera behind when we went to our very first Ellerslie Flower Show, back when they were still being held in Auckland Botanic Gardens.

The walk around the Hawaiian Tropical Garden is only 1.25 miles or 2 km. We wandered through an orchid garden, were stunned by The Anthurium corner with colours and combinations I could never have dreamed of being real. The Heliconias which are shaped a little like bird of paradise flowers with beaks also came in colours and varieties that took my breath away. We saw a red flower which could have been mistaken for the large pom-poms the Hula girls waved at our departure reception. We both remarked on how indigenous art revolves around what nature produces and Hawaii has an incredible abundance of shapes, design and colour. We also saw an animal family which triggered our curiosity but not a good photo shot even if my camera had been working. The man guarding the entrance said they would be mongoose, a pest here.

I was very tired at the end of our walk although it wasn't strenuous. I think my cold, a poor sleep and a headache, (maybe coffee withdrawal), caught up with me. We drove back to Hilo and set the GPS to find a mall. Again there were a few detours and cranky words. We finally parked near a Longs Drug store and I was able to buy a few essentials like tissues and nail polish remover. The last time I had my nails polished, less than a week ago in Christchurch, the polish began to chip and peel within 2 days. It looked so nice but not worth paying for. This morning John is studying the information books and we were in the largest plaza and could have found our dinner there and had a good look around. Instead we decided we should go to Kaleo's again in Pahoa. And we still have not found anywhere to buy fresh meat.

Going to Kaleo's wasn't a bad decision just costly. John had a peppered sirloin steak and it was the best steak I have ever seen. John likes his steak very tender because he has trouble chewing, especially tough meat. I reckon his top plate, which is a partial, is a poor fit. I had fish again. What is it with me and Hawaii? This is my 4th fish meal in 5 days. It was sautéed ono with caper sauce, fresh vegetables and rice. I barely ate half so the rest is in the fridge for lunch or dinner. Funnily enough we both decided we had room for dessert. We chose Liliko'i cheesecake which is apparently a house speciality. Liliko'i is the purple passion-fruit we are familiar with and they have their own vines around the restaurant. The cheesecake was delicious, light, fluffy and fragrant. It was thoroughly worth it even if they had removed all the seeds. My only complaint is the use of artificial, some kind of sweet, white stuff piped on instead of real cream. But that's America. They use this stuff on all their pies. It's not that it tastes bad just that real food is better.

It was completely dark when we arrived home and I fell into bed without another thought. I woke this morning about 6 am and we have chosen to have a stay at home day although I think we will go out to the hot pool later. That's the written part now to go and find my photos and sort through them.


  1. Oh, I'm sooo enjoying the photos and your wonderfully descriptive narrative. You are making it come alive!

    I know of artists who specialize in Hawaiian art for their whole artistic careers. I would wonder if they ever got bored. But these photos show such gorgeous scenery, flowers and variety. I suppose the answer to that is a resounding NO!

    A mountain apple... never heard of it before. Even their food is unique. :-)

  2. Loving your posts, and just reading about your day tired me out lol

  3. Oh, such a good post!! You went to ALL the places we did!! the market in Pahoa, the Lava Tree Forest, the hot pools, the trail out thru the lava to the beach and black sand beach... the Botanical Gardens!!! All great places!!! Bet you are even staying in about the same place we were in too! Loved all the fresh fruit. Looks like you are having a great, if not tiring time :) It is just nice, tropical..warm so, so different from home.... A Paradise

  4. I would have been exhausted too. I can't decide which is prettier - the pics of those beautiful flowers or those great looking veggies!

  5. Glad the sun came out for your visit to the gardens. Great pictures. Enjoy the fish while you are there - it's always fresh, for sure.

  6. The fruits! The flowers! The falls! (And, yes, the fish!) Ahhhh! I am so enjoying your visit!


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