Sunday, March 31, 2013



Pomokai Road,
Hawaii Island,

John has this minute told me that 50 years ago we were joined in Holy Matrimony.

That's by the calendar date and time

As I write the calendar for Hawaii says Saturday, 30th March 2013, 4.50 pm.

If we want to be pedantic the 50 year anniversary was yesterday, two hours earlier. We were married on a Saturday, (the weekend before Easter), 30th March, 1963, The 45 minute service began at 3.30 pm if I remember correctly. We had photographs taken in a nearby studio which was very basic. I've always preferred the garden photos taken at home before we left for the church but, of course, John is not in them. My sister was the bridesmaid, and my two of young cousins were flowergirls. The very youngest cousin gave me a decorated horseshoe. John's brother was bestman. In those days I was still very conventional and tried to have the perfect wedding without busting my parents bank account. Our reception for around 80 guests was in the town hall, a very modest country hall by today's standards. We had a full sit down meal out of respect for people who had travelled a distance and the fact that it coincided with most people's evening meal time. Following the reception we trailed out to my parents farm. I had been living with them for the past year or more. I left the house earlier that day a single woman and returned married, more than ready for a new life.

We left our partying friends and relatives about 9 pm and travelled to Taupo, over 2 hours away, where we were woken the next morning by a major call out fire alarm. The Fire Station was almost next door to the Motel. We had a quiet day before travelling to Wellington, crossing Cook Strait on the night ferry to Lyttleton, (I was sea sick), and continuing to drive to Queenstown where we stayed for two weeks.
Back 50 years ago it probably took us 8 hours to drive form Taupo to Wellington in our little 1952 Ford Prefect. The ferry crossing took all night. We left Wellington 7 pm and arrived Lyttleton 7am. Our car was lifted on board in a sling and stored in a hold. We had breakfast on board and drove over the Port Hills to Christchurch. Now there is a tunnel. Our drive to Queenstown was another 8 or more likely 9 hour journey.

Here we are 50 years later still indulging our love for travel. I guess that's totally appropriate.

This morning we went into Hilo on a mission. I wanted to get fresh flower leis for us all to wear at dinner tonight. I thought it would be a nice way of acknowledging the generousity of our hosts and their friends in taking us out to dinner. I spent some time searching the internet and came to the conclusion the Hilo Farmers Market was the place to start. It was pouring down rain here, at Pahoa, but cloudy and fine in Hilo which is only 30 minutes away. We had a good look through the market feeling somewhat overwhelmed by all the shopping opportunities. Oh dear! I do so love the Hawaiian designs. I wanted a necklace and bought some quartz beads. As we went we asked various people if they knew where we would find the booth selling fresh flower leis. Finally a dear Hawaiian lady took us in hand and lead us straight to a place where they were making leis.
Oh Wow! We bought 6 beautiful leis, packed in plastic bags filled with air to protect them, for $38.00. I cannot wait to see Pam and Craig's faces and those of their, (get this), New Zealand friends when we give them their leis tonight.

We chatted with our angel lady and found hers was one of the families that re-located from Kalapana. I asked about her church and if we are up early enough tomorrow I want to go there. We will have to be on the road 9.30 am. Think we can do it? First I need to have the address correct for the driver.

For lunch we chose the BBQ. It seemed the safest option considering it would have fewer spices to upset my tummy. I had the most perfectly cooked steak on a stick, John had pork with rice and we chose some kind of pickled salad which was kind of hot so we left most of it even though it was delicious. We ate listening to live Country and Western band. No coffee just a lemon and lime soda. I feel good so with care in my food choices I will enjoy tonight.


The day has been something special and it will soon be time to shower and enjoy our evening out.

Evening at Kaleo's

John dressed up in his red Aloha shirt and I wore my black skirt with a white top and the silk over-blouse from Hilo Hattie's. I was glad to be able to put my engagement ring back on but not sure how long before I can take it off again. It's very small.
We arrived at Kaleo's Restaurant  and were shown to our table where Pam and Craig, our hosts, and Margaret and Richard, friends of Pam from New Zealand, were waiting for us. The leis were a delight and the staff thanked us too. Not long before we arrived a smelly, unwashed group of hippies had left the restaurant and our fragrant leis changed the atmosphere.

We had the grandest time chatting and took an age to choose our meal simply because we were all too busy talking. It did not help that the menu is 100% delicious and as fast as one of us settled on a dish they would want to change to someone else's choice. Around the table we had a great variety. Fish and chips, perfectly cooked and delicious looking; Haiku salad, (organic greens, assorted veggies, blue cheese, raisins, walnuts, mandarin oranges and citrus dressing), which also looked amazing, for the vegetarian; beef tenderloin, veggies and fries; coconut crusted fish, with lilikoi and pineapple sauce, fresh veggies and wasabi vinaigrette, mild Thai coconut chicken curry and baby beef ribs with Kaleo's BBQ sauce. At least three of us took half their meal home in a box. To finish we shared a couple of large wedges of incredibly delicious lilikoi, (passionfruit), cheesecake. Ours came with a lit candle and the live band played us a love song. This was followed up by one of the staff doing a beautiful graceful hula for us. I wish we had got the hang of the movie thing on the camera sooner but at least we got a some on video but it is a little dark. Pity our voices come across so loud but as I said we are learning and will do better next time.

Margaret asked us if we had seen anyone we knew in the restaurant other than themselves. We had met Margaret and her husband when they visited Pam while she was staying in our house last year. Of course we gave a negative answer. A lady came to our table to congratulate us after the band had honoured us. The Texas couple we kept running into had chosen that night to eat there too. I will never travel again without address cards. It would have been fun to keep in contact and maybe meet them again in Texas when we get there.

One thing last night confirmed to me. We are meant to travel. There will be another trip.


Oh My! How behind I am. I was determined not to let it happen this trip and even had a notebook so I could make quick pen notes if I got too tired to open up my laptop.

Our trip over the Saddle road with coffee at Waimea was last Saturday. There's no way I can remember all the details in between then and now.

Sunday we went again to the local Pahoa Farmers Market. We did not buy very much but I was looking for some green veggies. I ended up with a few things including a bunch of bok choy and a bag of tomatoes. The tomatoes from the market taste like tomatoes should. Other than that it was a day for not doing very much. By 2 am the next day I was feeling really unwell and for the following 30 hours I was either sleeping or in the bathroom. John enjoyed a day without driving. He watched TV and read our book on The Big Island Revealed.

Tuesday I felt well enough to try a drive to the Volcano Park for another visit. We had missed out on the walk to and through the lava tube and I had worked out that the best Orchid Garden to visit was up that way.
The Orchid Garden was a pleasure to walk around. They specialise in Cattleyas which have large showy flowers which are sometimes fragrant. I would have loved to have bought a few that were packed for transport with agricultural approval for mainland states but they would never have got through customs in New Zealand. There was an excellent gift shop and I couldn't resist buying some of their lovely souvenirs. I did find it difficult in the warmth and humidity which was necessary for the plants but not so good for my still fragile state.

We found our way to Volcano Village which is off the main road. We'd heard there are lots of Galleries and you could spend a day there. First we needed lunch and stopped by the Visitor Centre where there was a grocer and a Thai Restaurant. We only ordered one meal and I picked a little off the side of John's dish and sipped cold water. The people were friendly and I took a few photos. This restaurant was beautifully decorated in contrast to what seems to us, the careless, almost tatty insides of most places we've been in. One thing I can say for certain is there is the America we see on TV and the real America. I often come home thinking we try too hard to look like the America we see on TV rather than simply be ourselves.

We visited one Gallery and garden where we talked to the goat with dire warnings to be careful because he gets stroppy. The buddhist influence is strong around here and maybe all Hawaii. Many gardens display various types of Japanese statues.

We needed to continue to the park before the afternoon got any older. It was a short drive to the entrance where we were waved through after showing our ticket from the visit a few days earlier. We walked half a mile from the car park to the lava tube trail. The Thurston lava tube trail was quite steep with steps going down at the beginning followed by a short climb then the rest was easy.

We took our time chatting with a family from Florida with three little girls. There were several tour buses full of people but we let the groups pass us and so kept away from the crowds and had quiet moments in the forest.
 I love walking through forest and this was beautiful with frequent bird songs along the way. We even met a bird which looked like a fancy domestic hen and was about as wild too.

From Wikipedia. Lava tubes are natural conduits through which lava travels beneath the surface of a lava flow, expelled by a volcano during an eruption. They can be actively draining lava from a source, or can be extinct, meaning the lava flow has ceased and the rock has cooled and left a long, cave-like channel.

I was very pleased by how well I managed the walk since I had gut pains most of the day. Still not very hungry I ate a small banana and yoghurt for tea and was in bed asleep earlier than usual.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I went down with a tummy bug on Monday and was really sick for more than 24 hours. That was Monday and today is Wednesday. We did go out for a little while yesterday and I managed quite well I thought. Today was supposed to be back to normal but ... We've had a great day. Lovely evening and now I'm just not up to writing.

We went to the Kalapana Wednesday Market, drank lemonade, ate fish and chips. Bad idea. Here are a couple of photos.






I would have stayed much later but driving in the dark is a HUGE challenge. It's very black and any roadside warnings and other car lights are very distracting.

Alka Seltzer would go well now. I will have to make do with lemon, ginger and licorice tea.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


I don't know whether we are just unlucky with the weather but we are seeing very little sun and today was no exception.

We were in the car and out the gate at 9.30 am. Not early but better than we have been doing. The first part of our drive to Waimea was over roads we travelled the day we arrived. It was interesting to see them in reverse order and pick on places that are becoming familiar names. Waimea locally known s Kamuela, is a small rural town which seems to have developed around Parker Ranch interests. There is a strong cowboy or Paniolo influence. The paniolo or range-riding cowboys were brought in from Mexico to teach the locals how to handle stock and help to give Waimea it's unique style. We might need to come back here too if we have time. There is a Parker Ranch store in one shopping centre and the Parker Square is home to another bunch of shops.

We went into and discovered a lovely coffee shop similar to what we find everywhere in New Zealand. We chatted with a young American from Kona who was wearing an Aotearoa tank top. When John went to pay for our coffee and almond, ricotta, coffee cheesecake he found the young man had paid for us and there was even some change which John promptly put in the thank-you jar. We find Americans are incredibly generous. The coffee was good. I did not need sugar in my cappuccino. John had plain iced coffee. The cake was disappointing. Again we found it to be on the dry side, where's the cream, but it was the strong artificial almond essence that really spoiled it for us.

Near the coffee shop was the quilt shop Top Stitch. I had a good browse around and of course came out with a pattern and fabric not to mention a new bag.

We asked at the Parker Ranch Store for Patsy .... sorry Butter-bean abd James from Texas. I forgot to refresh my mind and got the name wrong. If we go back that way again I'll certainly make sure I have the name right. The ladies I spoke to wondered if I should have asked at the General Store in Parker Square. We then followed the road to Waikoloa Village. We had been there in our quest for lunch on our first day but had turned back toward the beach resort. This seemed to be a fairly up-market area centred around the Golf Club. Curiosity satisfied we turned back again to traverse the mountains on the Saddle Road.

We knew that visibility would be poor. There was a little rain and much low cloud. But how low is low? It would have been so much more interesting if we could see the two high mountains we travelled between. We climbed and our ears popped. We passed the military training centre and continued to the mountain Visitor Centre which was closed. The plan was to have a picnic there but it was cold and misty so we continued into thick fog. John had to concentrate for several miles staying between the white line on the right side of the road and the, usually double, yellow line on his side. It was a relief to come out of the fog well down the mountain and not too far from Hilo. Our coffee and cake in Waimea was still holding so we set the GPS for home and ate our picnic in comfort about 5.30 pm.
We enjoyed our day and it was another adventure on the Big Island of Hawaii. It's probably only 2 hours from here to the Mountain Visitor Centre so we might go again if there is suitable weather.


Pahoa, +Hawaii Saturday, 23rd March 8 am.
NZ Time Sunday, 24th March 7 am

Time to write up the last two more days of living our dream trip. I am so glad we came to Big Island of Hawaii. This is such an interesting place and not at all like the tourist brochures.
I won't have time to write much now as we are going on a drive trip up into the mountains and crossing the Saddle Road. Will write about that next post.
On Thursday, Hawaiian time we had a bit of a slow start but eventually got going and took the road to the Volcano National Park. At the Visitor Centre we started with a quick look around to get an overall view of the volcanoes and various eruptions. I kept thinking of Sue of MOHO fame and how she would have enjoyed the geological information. Most of it goes right over my head. We watched the movie and bought our own DVD. So interesting! The park shop was also an excellent place to shop for souvenirs. Not cheap but genuine and good quality. I hope that proves to  be true when we get home.

We had not packed a picnic. Big mistake because we did have some yummy food in our fridge. Instead we went to the shop and bought a pre-packed salad and cup of coffee. Of course the coffee was in a plastic/paper cup but it was a large cup and I enjoy the black brewed coffee. John found this brew bitter and used lots of sugar .... me, I only add sugar to cappuccinos, and it depends on how I feel in the moment. We sat in a cool spot to enjoy. The crowd was light although there were plenty of people around including at least one tour bus of Asians. It's Spring Break in Hawaii so there were families too.  Some were enjoying a picnic lunch, sitting on the grass in the spacious grounds.

After eating we jumped back in the car to go to the Museum and viewing area of the steaming crater. More interesting rocks and an explanation of the green sand beach. We were able to touch various kinds of rock. There were many kinds of textures from glassy to rough air pocketed scoria. Our US$15.00 pp pass allows us to return within a week and we will go again. I'm sure we will appreciate all the information so much more. It was a bit of an overload the first time.

The circuit road around the crater rim is closed so we back tracked to the visitor centre and turned down toward the coast. We descended quite quickly with ears but the road is good. There were many places to stop and short walks to view steam, craters, petroglyphs and lava tubes. We missed some of them since we plan to come back and time was running out. At various stops we had time to chat with various Americans from Texas to Michigan.

Finally we reached the coast and the parking space, along the roadside. This is where we walked along the road to the north side of the lava flow. A few days ago we walked out on the south side at Kalapana.

It was a long walk up the tarmac road with cat's eyes still intact after all these years. We hadn't bothered to change our footwear because we knew we would not be scrambling over lava flow. BIG mistake. I had on my bling Bali jandals which are far from ideal on a walk of a mile or more.

 We stopped several times to chat and once to photograph a whale way out at sea. I was surprised my little camera caught it and when I edited on picasa there it is. I could barely make out the tiny white surf wave it was making with my naked eye.

 The Chain of Craters Road ends at the lava flow so we took photos before turning back into the setting sun. We could see the steam where the hot lava flows into the ocean. I guess we were slightly closer than when at Kalapana. It's my guess they lost at least 20 miles of road. It's amazingly that you can get so close. The folk from Texas were here during the 1990 lava flow and he described lying on the road taking photos of the lava as it began to cross the road. He said the road got a little hot, actually, a lot hot.

Back in the car again we drove up the mountain and down the mountain again. There is only one way in and out. By this time it was dark and the traffic from Hilo to Kona was still going strong so the driver had to concentrate a lot. Driving on the other side of the road always has challenges and you must stay alert to look the right direction and stay on the right side. That is not always easy with oncoming traffic. I just kept telling John to relax and stay between the lines. Someone has to encourage the driver!

I must say it was a relief to pass by Pahoa and be out of traffic for the last few miles.

We were quite hungry when we got home so had a very late dinner. I had a large New York style sirloin steak. I seasoned it with pepper and salt and cooked it in a pan. It was delicious and tender. We ate it with a fresh pre-prepared pack of Chinese style stir-fry veggies.

Yesterday we lazed a bit and caught up with laundry. I have to concentrate when drinking. My mouth is partially paralysed from the Bells Palsy. Somehow I had dribbled coffee all my clothes. Great! I need a  baby's bib! Just as well the coffee was black and washed out easily. After lunch we jumped in the car in our swimsuits and covered up with T shirt for John and sarong for me. There was no parking at the nearest warm pool, the same one we looked at a few days earlier. We continued on up the road just moseying along. I noticed a roadside market sign so we went in to look. We bought 3 pawpaw, a bunch of bananas, a cacao fruit. a small loofah and a green coconut for about $10.00. The man hacked our coconut open with a knife and gave us a straw. The coconut juice wasn't all that great as the coconuts had warmed up in the sun. When we had sucked out all the juice, and there was plenty, he gave it a hood chop to cut it in half. and also chopped off a smaller piece to use like a spoon to scrape out the flesh. It was a thin layer of very watery flesh which wasn't particularly great to eat. I've kept some in the fridge to go into my next stir-fry concoction.

We wondered if this place was some kind of alternative lifestyle community, maybe a hippie commune.The woman at the stall invited us to drive a little way up the track to view the green lake or crater lake. She told us it is supposed to have some kind of  "mythical" relationship with New Zealand. We looked for the hiking track to the crater but decided it was too primitive and too steep for us. It looked as though the lake was about 500 feet, (200m), or more, down a cliff. We would have struggled to climb back up. A car drove in from further up the track I would have followed them had we been closer. Just as well because John said the man was naked under the sarong I saw him tying. I guess we'd have seen more than we bargained for.


While we wandered around the area I noticed a tree with fragrant apple like fruit but so fragrant. We picked up a couple of windfall and split one. It smelled of passionfruit.  On our way out we thanked the owner, who I might add looked quite conventional. She told us the fruit is guava and they are currently picking them and making jam. The trees must self sow quite readily because I saw many on the roadside. I also asked about a tree by the entrance. It was candle-nut and she began to tell us how candle-nut oil is used to heal skin problems like psoriasis as well as using the nut in cooking. I must follow this up.

At this roadside, Friday Market we received directions to another area of tidal warm pools. We drove through a subdivision and noticed parking was $3.00. We had a good look and it would have been quite an adventure to soak and fool around here. We might even have seen a turtle but the rocks look very uncomfortable to walk over. Maybe if we had water shoes it would have been safe enough but the last thing we need is an injury from falling on sharp volcanic rock. It was after 4 pm and we found when we went back to the original pool the crowd was beginning to thin. We stayed for a while until we began to get cold. The water was lukewarm but the wind off the sea was chilly.

This district is not large. We were walking along the path to the pool when we heard, "Hey New Zealand." We turned to find ourselves face to face with the Texans we met yesterday. But the funniest thing of all is that I am in email contact with a cousin who lives in Auckland and plans to visit the Volcanic Park next week. We are trying to arrange a meeting time and place. We haven't seen each other for several years and this is such a coincidence.

John is now waiting for me. Lunch is packed and I must finish getting ready.