Some Notes on Hawaii
by, 21st June 2011 at 08:13 PM (1063 Views)
Well, I was hoping to have some photos to go along with this, but I don't seem to have a way to make a new album. I guess I'll just have to work on that later...
Anyway, I've been home now for a little over a week from Russ's and my trip to the Big Island and O'ahu. We were there for a little over seven days, Saturday to Saturday. We flew into the Kona Airport and picked up a rental car to drive up to the Hilton Waikoloa resort, where we were booked until Wednesday of that week.
Saturday was spent just exploring the resort, a place so big that they had trams and boats to carry people from one end to the other. We were housed in the Palace Tower, about three-quarters of the way down from the main entrance. (Click on the small map below to see a bigger image.)
The following day, we got in our car and went to visit a friend of Russ's, a fellow ceramic artist, who lives clear across the island near a place called Pāhoa. On the way there, we stopped at the Waipi'o Valley overlook to see the beautiful view of a pristine agricultural valley and take some pictures. From there we went on to the Hawai'i Tropical Botanical garden near Pāpa'ikou, where we spent about an hour and a half walking through the trails and seeing a dense, lush garden of various tropical flowering plants, interspersed with traditional ki'i (tiki) carvings, waterfalls, and natural ponds, ending up on the coast at Onomea Bay. We went on from there to Hilo, where we stopped for lunch and called Russ's friend to let him know that we were on our way. We arrived there at about 2 p. m. and visited for a while, enjoying their neat, comfortable little bungalow, garden, and artist's workshop. They seem to have completely forgotten San Francisco and gone "local."
From there to the Kilauea caldera in Volcanoes National Park, where we saw (and smelled) the sulfurous fumes arising from deep inside the earth. It was a little spooky. While the terrain around the caldera was pretty typical of tropical highlands I had seen in other places, the caldera itself was practically a moonscape of semi-molten rock and fumaroles.
We took the Saddle Road back across to the Kona side, rising steadily and crossing over the "saddle" between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, the two highest volcanic peaks on the island. Mauna Kea obliged us by showing a pair of snow-covered peaks, the result of heavy storms that had recently passed through.
The following day, we got up early and went to a spot near Puakō, not far north of where we were staying. There we took a path near Holoholokai Beach and walked to a field of petroglyphs, many of which predate the first Europeans' arrival in the Islands. In a large open space, there were many petroglyphs, ranging in size from very small to somewhat larger, depicting mostly human figures. Some seem to be engaged in different activities, others just standing in a wide-legged pose. It was quite an impressive sight, as was the walk along slightly rough terrain, during which we had to be on our guard not to step on the long, sharp spines of fallen keawe twigs. That afternoon, we drove down to Kailua-Kona, the biggest town on the west side of the island, where we had lunch and looked around the old town center.
Tuesday, our third day on the Big Island, we drove up a little further north to a place near Kawaihae. There we visited the Pu'ukoholā Heiau National Historic site. It was here that King Kamehameha I built a large luakini heiau (sacrificial temple) dedicated to the purpose of consolidating his control of the island of Hawai'i. The story of its construction from a special kind of volcanic rocks, which had to be transported individually over a human chain more than fourteen miles long without any stone ever touching the ground, was truly amazing. When the temple was completed, Kamehameha invited his cousin and chief rival, Keōua, to participate in its dedication. Keōua's own troops had been decimated while staging a retreat across the area of Kilauea, having been engulfed in a cloud of poison gas and ash. Resigned to his fate, one version of the story says that, knowing he was to die as a human sacrifice, Keōua castrated himself with a leiomanō (shark-tooth dagger) in order to defile the sacrifice. He did indeed die at Pu'ukoholā, and was offered to Kūkā'ilimoku, the family war god of Kamehameha.
We headed on up to Waimea, near the famous Parker Ranch, to look around and have lunch, and then went back to Kona, where we visited the Hulihe'e Palace, the former vacation home of Hawaiian royalty. Click on the link below to see an image. We then drove on to Kealakekua before returning to our resort.
The next day we flew on to Honolulu, where we stayed in Waikikī. On Thursday, we went to the Honolulu Academy of Art Museum, where we embarked on a tour of Shangri La, the former home of Doris Duke, the late tobacco heiress. The mansion is located in the Kahala area of Honolulu, just on the other side of Diamond Head from Waikikī. It is over 20 acres of land, gardens, and buildings housing one of the most spectacular collections of Islamic art in any private home in the U. S. The collections range from Spain to India, including architectural and decorative pieces.
The next day, our last full day in Hawaii, I went to the Ala Moana Center Neimans to visit with an SA I knew when she worked at Neimans SF. Unfortunately, she was out sick that day, but I decided to pick up a small bottle, which another SA generously charged to her sales account. That evening, Russ and I went for drinks and dinner to the House Without a Key and Orchids, a bar and restaurant in the Halekūlani Hotel. As we strolled back to our hotel along Kalākaua Avenue, the street was lined with booths and stages for the Hawaiian Cultural Festival, celebrated every year on Kamehameha Day, June 11. This year, that day was a Saturday, so Friday the 10th, our last day in Honolulu, was a public holiday in Hawaii.
We shall treasure our newest fond memories of the Islands alongside our older, equally fond ones. I'm glad you guys could come along at least for a narrative of our trip. I will try to post pictures somehow, somewhere. Look for links back here on my blog.
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