On my first day in Hawaii, the Big Island, we hiked from South Point (the southern-most tip of the U.S.) to Green Sands Beach.
It was about a 3 mile hike there and I lamented that I belonged on my couch in fronna the TV! Why am I here in this sun and dusty dirt road!? We went on to hike 5 more trails and I realized how much I like being outdoors. I don’t belong enclosed in walls for hours a day. Even outside, I’m surrounded by tall walls of buildings and pavement and concrete beneath, so I still feel enclosed. So all this time, we train ourselves to adapt to this way of being. Breathing exhaust and stale air and crated. And it doesn’t even have to be in Hawaii, although it was unimaginably beautiful. I just have a newfound appreciation for outside. Trees. Dirt roads. The sound of water. It makes me feel more connected to the world. To people. To my body.
Mahalo National Parks. You have preserved for us all the most spiritual places on earth.
Along the same lines of my love for calendars, plants are like living calendars to me. In 2 years time, this grew from a cutting to a 9 ft tall plant. I got that one in 2005 when I worked with this lady who gave me a cutting. This one came from a leaf I picked up off the floor. They’re like diaries. And watching a plant grow reminds of of how slowly and quickly time passes. Like watching the clock during the last half hour at work, if you stare at a plant, time seems to stop, the plant doesn’t change. But if you look back to years past, the plant has grown to a huge weed and I realize how many years I’ve known the people at work.
I have talked myself into and out of growing plumerias many times. I don’t have ideal light or space. This isn’t even the right climate. But I was in Hawaii. And plumerias were in bloom all around me. I got these three.
I’m crossing my fingers they thrive.
I had been talking about visiting Hawaii for years! But it’s just so much easier to watch YouTube vids of other people’s trips, or drive to a local weekend destination than to plan a trip to Hawaii. As much of a homebody as I am, it took but the mere mention of a wedding and I booked the trip, packed up, and was ready to go.
If you’re looking for vegan food, stick to the Asian joints. Many traditional American/Hawaiian places also had vegan options due to Asian influences but there were times when I had to settle on a carb turducken (a breakfast of fruit and hash browns on toast). Towards the end of the trip, I was craving sweets (which I rarely do). Not sure how true it is, but I’ve heard that it’s a sign of a protein deficiency. In the end, I was feeling insatiably hungry and weak so I relented and had egg at one breakfast joint. And then I chased it down with a vegan snickerdoodle. Protein and sugar!
This was one of the best meals I had during the trip. It’s kabocha curry.
The fruit is phenomenal. On our second day there, I got myself a cheapo santoku knife so I could cut some Hawaiian pineapples in the hotel room. Their papayas and pomelos were also amazing. Too bad we can’t get them around here easily. Still, I got my fill – three pineapples in a week.
Sights and Activities:
- Hike to Green Sands Beach – Not an easy hike but the beach at the end of it was such a sweet relief.
- Kona coffee tour – This is like Napa Valley for coffee. But rather than getting sloshed, you get buzzed. Captain Cook’s is such a beautiful area so I still felt relaxed in a chatty way.
- Place of Refuge (Pu’uhunoa O Honaunau) National Park – A beautiful and historic park where they share the history of native Hawaiians. There’s a wonderful trail here too.
- Volcanoes National Park – When people say the Earth is alive, this is what they mean. Kilauea is pouring out lava. During the day, it looks like smoke and steam. At night, it’s bright orange red and spurting out.
- MaunaKea summit tour – Even just on the side of a highway at night, I saw more stars than I ever have. On MaunaKea I saw the Milky Way galaxy for the first time. It’s a breathtaking evening.
- Check out the waterfalls. There are many and none of them are as impressive as say, Niagara or Iguacu, but we went to a few of them and they were pretty.
- Hike the Kalalau Trail on the Na’Pali Coast – If I did nothing else on this island, this was the one thing I wanted to see – the Na’Pali coastline. It’s breathtaking. The first section of the hike starts at Ke’e Beach and ends at Hanakapi Beach. We heard later from friends that this was not a very safe trail. I guess ignorance is bliss? To be honest, I was ready to turn around at the 0.25 mile marker. Then I was ready to turn back at the 0.50 mile marker. Somehow, we got to Hanakapi and the way back was easier. In the earlier part of the day, parts of the trail were wet, muddy, and slippery. By the afternoon, much of it had dried.
- Waimea Canyon – This was the most beautiful hike. It was relatively easy and relaxing under the cool canopy of a forest. Even though I’d say this was the easiest hike we did, I slipped twice.
- Allerton Botanical Gardens – With a return flight not until 10 PM, this was a nice little something to do. They guide you around the gardens and describe the plants and trees.
Learn from my Fail:
- Hawaii and Kauai’s airports are small. Eat beforehand or bring food. There’s nothing good at the airports. Even the water from the fountains taste funky.
- Bring your own knife or better yet, just get pre-cut fruit from the grocery store. It didn’t occur to me to do that until after I’d purchased the knife. I now have a crappy santoku knife.
- Stay on the Hilo side of the island at least for a night or two. Driving to see volcanoes from Kona is a bit of a trek.
- Restaurants close early (generally 9 PM). Plan accordingly. We missed dinner a couple of nights because we stayed out to see volcanoes and the stars at MaunaKea. Both worthwhile and I had pineapples on hand, but still, dinner would have been nice.
- Speaking of MaunaKea, the drive up there is all up hill. There are no gas stations. Fill up your tank before you ascend. We cut it a bit too close. Luckily, on the way down, you barely use any gas. We cruised on neutral for some portions of it.
- Packing: You don’t need fancy clothes in Hawaii. This isn’t a fancypants posh kind of trip. Plan to get dirty.
As a nod to ringing in the Year of the Cock, I am cleaning out my closet. I’m ridding myself of the most obvious – jeans that no longer fit! These are ones that I’m never going to squeeze myself into ever again without doing major organ damage.
When I first started working, I measured my work hours in the pairs of jeans I could buy. I was making maybe $10/hour and that was about a pair of jeans on sale. For a really fancy pair, I might have splashed out for a $20 pair. Whether it’s because of my slowed metabolism due to aging, or from the all the squats and Warrior threes, or one too many beers, 6 out of these 8 pairs do not fit me anymore.
This blog is 10 years old! TEN! YEARS! A decade!
This winter has been more spring-like than wintery so I’m not even paying attention to the ol’ rodent. My nose knows what’s going and and what’s going on is, we haven’t had much of a winter.