North to Hawi
Trip Start Sep 29, 2011
6Trip End Oct 04, 2011
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The day dawned with limpid welkin, and it was oh, so pleasant to start on the balcony at 6am, watching the poor souls in Ironman training, swimming around the buoy just off-shore from our condo. Lucky today was quite calm; wonder if it will be like that in a week for the race.
Alan and Jean arrived around 7:30am, maybe later, I don't remember, it's all Aloha time ... and, after a while, we piled in our car to head on our drive north. It was already turning hot, so we thought we drive north to the end of the road first, then turn back, through Waimea, ending at a beach for a quick swim.
Beyond the lava fields, past the port of Kawaihae, the island turns dry, but dry in a different way -- more rolling hills instead of sloped surfaces, and pale trees, shaped and the color of acacias
From Hawi, we drove to the end of the road, to view the valleys and coast beyond. The wind was up, and it would have been a nice walk to the beach, but the walk back up would have been less pleasant, and we actually had time constraints today. Besides, it was crowded!
We opted to take the road from Hawi through Waimea ... it gains altitude quickly, and cools just as rapidly. The weather changed from hot, dry, and windy, to overcast, misty, and comfortable. In Waimea, we stopped at a collection of shops, where Jean picks up her incense, and where we could grab a sandwich (tasty lunch at the coffee shop). Jean's friend works at one of the shops -- which had a name like A Shop Full of Wonderful Things ... and it was really true. Lots of great works by local artists, artifacts of high quality from around the world, and gorgeous little things. I particularly admired an octopus pendant carved from old ivory ..
From Waimea, we drove back to the port, then into the Hilton Hotel. The hotel had some extreme silliness (for one, the tram that carries people around the grounds, which are extensive ... but come on! for another, the $15 parking fee, unless you can find someone to validate, which Jean did, knowing the art gallery owner ... the art gallery, by the way, that was going out of business today) but wasn't as horrific as I expected. Lots of Asian art around; dolphin petting arena; a fun pool with waterslide. The place seemed empty-ish, but I suppose it is the off-season. Definitely do not feel compelled to visit and stay anytime soon.
Returning to town, we hit horrific traffic, which meant that Jean would be late for open mic night at the coffee shop. While they hurried home, Paul and I rested for a bit (caught up on work and journals), then went to town for dinner. Ate at Mexican cantina across the street from the water. Food was fine ... especially the "tropical ceviche."
After dinner, we drove up to Kaya's coffee house, where we watched Open Mic night -- all fun, talented performances: a young man on his ukelele, a trio of older men playing bluesy-folk, a young woman who sang only one song, a capella, but wonderful and soulful. Coffee was excellent, too. Full house, kids running around, lots of fun. We were tired by 9:30pm and still had a drive home, so we left before the night was over.