Saturday, November 19, 2011

Still rather cloudy this a.m.

 Where coco comes from.
 Coconut drink!

We went to the Kailua Farmer’s market bright and early. It takes place in the parking lot of the nearby shopping center on top of the hill, and is totally local stuff. I bought some coffee as gifts for people from Kona Lisa, a coffee farm managed by a retired husband and wife team from Michigan. We bought some fruit (there is so much fruit here!!! Tens of types of banana, mango, avocado etc. Please click on these links as the posters they go to show just a portion of what we saw) and some Portuguese sausage. Donnie bought a little jar of a creamy lemony type spread.

Saw another one of those “tree mink” which I guess is a mongoose. For breakfast, we had more of the hotel coffee (really it’s pretty good) and some banana bread DMV bought. Incredibly fluffy. “Auntie Helen’s” brand with cranberry and walnuts. It states that it is grown using local bananas, which are as ubiquitous as coconuts and the passion fruit we see falling and rotting into the streets. Seems a shame! We actually saw a truck that advertises tree services, with an image of a man cutting down coconuts. I would guess they would be something of a hazard – cannon balls falling from 17 feet up!

Today is Saturday, and I had heard about the Makahihi festival going on at a resort down the way. Just so you know, this is not like the Vegas Strip – you can’t just walk very easily from one resort to the next. So we drove to the Keahoe Beach resort. They had a stage set up, a few vendors selling kukui nut necklaces, one had a guy weaving hats from palm fronds. We sat in folding chairs, listening to someone I believe was a radio DJ invite the next hula school to the stage. There were three ages of dancers. The little girls went first, while the teacher played a drum and sang most of the song. Then the little girls would answer. The next group of adolescents included a girl with down syndrome. The teacher said that she hula had helped her become more coordinated as she performed for a number of years. Finally the adults danced. They each had a tall walking stick, and another piece of wood in their belts that they would use to hit the stick to make a “clack!” The cutest thing was the little keikis (kids) in the front row who danced along.

We stepped away from the stage and cruised past the food vendors. We had to try some Spam musubi, a small loaf of white rice topped with lightly fried spam and wrapped up in a piece of nori. The short grain rice seemed unflavored by vinegar or mirin, but was sprinkled with a sesame seed mix. The Spam was not thick, and was only just crispy-not burned or too brown. The nori used was not very fishy. All in all, a good experience that I would love to try to replicate at home!

We had bought some strawberry papaya at the farmers market earlier in the day (little and pink inside), and mowed down on them while we waited for some shops to open. In Hawaii, you are 4 hours in the past, and so our internal clocks had us getting up at 4am thinking it was 8. We were early for everything.

For lunch we had more picnic food. We had bought some herb foccachia bread at the farmer’s market. I wondered if it was only partially baked, as if one needed to toss it in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. It was pretty doughy and yeasty. We ate that with the rest of our Parma ham and cheese. We also had goldfish crackers, carrots, nuts, and a cool little thing called an apple banana. They are about the size of a gorilla’s thumb and these were nice and firm.

After lunch we took a walk to see how far we could go. Not far. We walked to Keahou Bay, where Kamehameha III was born (just a small boat harbor, and apparently the king was born in a crevasse in the rocks, next to some grass and a park bench.) We went a little further, but could find no beach – all we found was some absolutely horrifying smelly fruit. It looked and smelled like the pod people would be coming out of it soon – whitish green with an aroma that puts female ginkgo fruit to shame (smelled like feta cheese gone off.) We looked it up later and found out it was noni.

We then took a drive south, down past the bypass (no longer manned by cats, but not manned by anyone else either.) We went to an antique shop in Captain Cook, which was fun. Captain Cook is alt. 1500 ft, which surprised me. Instead of driving along the beach, which I kinda thought was how the road that encircles the island, it was more like Hwy 1 in California. Tight, twisting, two lane, and tall! As we left Capt. Cook and drove a little farther (I don’t recall where I thought we were trying to get to) and the height really got to me. I thought we were on the wrong road, so we dove down the hillside on another twisting road, towards the ocean. When we got to the bottom, we dead ended into a parking lot, manned by a group of guys that descended on the car and tried to sell us a kayak trip out to the Capt. Cook monument (which is only reachable by water or hiking.) Unfortunately, I was super discombobulated. We were probably only a short distance from the Place of Refuge, which I’d wanted to see, but it was down a one-lane road (again, how the hell is that suppose to work?) and I just wanted to get back on the right highway, so we drove back up the hill. We stopped and got some shave ice at a nice joint though. Passion fruit and lemon flavor with a 50 cent drizzle of coconut syrup on top.(note: I can't get a photo of how high we were - or the stomach dropping feeling I got driving the roads. This website has a bird's eye view, but it really did feel like this is how far up we were! )

When we got back to the resort, we decided to watch the tiki torches come on. Picked up some beer  and dinner. Dinner consist of some lovely Hawaiian BBq from  L&L. This was some of the tastiest stuff we’ve had so far, and not at all healthy. I had the special Mixed Plate which included chicken katsu and shrimp tempura, a dipping sauce, a scoop of white rice and one of macaroni salad. There are two macs in Hawaii, macaroni and macadamia. This mac salad was a nice blend of cooked, cooled noodles, mayo and thin carrot shavings. I think there was probably some celery salt or something else in there too. He got shredded bbq kalua pork and Lau lau - a “hefty pork chunk” wrapped in a taro leaf and steamed. We drank some Primo beer (Hawaiian tallboy).

The tiki torches are gas powered, and a guy with a blow torch walks around and lights them.

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