Bfst – coffee and banana bread
Today we drove to Hilo – another great idea. Drive North past the airport, and you are suddenly surrounded by miles and miles of dark a’a. People (bikers mostly I’m guessing), have rooted around and found white stones which they use to spell out messages you can read from the road. We ascend away from the shore and cut across the island going Northeast. Eventually, right around Waimea there is a very distinct line, where the landscape goes from desert to greenery.
We drove through the hilly cowboy country, loosing our two radio stations now and again. When we were about 14 miles or so from Hilo, the road got incredibly winding, and was filled with deep gulches which made your stomach drop. Some had waterfalls, most just had enormous trees filling them. We could at times peer waaaay down to the shore, and see people surfing in the breakers.
DMV below a banyan tree
Hilo is about 40,000 people. First we stopped to see Rainbow Falls, which was as picturesque as could be. Probably about 6 buses disgorged their tourists while we were there. We drove back into town and parked and wandered through the small daily farmers market (the huge one, started in 1986, happens on Wednesdays and Saturdays). Bought a few more apple bananas (which DMV says he really likes!), some lechies (I didn’t remember what they looked like in the “shell”-only ever having had canned ones) and some gigantic carrots. We talked with the tourism lady and wandered down the road to find the Kamehameha statue, well, one of them. Strangely, no sign relating the story of the statue was near it.
Hilo is old, and run down in a quaint, easygoing way. It’s history is tinged with tragic tsunamis, but it’s grit seems to have gotten it through. We appreciate the old buildings, and are interested in what they use to be as well as what is in them now. If they are closed up, they are still interesting. Also, there are tons of natural food stores and used bookstores in this town.
We stopped at a YMCA-type auditorium. They have a lunch window which could be serving the same things the kids are eating for lunch for all we could tell. Donnie got a hamburger steak and gravy with onions, served over a scoop of rice. It was your typical lunchroom fare, but still good.
I bought a bento “made fresh at 11am today”. It consist of two onigiri speckled with cooked salmon, a little pickled stuff (maybe radish?) a few slices of cold chicken katsu and some slices of sweet omelet. We had 7up to drink.
We walked down to the beach, which was kind of crummy. There was a bus that had just dumped off a bunch of tourists who seemed to be enjoying it. Then we drove off. We wanted to catch a malasada on our way home from Tex’s drive in. We also wanted to stop at Spenser Beach, an obsession of mine since college (when I thought, instead of a Resort, we would be camping in a tent when we went to Hawaii). But I also wanted to check out the Japanese garden in Hilo before we left. It was nice, and free, but nothing extremely interesting except the 50 ‘ tall bamboo. We also checked out coconut island, which may have been created during a flood. Its just a little island of coconut trees. We watch some crazy kids diving off of a old bridge pylon and saw a herd of kayakers come ashore.
See the man in reeds?
Tsunami marker at the very top is from the 40s
Ok, so on the way home, we tried to find the goat farm, or at least some of the goat cheese from there. I had a tip that it was located on the Hamakua Coast and we tried to give them a call, but their answering machine picked up. Oh well, we stopped at Tex’s and I had a Bavarian cream madesala. Wonderful! DMV thought it lookd so good, even tho he is not a fan of fried dough, he got an apricot one. Terribly fantastic.
Spenser beach park was so much fun. It is not as white as Hapuna, the white sand beach next door (which we didn’t visit but which has been voted one of the top 10 beaches in the world.) And the snorkeling wasn’t as good as the other beach. But you can camp here! And, it is within a stones’ throw of one of the best preserved sacred places , the Pu'ukohola Heiau built by Kamehameha to his war god. If you want to camp there, get a permit ahead of time. Supposidly there are monk seals (native to HI) that flop up onto the beach, but we didn’t see any. We did, however, watch the sun slip into the ocean. Wanna know why time feels like it’s going by so quickly? Watch that, and you’ll see, it’s because it is.
There was a floating heiau in this bay until the 50s to a shark god
Coming home, we decided to get a “Hawaiian” pizza. Hell, why not. At this time, I also bought some more very expensive kona coffee to take back with us. We got the “Hawaii 5-o” 14’ which came with ham, tomato sauce, cheese, red onion (bah!), chopped macadamia nuts and pineapple. FRESH little nubbins of pineapple. It was good.