Kona – Take 2

When traveling I have learned that some days you just need to reset and start over the next day.  That is what happened on Sunday – the pouring rain took it’s toll and as much as I hate to waste a day it was best to just pack it in.  On the upside, our hotel had an “art museum” which was basically an installation of one native’s paintings depicting the history of the area.

We woke up Monday morning and there was a slight glimmer of sun in the sky and we were ready to set out.  The plan was to head to the southern most place we wanted to see and work out way back north, ending up at our cousin’s house near Mauna Kea Beach.  Our first stop was Puuhonua O Honaunau National Park.  This was an area of refuge which was used by the Hawaiian people.  What remains is a giant wall that was built on the sea and many other ruins.  It is on the shores of lava rocks and is quite scenic.  We started with the ranger talk.  The ranger was very fun and had lots of good information.  We then headed out to explore the ruins.  I did some hiking on the lava rocks until I ran into some bugs and the rocks got slippery where they were getting wet.   It was a perfect day for this because it was still slightly overcast so we were not fried in the sun.

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Next stop was St. Benedict Church or the Painted Church.  Oddly this was one of the best marked stops we have made.  The inside church walls were painted with various Bible stories by the Belgian priest who was bringing Catholicism to the islands.  It was a little, old church and I was delighted to find a statute of St. Bernadette out front.  The paintings were very cool.  I had visited another painted church in Germany a number of years ago and I was very pleasantly surprised to find this one was nothing like the church in Germany which was definitely different.  The church had a table set up and was selling Christmas ornaments and other religious souvenirs on a honor system.  It also had some really nice gardens.

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Then we tried to the find the Captain Cook monument look out and were not at all successful.  From what I read it is an obelisk and I’ve seen one or two of those so I was not overly concerned.  By this time I was starving and we pulled into a McD’s for an iced tea and I had to try the taro pie.  Taro is a very popular crop here.  It had a kind of purple tint to it and I’m not exactly sure what it tasted it like but it was fun to try!

I then stopped at a yarn store (see separate post) and our last stop was at the King’s Shops.  My Dad had seen a watch made of koa wood in one of the tourist magazines and loved it.  Only one store sells them so we found that store and he got his watch.  We also grabbed a bite to eat at a fish and chips place.  And then we headed to our cousin’s house for the night.

Kona, take 2 was much better than day 1 and it is all much different than Oahu.  Heading to the other side of the island next!

Weather Curse

I confirmed it today – I am a weather curse!  If you want weather that your area has not had in years or ever, invite me.  A weather system has moved over Hawaii and it has been raining for almost 24 hours.  It was raining on the North Shore this morning and we did witness the famous North Shore waves.  The surf was 20-30 feet and truly showed the power of the ocean.  It rained all the way to Honolulu.

We had an interesting experience at the airport.  We checked in okay and headed to security.  The first TSA agent to look at our boarding passes told us we were TSA pre-check (even though there was no indication on our boarding passes) and we had to go to a security line two doors down.  We went to that line and were told we had to go to a third line and then that person told us to go back to the line we started at.  At this point my Dad was getting a bit frustrated so I talked to yet another TSA agent who told us to go the line we were first told to go to.  When we got in line we were behind a young Japanese man and the TSA agent asked him how much English he spoke and he replied not much so he got sent to the TSA pre-check line, despite not being pre checked.  When we got up there we mentioned the lines not making much sense and he went on to tell us  he does not even travel in the US any longer because it was too hard and then he continued to tell us all the problems with the US TSA while we stood in line.  Once our line  was filled  he shut  it down and went across the aisle to check id’s.  It was the strangest process I’ve seen.  As we were in line we heard him talking to a lady and telling her these were just  crazy  rules that made no sense.  Pretty sure he was trying to get fired!  As it turned out we were not pre checked so none of it made any sense and by the time were through it was time to the board our flight to Kona.  I think the flight was shorter than the TSA fiasco!

Not much to see out the window due to the rain all the way there.  The airport in Kona looks like a village of thatched roof huts.  You have to walk outside to get off the plane.  And to get your bags because the Kona airport is an outdoor airport! 

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I suppose on that is usually the dry coast of the Big Island it works out fine but in a torrential downpour not so great.  By the time we got on the rental car shuttle bus we were soaked.

Our plan was to drive around the southern Kona coast before heading up north to our cousin’s house here on the Big Island.  We set out and I quickly realized my maps were not working great and it was pouring so we decided to try the Kona Brewing Company for lunch and my Google maps tooks us right there.  By now there was some roads which were flooding and we saw a waterfall (not in the tourist book).  There was about 6 inches of water in the parking lot but we made it in only to find it was 30-40 minute wait for an outdoor restaurant.  We passed.  It was also at this point that we decided to find a hotel with a room and finish driving tomorrow.  The weather was not passing anytime soon.  We did finally make it down to the main road on the ocean and found plenty of hotels and a room for the night.  We parked the car and have not moved it since.

There were restaurants across the street and in the resort.  We were finally able to walk around the resort (King Kamehameha Courtyard) and checked out the pool (which was overflowing) and the small beach which has a lot of history.  This is not a typical Courtyard but has worked out great for our purposes.  Some of the locals we have talked to (including our cousin) have indicated it never rains this much here.  They clearly did not know I was coming and I have a super power.

It is apparently supposed to start clearing tomorrow so fingers crossed!  And now I will finish watching the Oscars which are being shown via tape delay down here.