They sure do know how to leave an impression on their visitors here in Hawaii. It was early morning yesterday when I landed on the island of Hawaii, a.k.a. the Big Island, having taken off at stupid o’clock from Honolulu International Airport on Oahu. But even at that hour there were still wahine (women) dancers doing their rhythmic hand waves & relaxed shimmies to slide guitar music in the breezy open-air terminal of Kona Airport. It was no Germaine’s Luau but it still stopped me in my tracks, a memorable welcome (back) to the Big Island, one of my favourite places on earth.
– Reproduced from a panel on display in the Old Lahaina Courthouse in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii.
The pace didn’t pick up much from there. I collected my hire car & drove, via the northern towns of Waimea & Honokaa, to the opposite/eastern side of the island before settling into my rental apartment on the outskirts of the town of Keaau () just south of Hilo, the largest town on the largest of the Hawaiian islands. I paid a brief visit to Hilo in the afternoon to get reaquainted with it’s small town charms, & after an early night (the Big Island is conducive to those) the plan today was to tour the volcanic wonders of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (NVNP). But that didn’t quite pan out. The seclusion of my apartment coupled with my desire for something I haven’t had in a while, a lie-in, an early night side, curtailed the day of sightseeing, putting NVNP on the long finger for 24 hours – I’ve been lucky enough to have already visited this part of the world back in 2003, when I also spent a day in HVNP, so my procrastination didn’t come with any pangs of guilt. All that said, I did venture out late morning (or it could have even been early afternoon) but didn’t go far, touring the lava-rich eastern corner of the Big Island south of Keaau, some of the youngest terra firma on earth.
Tomorrow I’ll have another go at visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. My alarm is set, just like it was last night, & it’ll no doubt go off, just like it did this morning. But I’ll be sure to get out of bed this time.