Sunday, November 22, 2009

At Our Kona Coast Condo

My husband Greg and I always look forward to spending time at our condo on the Big Island's Kona coast. It's rented out most of the time, but we can stay there whenever we want, and we usually choose November or December to relax there for a few weeks. This time, however, we've found ourselves catching up on work at our computers and arranging for upgrading of our home-away-from-home in order to change rental agents. People will be able to rent our two-bedroom oceanfront condo at any time starting in February, 2010 by contacting Home Away. Since we're right on the shore, we can sit on our lanai (balcony) and see the turtles in the tidepool below, watch the young people surf from the beach next door, and enjoy the beautiful tropical sunsets. It's an idyllic location!
Here are a few photos I've taken this time around from our lanai.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On Hawaii's Big Island

We arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii on a beautiful clear day. As we flew in, I caught this scene of the island's two most famous volcanos, Mauna Kea in the foreground, and Mauna Loa in the background. 'Mauna' means mountain; 'kea' means white, as Mauna Kea's 13,796 foot peak is often cloaked in snow; 'Loa' means long; Mauna Loa stretches way out to the right (west) beyond the photo.
We stayed at the Hilo macademia nut farm of our friends, Evonne Bjornen and Paul Tallett, at first. A few years ago, we wrote and article for Relish Magazine about the farm, and Greg included a delicious recipe for macademia nut bars. Then we spent one night in the upcountry town of Waimea, also called Kamuela, as almost every Hawaiian island has a town called Waimea. 'Waimea' means 'reddish water;' the volcanic soil has a red color in many places, and when it rains heavily, the water of rivers and streams can turn red. We took the long way to our condo in Kailua-Kona, driving to the northernmost point of the island, where dense rainforests cover the steep walls of Pololu Canyon. We had thought about taking the trail to the beach, but after reading the signs, we decided it was too hot to make the trek. A major earthquake three years ago struck deep under the sea near here, making the ground potentially unstable; hence the warnings. Instead, we continued our drive along the west coast of the island, past the big resorts, through the town of Kailua Kona, arriving at our home-away-from-home with plenty of time to settle in.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

On Oahu's Windward Coast

After a few days in Marin County with family, we flew to Oahu to vist our friend David and Jessica and their two children. Five air hours brings about a total change in climate and landscape. Most people who visit Oahu stay in Honolulu and limit their touring to that city and perhaps the Polynesian Cultural Center up the coast. On return visits to the state, people tend to opt for one of the other islands, not realizing how beautiful Oahu is and how much it has to offer visitors.
We were lucky enough to stay with friends so got a nice taste of local life.
On Halloween, we drove to an early potluck dinner, after which all the children of the guests went trick-or-treating with a few of the adults. My husband Greg and I got to sit on the lawn and hand out candy to the goblins and all who stopped by. I know many people have given up this old American tradition, which makes me sad, as it can be so much fun for all concerned, so it was nice to be a part of it once again.
We spent Sunday on beautiful Kailua Beach, a popular place for locals to relax, swim a bit, sail board, or sail surf. The children made drip sand castles, an art I hadn't seen before, while we hung out with a family friend who brought her two children. Old fashioned relaxed fun.

Our hostess, Jessica Wooley, is a freshman in Hawaii's state legislature. She showed us around the capitol building and into the legislative chambers, where we had our picture taken by her desk. "The politician always stands in the middle," she told us.