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Kailua Kona Day 2

14 Jul

An educational day, this one.  Learning from my previous error (do not attempt to walk everywhere) I hired a bike from the hostel.  Perhaps I should have noticed the rusty wheels and the fact that I couldn’t adjust the saddle.  Certainly it only had low gears… which proved useful later.

So, I learned that in Hawai’i, as in America, cyclist ALSO ride on the right hand side of the road, just like the cars.  Learned that one fast enough to stay alive.  This, of course, I knew at a theoretical level.

I learned that Hawai’i is fairly flat, at sea level.  That’s why it’s called sea LEVEL.  However, I also learned that Hawai’i has hills.  They are called volcanoes and they go up steeply.  Riding a bike up a hill like that can be a mistake.  This, too, I knew theoretically.  But those low gears came in handy…

I learned that it is wise to test one’s brakes before setting out, especially if you are going to climb a mountain.  This is because you will eventually go downhill, at which point the brakes that you have been ignoring for the last few hours become REALLY handy.

I learned that I have an ability to overestimate how much I can cycle in any given amount of time.  So I NEARLY got to the place where the Hawai’ian people killed Captain Cook.  But I did see some beautiful views…

and some lovely beaches… with some great surf…

and some really spooky and historic places, like the lava tubes that entire communities hid in when the island was attacked, or the holy places sacred to Hawai’ian ancestors.

I also learned that Hawai’i has some beautiful fish… having briefly gone swimming and noticing the fish below me, I promptly cycled into town and bought myself goggles and a snorkel.  Then followed the most incredible couple of hours watching some of the most beautiful (and BIG) fish I’ve seen.  Like these . . .(Hawai’ian names given)





Kailua Kona Day 1

14 Jul

Well, armed with a map left behind by a Russian girl I met the night before, I set off round Kailua Kona.  If you think the Kona bit is familiar – yes, this is where Kona coffee comes from.

It’s a kinda quaint town in some ways, and in other ways, really touristy….

I sat by the tiniest beach on the planet for a while, watching some newbie divers taking their first plunge into the depths… then I trekked off up to the north of the island in search of sea and tranquillity.  Walking on the old international airport I found sea, tranquillity, and black lava rock – a reminder that Big Island is volcanic.  The smell of sulphur and ash hangs in the air this side of the island – the dark and ominous clouds that shroud the mountains aren’t rain clouds – they’re vog – volcanic smog.

Down on the seafront you can find King Kamehama’s meditation house – King Kamehama was one of the great kings of Hawai’i.

I spent a peaceful few minutes in Hawai’i’s first Christian church – well, as peaceful as it can be when they are getting ready for bible school in the evening.  Sadly, I was too old to take the class.

So now my feet hurt, and I feel as if I have walked across the whole island.

And again, this evening, more rain.  Lots of rain.  And somehow that’s incredibly cleansing.

A good first day…

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