Our hotel in Waikiki (where we got upgraded to an "executive" room - the only explanation being that the check-in lady pitied us, in our torn, travel-stained garb) was just steps away from the beach, where we splashed in the surf and sipped startlingly delicious guava juice under a centuries-old banyan tree at the Moana. Not too shabby.
The next morning, we caught a plane to the Big Island (Hawaii), where we visited with friends and played astronaut on the lunar landscape of the Kilauea caldera in Volcano National Park, where the air smells of sulfur (not unpleasant to a sinner, as Mr Clemens remarked) and steam rises ominously from cracks in the ground. (The sky, too, was looking ominous, as tropical depression Cosme blew closer to the island. Thankfully, we were not washed away.)
After a morning of guessing at the provenance of tropical fruits at the the Hilo Farmers Market, we split up the coast to Waimea for a day of splashing at Hapuna Beach (sustained by surprisingly delicious beach-side fish tacos), a sunset stroll on the coral and lava-rock coast at Waikoloa, and a dinner of locally sourced mahi mahi, amberjack and kalua pork (the little piggy is salted, wrapped in banana or ti plant leaves and slow cooked in an imu, an underground oven, to produce a delicious shredded meat reminiscent of Southern pulled pork barbeque).
Back to the south, we visited the black sand beaches at Punalu'u (supposedly the hangout of outlaws and Witness Protection Program participants, but also famous for its population of huge sea turtles) and Rainbow Falls near Hilo, and sampled some local grass feed beef and poke (raw ahi marinated in spices and tossed with green onion and sesame). We are not ready to leave for the mainland, but we must heed the call!
More pictures of our exciting (and all-too-short!) adventures in Hawaii are available here: