Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Miriam in Hawaii (Part 1)

I can't remember when we (my husband and I) decided to make a proclamation that stated that when they (our children) would turn 14, they get to travel alone with one parent, but we stood to that promise to our children.  And this year, it was Miriam's turn and she chose Hawaii as her destination. Fortunately for me, I had to go with her.

Breakfast at Mauna Lani

June 1, 2015.   Miriam and I flew to Kona, Hawaii and arrived at the Mauna Lani Hotel at 10 o'clock pm where we were offered with cold face towels (a sensible thing to have after a long flight from Sacramento) a glass of cold fresh guava juice (an upgrade from the soda we had in the airplane)  and beautiful leis made of fine shells (as a reminder that we were about to begin our vacation).  Then we were escorted to our room - they said we had an ocean view but at that time it was too dark for us to verify.  

Akaka Falls

 It was our first time to be in Hawaii outside of the airport.  I always thought that Hawaii, because of its tropical setting and the pictures seen on magazines or books, that it is all lush and green - a rainforest that is full of orchids, passion fruit vines, and ferns.  Well, I just realized that this was only part true.  The island (Hawaii) is divided by the volcanoes into two major classification - the dry and the wet side.   Kona is the dry side where the area get very little rain.  Volcanic rocks dominate the scenery.  One can drive for a long time without seeing any vegetation apart from the fountain grasses along the roads or the man-made oasis around hotels. The place is so clean and untouched - the rocks are fresh from the earth's core, they have not undergone weathering at all.  I'm exaggerating but you get the idea.  This is the touristy part of the island because it is always sunny - hardly any rain. People can sun-bathe all day everyday in Kona.


On the other side of the island is Hilo, capital city, where an average of 130 inches of rain is dumped annually.  This is where the rainforests are found.  When we visited this side, we were supposed to take a helicopter tour but it was raining so hard that the flight was cancelled.  Nonetheless, we were in a place where where waterfalls flow unceasingly into rivers that never seem to run dry.  The air is heavy with humidity and the vegetation is glossed by frequent showers and rains.  Miriam and I zip-lined across some of these rivers, water falls, and some green pastures that are saturated in water. We had fun except for the fact that we did not have rain jackets and we were in a high elevation area.  Miriam was particularly cold. 

Kilauea at dusk

The other thing about Hilo is that it is the home of one of the most active volcanoes on earth - Kilauea.  We went near the crater at dusk to watch it glow. As the sun fades away and when you see the color of the crater slowly turn orange, you cant help but feel that you are actually looking into a portal to the center of the earth (don't you dare get into it!).  Well, there was another igneous portal that we entered but it is a cooled down version of the orange one we saw in the crater - lava tube that is so huge a bus could fir in it (I think).  

To be continued...

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