The fourth day, Tuesday, was spent in Hilo (the north side of Hawaii, the Big Island). We didn't have an excursion planned but we wanted to get off the ship after a long day at sea the day before, so we took a bus to downtown Hilo. A young lady at Guest Services on the ship said there wasn't much to do, and she was right! We walked around a bit and stopped by a farmer's market, and then walked around some more.
We also stopped by a place called Cafe Pesto. Mom had lemonade and I had some passion fruit sorbet. It was soooo good. Later, while Mom was resting in the stateroom, I took a bus by myself to a more populated part of Hilo. I needed some astringent since the airport people had inspected mine and left it open for it to spill inside my suitcase (at least my suitcase smelled nice and was properly exfoliated). So I went to WalMart to get the astringent. I also bought a bathing suit, which I then proceeded to not wear for the rest of the cruise. I tried to get back to the ship for a Thomas Kinkade seminar given by Park West but I missed the 3:00 bus and had to wait 30 minutes for the next one (the seminar was at 4:00). I missed the seminar, but I did get to talk to a nice Australian couple while waiting for the 3:30 bus. Also, I heard about another auction on Friday so I decided to attend that.
On the fifth day, Wednesday, we arrived at Kona, Hawaii (the southern side of the Big Island). There was no dock this time, so they used tender boats to get us to and from the shore. They were wobbly to say the least...
- The Big Island has never had a hurricane or tropical storm because of protection from the two large mountains.
- All the flowers and trees on the Big Island are non-native except for one pitiful looking tree (I didn't get the name).
- There are no sand beaches on the Big Island.
I took a lot of photos at Puuhonua so be sure to check Facebook for all of those: Hawaiian Vacation Pics
One thing I've neglected to mention so far is that Mom and I had a bit of a problem with our stateroom. The bathroom started smelling like sewage after a couple of days, and it got worse every day. Our steward, Gerry, and one of the Guest Services workers, David, worked diligently to get it taken care of. By Wednesday it was gone, though it did get worse again. We just decided we'd have to live with it. Thankfully it wasn't as bad the second time through. But the head of Guest Services called Tuesday night and said that to make up for the inconvenience they were treating us to free dinner and a bottle of wine at any of the restaurants. So Wednesday night we went to Moderno Churrascaria, a Brazilian-style steakhouse (one of the specialty restaurants on the ship, which usually has a cover charge).
Moderno was beautiful and the food was excellent. They give you a menu full of meats but you don't choose just one. Once you turn over your place card from red to green, a passador comes to your table with the different meats on huge skewers, and cuts off whatever you want. When you're done with the main course and ready for dessert, you turn the place card back over to red.
My favorite food was the grilled pineapple with cinnamon and something else. I got two servings of that, even though I'm slightly allergic to pineapple. O:-) It was too good to pass up--it smelled amazing and tasted even better!
Unfortunately the boat was high-tailing it to Kauai that evening and was rocking quite a bit. It caused both Mom and me to lose our appetites. So we turned our place card back to red after only a few rounds of meat. Our passador came to the table and lamented "Red? Red!!" Mom was so queasy that she ordered some Ginger Ale, which helped thankfully. We got a couple of desserts to go and headed back to the room. Oh, and I chose my favorite wine--Chateau St. Michelle Riesling. I didn't finish it all that evening, so I nursed it for the next couple of days (Mom doesn't drink so it was all mine).
Thursday (day six) is the day I'd been looking forward to all week. We were docked in Nawiliwili, Kauai and our excursion was a plantation train ride and a luau (also at the plantation)! Mom said she couldn't go to Hawaii without experiencing a luau. The luau was that evening so during the day we took a trip to the UPS store to mail some things that wouldn't fit in our suitcases.
At Kilohana Plantation we got to see a lot of plants. I took a ton of pictures, but didn't get to write down what each one was! So if anyone knows the plants in my FB photos, please comment and fill me in. :-)
The luau was AMAZING. The food was okay; I did not try poi but I did try a couple of new drinks: the Mai Tai and the Blue Hawaii. Both were good, despite the fact that I don't really like rum or coconut. I also tried papaya (it was okay, nothing stellar) and purple sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes were good but had a strange aftertaste. Here's my dinner plate (yes, I had rice and noodles):
The entertainment was...wow. They had storytelling, then regular dancing and Samoan fire dancing. I didn't get many good pictures but my new friend Jennifer (we met Jennifer and her husband Cameron at the luau, as they were sitting next to us) might have. Check Facebook. Here are a couple decent shots of the dancers from before the sun went down:
That's all for this part of the trip. Tune in soon for the final installment of my Hawaiian vacation retelling!