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Thoughts on ordinary and not so ordinary adventures in the life of one Mom

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mother Nature

        Many people have told us that if you want to see the real Hawaii, you need to get out of the city.  We did just that this week.  We traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii, the biggest and newest of the Hawaiian Islands.   After a short 40 minute flight, we arrived in Hilo, early enough to start our adventure.  

        I was first struck by the beautiful, sunny weather.  Yes, sunny weather is not uncommon in Hawaii, but the last time we were on the Hilo side of the island, it was rainy all day.   Our first order of business was to return to Akaka Falls.  We saw them clearly from the viewing area this time and the gorgeous rainforest looked even more beautiful in the dappled sunlight. This time of year, the rains come at night.

        After a lovely lunch at Cafe Pesto (highly recommend) in downtown Hilo, we headed straight for the Kalapana viewing area, an area at the end of Highway 130, which the county set up to view the latest lava flows.  The lava has been flowing actively near here for a few months now.   In fact, the last viewing area, further down what used to be highway 130 was covered in lava about a month ago.   As we drove to the area, I got so excited to see a plume of smoke that looked like a very low lying cloud out on the horizon.  This was the steam and gases caused by lava flowing into the ocean.  We reached the viewing area some time before sunset, so there was no glow.  We explored the most recent flow which decimated this residential neighborhood.  There are still a few houses and a bunch more "For Sale" signs  (For Sale: Ocean View Property).  It's a real bargain.

Plume from Lava entering Pacific Ocean
        There was no surface lava that day (it had been diminishing over the past week), but as the sky grew darker, we saw the puffy white plumes change to light pink and then to a deep orange.  It was amazing to watch the plume change color and shape as thousands of gallons of lava spilled into the ocean creating more Hawaii. The lava was flowing underground in a tube to the ocean.  You could see steam rising from the ground

Friday, August 20, 2010

Our Neighborhood

       Our first order of business as we settle into our new home, is exploring our neighborhood.  We have an apartment on the 20th floor of a building on the Diamondhead side of Waikiki.

View from building "hallway"

        Although Waikiki is full of high rises, we are adjacent to a residential neighborhood which provides numerous advantages.   The first is having access to an actual grocery store, Safeway.   While most tourists end up shopping at ABC stores, a high priced convenience store located throughout Hawaii, we get to shop at the high priced Safeway.  In the two days we have spent here so far, we have already gained a greater appreciation for food.  With milk at over $5 a gallon, we don't throw out what's left after our cereal.  With bread at $4 a loaf, no more cutting off the crust.  It's about more than just expense, it's about waste, as we realize that every bit counts.
         Another advantage is that there is a library right across the street, the Waikiki-Kapahulu branch.  Compared to those in Phoenix and Scottsdale, it is nothing to write home about, but I will anyway. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Trader Joe's

Of all the items on my long list of things to do before we leave, the most enjoyable has been buying gifts for those in Hawaii who have helped us or those we will meet and befriend.  A colleague of Steve's mentioned that she stocks up on items from Trader Joe's whenever she is on the mainland,  a store they do not have in Hawaii.   It turns out, a lot of Hawaii locals like to stock up on Trader Joe's stuff.  In fact, the Las Vegas store on Decatur Boulevard has a top ten list of items for their Hawaiian customers.  Apparently a lot of Hawaiian tours go through there.  I had the good folks at Trader Joe's store # 90 send the list to my local store.  This is what is on the list:

1. Butter Waffle Cookies - the clerk here noticed a few Hawaiian customers stocking up on these!
2. Roasted Almonds
3. Roasted Cashews
4. Dry Roasted Pistachios
5. Salty, Sweet & Nutty Trek Mix
6. Chocolate Covered Pretzels
7. Dried Cranberries
8. Simply Almonds, Cashews & Cranberries Trek Mix
9. Almondina biscuits
10.  Honey Sesame Sticks

I am bringing many of these items with us to show Aloha spirit.  I am interested to find out if they truly are sought after.  It also make me wonder, what would I stock up on if I were leaving for good......and what I'll miss from Hawaii when we get back.  I'll let you know!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Trying to stay in touch

Welcome to my Hawaii Blog.  The whole family is heading out on an adventure in about a week.  We are going to be spending a semester in Hawaii while Steve does a sabbatical at university of Hawaii.  This blog is a way to keep you posted about what we are doing and how the homeschooling is going.  I hope to have Joseph and Alex create Blogs as well.  We'll share our thoughts as well as pictures and videos.  And you can post comments as well!  I hope you enjoy and I hope I keep up with it!