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Monday, January 7, 2008

My Hawaii Nature Journal ~ Day 6 (p.m.) ~ 12/23/2007

The place I came to see on this overcast but still warm and balmy day, was the Pololū Valley, a terrific overlook where the north end of the island plunges into the sea. Approaching Hawi from the west or leeward side, it was fun to watch the instantaneous greening-up of the terrain as the road turned the corner around the north end and entered the windward side from which all the rain comes.

Hawi is a funny, hip little backwater village. Hawi's buildings are mostly old, with some recycled into gift shops, galleries and restaurants for tourists, and it has a friendly feel to it. Reminds me of Ashland, Oregon, a couple of decades ago. A sidewalk concert with guitars, cello and vocalist was happening in front of the Kohala Coffee Mill gift shop when I passed through, so I sat down for a few minutes to listen. Quality music, smiling people.

Eating peculiar food is one of my pleasures. Show me something strange and different, and I'll almost ALWAYS give it a try. Chocolate ants, sashimi, seaweed salad, sure! ~ although I did balk once when my sister fried up some tomato worms for lunch... So the rambutan in the tiny farmers market booth in Hawi looked extremely interesting, and the tiny woman selling them showed me how to peel one and pop it in my mouth (the process was not intuitive). Oh, YUM! I bought six, and portioned them out slowly over the next two days. In the close-up picture, one is partially peeled, the other two are not. The fruit is pearly white.

Then onward I drove, further east, through tropical canyons and emerald leas. The road shortly dead-ended on the top of a bluff, and I parked overlooking the ocean. During twisty little rain squalls, I sat in my car and sketched and painted the historic site marker, but I sprinted out to sketch the awesome bluff and ocean whenever the rain momentarily hesitated.

After awhile, it dried out a bit and I hiked down over the edge a short way. The path was muddy and was reamed out four feet deep in places, but I was able to see the valley floor, WAY down there, and peer up toward the narrow valley's head, which was being inundated by a rain squall.

From partway down the path I had a really nice view of the bluff and surf, as well (see photo at the beginning of this day's entry). Coming back up I spied some neon-orange mushrooms I had somehow missed (while gawking at the scenery, no doubt) on the way down. I left regretfully, wishing for another week or two to explore and sketch.

On the way back to Hawi, I stopped to visit a tiny Chinese graveyard. Almost all of the inscriptions were in Chinese, and many of the stones were 2'-3' lava monoliths with deeply incised characters. You can see the characters on the stone in the photo if you take a good look. I was intrigued by the general shape of some of the stones -- they were apparently hewn to that shape intentionally.

I wanted to get home in time to sketch the banana tree in Shirley's back yard because I knew I had to leave for Hilo the next morning, so I started back on the high road to Holualoa. In many spots, the high road, 250, has Mauna Kea and The Saddle visible on the east and the ocean visible to the west -- another occasion on which the small size of the island tickled me -- I'd thought it much vaster on the map. I made it home half an hour before sunset, just enough time to hastily sketch one of the banana trees. It would be hard to go in the morning, I knew!

I've been amused, being from gigantic Oregon, at the emphasis Big Island dwellers place on The Big Island's great size. "It's BIG," they say, eyes large. "All the other islands could fit on The Big Island!" At first I was impressed, but then I missed the turnoff to Hwy 250 coming back from Hawi, and while watching for it, I ended up clear across the island at Honoka'a before I realized I must have driven by it. Gave me a good chuckle.

So, I end here with a split journal page, one side is about December 23, and the other begins December 24, but I did want to include my drawing of the rambutan in this entry. The business card honors the honu, or sea turtle; I must confess to having bought a little ceramic sea turtle to commemorate my sea turtle adventures, at one of the galleries near Hawi. So endeth December 23.

2 comments:

Gail P said...

Marvelous blog! I feel like I've had a couple of mini-trips without leaving home! Thanks for sharing your words and drawings. I feel inspired to pick up my pen again.

Irene said...

Hey, thanks! I just realized yesterday that I'm almost finished with the blog of this trip, and I feel such a sense of letdown! My trip is almost over. Again!

I really enjoy reliving it through the blog, and it's especially nice to share it with people like you who come along on the trip in spirit.

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