So after 3 nights in Honolulu, it’s time to go. We ate our last fabulous Hilton Hawaiian Village buffet breakfast (free continental buffet, $5 to upgrade to the entire buffet thanks to the Hilton Honors membership, and well worth the money). We relaxed on the beach, took a last dip in the waters of Waikiki beach, and went around the hotel taking last minute pictures. We also said our goodbyes to the beach and the sun for a few days, for we are off to Hilo (the rainy side of the Big Island of Hawaii).
First off, some pictures from around the hotel. Statues of real people as well as gods:
[[image:hi34.jpg:The guy who built the hotel, I think:center:0]]
[[image:hi36.jpg:Legendary goddesses in the process of tapa making:center:0]]
[[image:hi45.jpg:I forget who this was:center:0]]
[[image:hi41.jpg:Don’t mess with this chick – garang!:center:0]]
Some of the trees and plants that caught my eye around the hotel:
[[image:hi37.jpg:Big tree obstructing Rainbow Tower:center:0]]
[[image:hi38.jpg:The hotel from the beach path, with all kinds of vegetation all around:center:0]]
[[image:hi40.jpg:Big trees by the Tapa Tower entrance (where we stayed):center:0]]
[[image:hi42.jpg:More trees along Kalia Road:center:0]]
[[image:hi44.jpg:Signboard for the hotel:center:0]]
And look! Our old friend the red-jambuled bird:
[[image:hi43.jpg:Handsome redheaded avian Elvis impersonator:center:0]]
Finally, a last image of Waikiki and the fun that we had there
(although, technically, we didn’t take surfing lessons – too busy relaxing and snorkeling. Next time, ok?)
We drove to the airport and took the short flight from Oahu to the Big Island of Hawaii, to Hilo. We stayed at the Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. Did I mention it’s the rainy side of the Big Island? It just rained on and off the whole time – look at the clouds in the skies.
[[image:hi46.jpg:View from our balcony:center:0]]
[[image:hi47.jpg:The balcony from within the room:center:0]]
The road the hotel was on is called Banyan Drive, because of all the banyan trees along the road. They were just beautiful, majestic, big old trees. Kept making me think, don’t look up at night, nanti nampak langsuwe (or you’ll see a scary Malaysian ghost), but then I told myself langsuwes don’t live in Hawaii, they live in Malaysia. But even neater still, these trees were planted by famous people 60-100 years ago! Look at this:
[[image:hi48.jpg:Babe Ruth’s Plaque:center:0]]
That’s “the” Babe Ruth there! The Bambino himself, who cursed the Boston Red Sox after he was sold to the Yankees, and led the Yankees to many World Series while the poor Red Sox finally overturned the curse and won the World Series in 2004 after 86 years of losing. Anyway, enough baseball trivia. This plaque was by the tree right in front of the hotel:
[[image:hi49.jpg:Vin by Babe Ruth’s monolithic banyan tree:center:0]]
[[image:hi50.jpg:Looking up into the tree:center:0]]
One of the highlights of our trip: we then went out to dinner with Vin’s brother and his wife! This is why I know we will be coming back to visit Hawaii (hopefully many times) in the years to come, family members live here! It’s really a family vacation! 😉
We had a lovely dinner that was full of chitchat and catching up (we last saw them when they came to the mainland in 2005), lots of laughter, and looking through the digital camera to show them pictures of Lily. I would have taken more pictures of us together, but I was too busy participating in the conversation around the table and actually eating my (very yummy) shrimp pesto pasta. By the way, Vin’s entree at Cafe Pesto was just delicious! A seafood saffron risotto. Really good dish. After a lovely visit, they dropped us off and we made plans to see them again at the end of the week after our itinerant wandering around the Big Island (the poor dears had to work while we got to enjoy ourselves!).
[[image:hi_st10.jpg:Hilo Bay from our window:center:0]]
[[image:hi_st11.jpg:Another view of Hilo Bay:center:0]]
Note that the final frame in the second photostitching – rain came swooping in right as I was finishing up the final shot and you can see the difference in the picture quality. Tomorrow, we will go face to face with a volcano.