Saturday, January 04, 2003

Got Hula?

Aloha Friday at the Keauhou Shopping Center, Kailua Kona, Hawaii

We went to the mini mall, where Aloha Friday is recognized with ukelele lessons, lei making and an evening of Polynesian dancing. Corm popped and bagged pop corn; he's Poppa Corn Man. We sat near the stage where the women and keiki (children) entered. They are a talented group of girls and young women who perform traditional hulas and other Pacific Island dances. The young girls were especially fun to watch, because they wore their emotions so openly. One girl was clearly thrilled; she smiled broadly and seemed to be having a good time. Max stretched out on the concrete and munched pop corn, and we all enjoyed an evening of free and fun entertainment.

My brother Bill will appreciate this: after hula, we went to Bianellis for dinner. Bill went there with Ruth and Corm during Iron Man. They thought they were taking him to a quiet local place, but it turned to be full of the athletes and journalists that Bill knew. The restaurant is at a new and larger location; probably more convenient for the crowds. They still serve good food. Max was already sound asleep when we got there, and Alex nearly passed out as well. They were pretty tired after our afternoon tumbling around in the big surf at Kahaluu.

Today we head out to visit more beach and more cowboy country and maybe the farm too. I hope to find a well stocked feed store where I can visit some chicks and other livestock. I must be feeling a bit homesick for my own chicas.

Friday, January 03, 2003


This is Aloha Friday. Time to slip in to your favorite muu muu and head out in to the world with a smile and full heart.

I have to say it is very easy and quite a pleasure to pick up the local style and customs. This is a great place to be a woman, with or without curves. Back home dressing up means too much effort- the hosiery, make up, shoes and mall fashions. The sweet femininity of a flowing and floral dress, flowers in my hat or hair are a fun change from my usual uniform of jeans and T shirt. When we were here two years ago, my mom and grandmother were Hilo Hattie regulars. They were fitted for beautiful dresses of bright color, graceful cut and ruffles. Grandmother's straw hat was ringed with a lei of silk flowers. The photographs of them show their comfort and pleasure. They look pretty.

For some sad reason those same happy clothes just don't translate on the mainland. Even in casual California, the flowing tropical dresses seem too laid back, and flowers in the hair too cliche. I hope the Islands never adopt the cynical and dry fashions so prevalent in the rest of the states. Am I the only one who is tired of seeing raggedy, acid washed jeans with deliberate tears and worn like sausage casing? Too many clothes in magazines and on the sales floors look resigned to some dark and apathetic future. Pretentious sophistication. Tragically hip, come hither cropped tops or walking ads for some East Coast design persona. Yuck.

Hele on to Hilo Hatties and fit me for a big flower dress with room to breath and colors to celebrate. Or maybe I'll try on a purple sarong. For sure I will get some flowers for my hair.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Happy New Year!

Not something we can get at home, but these are from the Kailua Costco!

We were out at the acres lighting fire works, and gazing up at the heavens, and feasting on weenies au ketchup. The fireworks were loud and sparkly. The boys were thrilled to have the privillage of playing with minor explosives. Corm constructed a super deluxe toilet seat and platform. Geoff mowed a semi private area, dug a pit and leveled the ground for our lua throne. It was both rustic and lovely. (Geoff disagrees with "lovely." I was peeing and watching a million stars; isn't that lovely? Also, the option was to hike down to the Kukui tree, and no Mexican would ever drop her calzones next to a Kukui, no matter how you spell it.) So, with our tents, picnic table and entertainment we were set to welcome the new year. But who would ever guess that we'd be cold? Very cold! The frost was on the papaya, as the locals say. Shame it wasn't too cold for the mosquitoes! No matter. We had a good time.

On the 30th we drove up to Hawi and Kapaau. Hawi is small and artsy and a step back in time. We had a pretty good lunch there at Hula La, and then went on to Kapaau. Kapaau is smaller and artsy and a step back in time. The boys enjoyed running on the grass and around the coconut trees by the King Kamehameha statue. From here we drove the 250 from Hawi to Waimea, which is one of my favorite scenic drives ever. The rolling hills are Crayola green and the road winds around from rural ranches and up to summits with distant ocean views. Everywhere are cows, dozing or grazing, and wooly gray sheep on the gentle slopes. We could clearly see the observatories atop Mauna Kea. It is remote and quiet and timeless. At the end of the journey is Paniolo Country, where the Mexican cowboys came to Hawaii. Their contribution to the landscape and culture make it a familiar and comfortable place for me.

Today our hosts are at work; even in paradise. So, we are off to town to play at being tourists. I must buy post cards and take pictures of banyans, the bay and the boys. We may snorkel and swim some more, or kayak by the King Kam. Alex has not had his fill of guavas, and Max needs new shoes. I hope all our family and friends are enjoying the pleasures of a new year. Aloha.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Somewhere in the Pacific...

This is where we sat and chewed on sugarcane, and guavas. This is where we saw the humpback whales spouting and breaching. Mauna Kea stands behind us and the Pacific before us and the boys are running all around us. I am so happy that our camera was able to capture the rainbow that kept appearing and changing, the clouds touching down on the water's surface. The day was breezy and cool. Cool for a tropical Island. Film doesn't capture the mild fragrance of flowers and fruit, the smell of distant rain heavy clouds. You'll have to imagine the birds calling from the ironwood trees, the lazy moo of cows in faraway meadows.

We walked through cane as thick and tall as...alas, total simile void. The cane was taller than Geoff and growing so densely we had to stomp and trudge over and through it, with little indication of which direction we were heading. We were in search of a safe passage across the gulch. Along the way we found a lava tube, and an old cane road, and a dry waterfall. And once we crossed the gulch we stood in an avenue of ironwood trees. They stood apart, making a soft and graceful path, and above their branches swayed to meet. This is where I sat and gave thanks.

The ironwood trees across the gulch.

Corm and Geoff at the bottom of the lot, Hamakua, Hawaii.

Towering over my head, the lovely sugarcane.

Cyrus, Stephen, and Alex with his favorite fruit, and Geoff. Checking out Ruth and Corm's newly finished garden shed.

Our dear neighbors and friends from back home met us in Hamakua :: Stephen, Candace, and Cyrus

Looking east, out over the Pacific, where we've been watching the whales, and rainbows.
Geoff and Max were out exploring the newly mown grass.