We decided to take our visitors, Sam from Tokyo, Jud from Burma (Myanmar) and Shirley from Taiwan to the Big Island. This would be especially nostalgic for Jud since the company he worked for built the Kona and Hilo airports.
Our first stop was the Farmers Market in Hilo where we once again bought flowers for Art's parents' columbarium in Honokaa.
We stopped at Rainbow Falls to admire the beautiful sight.
After walking through Honokaa again we drove to Waipio Valley where taro is still grown.
Kamuela is a gorgeous town where green hills reminded me a bit of what I imagined Ireland would look like. We had fun posing with a figure of a paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy).
We walked through Kona and enjoyed the beautiful sunset while we savored some delicious Kona coffee ice cream.
Art reserved a large 2 bedrooms, 2 baths vacation condo (Kona Coast Resort) which we really enjoyed.
The furniture had a teeny bit over the top Hawaiian motif which we smiled at. When the cost was divided between us, it worked out to a reasonable $35 a person.
We didn't use that fancy tub but we had fun looking at it.
The following morning we went to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau's City of Refuge.
This was a "place of refuge for defeated warrriors, noncombatants in time of war, and those who violated the kapu, the sacred laws. This place was used for several centuries."
Black sands beach at Punalu'u Bay in the Ka'u district had tiny, shiny olivine crystals mixed in the lava sand.
We noticed a sea turtle resting on the beach and then found a plaque that told of the legend of Kauila.
Kauila, the mystical sea turtle had her home in the Ka'u district at Punalu'u Bay. She had the ability to turn herself into human form and would play with the children on the shoreline and watch over them.
No trip to the Big Island is complete without a trip to the Volcanoes National Park. We first visited the Halemaumau crater and saw the huge plumes of volcanic gases that cause the terrible vog which has been rather harmful to people and agriculture.
Kilauea Iki is still an impressive sight. I could just imagine what an amazing sight the 1959 eruption must have been.
We drove back to Hilo and bought strawberry mochi (a giant strawberry encased in mochi and azuki beans) and a box of assorted mochi from the Two Ladies shop, chocolate dipped shortbread cookies from the famous Big Island Candies and some thinly sliced shoyu beef jerky from George's Meat Market.
I called Mavis, my high school friend living in Hilo to give us a recommendation for a place to eat. She suggested New Star Chinese Restaurant. The food tasted as good as it looked.... so much so that I forgot to take a photo before we started digging into the scrumptious dishes.
Dinner over, exhausted but thrilled with our happy travels, we boarded our Hawaiian Airlines flight back to Oahu.