We’re having another slow morning today, downloading photos off our cameras, blogging and recovering from our marathon day trip to the big island of Hawaii yesterday. Beth booked a trip with Polynesian Adventure Tours that required us to get up by 4:30 AM and didn’t get us back to Oahu until about 9:30 PM. It was a difficult schedule, but worth it for all the ground we covered, and the cool sights we saw. These included: the Mauna Loa macadamia nut farm and factory, an orchid farm, the Kilauea caldera, the black lava plains of Kupaianaha, and a distant view of new land being made where magma is spilling into the sea. It being daytime, we couldn’t actually see any red glow, but the huge acidic cloud hovering over the outlet repeatedly pulsed with brownish explosions. Hot stuff!
The other big day trip so far was to the Polynesian Cultural Center just north of us in Laie. It was a total tourist trap, complete with staffers who took photos of each group to be sold later at $18 a pop, some sketchily differentiated “island” areas with timed programming of music and dance, an Imax theater, a buffet-style luau, and a final stage show titled “Horizons” that had some cool fire-juggling at the end. The weirdest thing about the place is that it is owned and operated by Brigham Young University — a Mormon college with 95% Mormon students. Being a skeptical person, I kept wondering what religious agenda the place was trying to promote, but I never identified anything. It just seemed like a money-making venture.
The rest of our time has been spent in Honolulu at the zoo or various restaurants, hiking, swimming in the deliciously warm ocean at the beach, and driving on roads with names like “Kamehameha”, “Likelike” and “Kalanianaole”. It’s all starting to seem normal. Nice!
I hope to post at least one more dispatch before we leave next week. In the mean time, check out the new Hawaii photo album in my gallery.