Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | December 31, 2011

Solo in Kona: My Hawaii Adventure Day #3

Aloha, ladies and gents!  It is the end of day three and I am sitting on my balcony, looking at the lights reflect off the water as I dry off.  I had my little night swim in the pool, and didn’t want to drip water all over my bed.  I hate going to bed with wet hair, so my evening will probably include a bit of a blow dry as well, since it is night and therefore not terribly hot.

The lovely Leilani dances the hula!

I spent most of the day being lazy, which is exactly what one is supposed to do on a Hawaiian vacation.  I lounged in bed until nearly nine o’clock, then had my relaxing shower and got dressed for breakfast.  I decided to venture out a little ways, and so ended up walking several blocks (and about a half an hour) to get to a little place called “Tante’s”.  A older woman played the ukelele and sang a little while I ate my eggs and fresh papaya.  Yum!

After breakfast, I got myself a Kona coffee at a little kiosk, then strolled back to my hotel.  It was close to noon by this point, so I went upstairs to change into a swimsuit and then made my way to the pool. I lay in the sun and read for about an hour, until I was so warm I decided to hop in the pool. I paddled about for about twenty minutes, then jumped onto a chair to dry off a little.  Of course, at this point, when I was wet and cool, the wind picked up and some dark clouds rolled in, and eventually my Canadian hardiness gave out on me, and I went back to the room to dry off and change.

After I had done as much, I came back down to the bar to read.  I sat there for 25 minutes without being offered so much as a menu or a water, so even though some guy offered to buy me a drink and tried to chat me up (ah, the perils of travelling solo!), I said no thank you, and then went to the little restaurant I liked that is a short walk from the hotel.  I got seated and served right away there. I really like it.  I just wanted a snack so as not to spoil my appetite for the luau, if it was going to go on despite the dubious-looking weather, so I just had a quesedilla and a drink called a Lava Flow, which was icy and delicious.

Calling on the conch, the luau can truly begin.

I went back to the hotel and changed and did my hair and makeup so I looked nice for  the luau, which was extremely awesome (the weather held, fortunately – in fact, it got warmer and I was able to lose my sweater part-way through the evening).  A band played while we were seated, and then when things were ready to go, we were lead to a big pit.  Now, I couldn’t see much because I am not willing to shove my way past people and I am short, but I did hear the narration.  In the morning, a pig is seasoned and split open and hot rocks put inside, then it is covered in canvass and leaves and buried.  This is how it cooks, and was a main dish at the luau.  There were several yummy things as well, and since I was at one of the front table, I got to eat early on.  I tried the Poi, which is this sort of mash.  I’m not going to lie, it is not something I will ever make part of my diet.  It isn’t gross, per se, but it just sort of tastes like the smell of babies’ pablum.  There was tons of food to try, though – coconut buns, Ono (fish), Ahi (that sashimi-like fish from before), fresh pineapple, different salads, so much.

Once we’d all gotten to the buffet, the entertainment began.  There were eight dancers, four women (Wahine) and four men (I didn’t catch the polynesian word), and they danced traditional dances ranging from all over, from Tahiti to Samoa and more.  The host also sang occasionally.  The dancers were all very fit and the feats, especially the men’s, were quite athletic.  I’m not sure how my pictures will turn out, since it was dark out and I wasn’t close enough to make the flash effective or tall enough to lift my camera over all the audience members’ heads, but we shall see.  Pictures will go up tomorrow, because my battery is currently charging.

Dancing with fire!

The dancing was incredible.  I know I’ve insinuated that already, but it bears repeating.  The women could move their hips like no one else, and the men were spectacular-looking standing still, let alone dancing.  I think one of the coolest bits was the fire knife dance that one of the men did.  He didn’t just dance with rapidly spinning fire torches, he ate fire.  He even held the lit ends of the torches with his feet for agonizingly long seconds.  They must have been coated with something, but still.

All in all, I had a lovely time, and sat with some good company (including Hanna, the Russian New Yorker from the other day), and had some delicious food and delightful Mai Tais.  Once the luau was over, I took myself to the pool, which was chilly given the night hour, but it was neat to swim quietly alone.  It’s still a little cloudy, so I couldn’t really see the stars, but I do plan to try out the salt water lagoon and stargaze one of these nights.  I’d have done so tonight, but it closes at eight, and the luau ran until quarter past.  Tomorrow, I have a long day of volcano exploring, so I shall sign off and finish drying my hair so I can crash.

Until tomorrow, aloha!

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