Please forgive me, but I HAD to take this picture!
(When I was a kid we changed the words to the song "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" I know we weren't the only ones to do this. I can't help but sing the new words when I see this picture!!!)
We had a delightful time at a beach on Sunday. We chose not to swim. Instead, we sat on some lava rock and watched people (see above) and spinner dolphins and black crabs.... so many different things to see!
We started off Sunday morning by walking to a non-denominational church just up the street. It was sweet sitting on folding chairs, under a tree, surrounded by people from many walks of life.... tourists, locals, old and young... rocking out to religious music being blasted from speakers placed in the 4 corners of the yard and the sermon being projected onto big screen tv's next to the speakers. It was a totally new experience for me. The pastor talked about Moses and why he and the Israelites were lost in the wilderness for 40 years... and while there were some doctrinal differences in perceptions of that experience, the underlying message was important. It was about prayer, about finding out what Heavenly Father's plan for our lives is, and about being patient.
Our group of 9 split up after that. 5 went swimming and snorkeling and Max and I and another couple (also LDS) went on a "Sunday Drive." We stopped at a state park where we got that gem of a picture above. It was a nice day where we tried to be calm and have a reverent attitude, even though we are on vacation.
Sunday evening was our Luau. Even though this isn't my first trip to Hawaii, it was my first luau. It was fun, most of the food was palatable and I (yes, ME!!!) tried food I haven't eaten before! The pork had a great flavor and I loved the roasted chicken. My favorite foods were the cinnamon bananas and the coconut pudding, which was similar to flan. I even tried the poi. And a Hawaiian sweet potato. And it was enough of a taste to know that I can live out the rest of my life without eating them again! ;)
Today, (Monday) started out bright and early.... and yes, I was ready. No one has had to wait for me yet!! We hit the road before 8:30 and headed to the other side of the island, to the Kilauea Volcano. I don't want to complain, but I was a little disappointed. I was hoping to see some red hot lava or something, but all I saw was a bunch of steam vents (like Yellowstone Park) (and it smelled like Yellowstone Park) and lots of lava fields (like Craters of the Moon). My Facebook status said that it was like Yellowstone married Craters and they had little volcano babies. But I took lots of pictures for Inigo. He might be interested.
I certainly loved the more tropical side of the island!! It didn't hurt that today was cooler and the humidity levels were less. My hair lost its "do" much later in the day... as opposed to the minute I walked out the door of our condo. Yes, I guage every day as to how my hair holds up. NOT! And I believe I must have misled you in my last post. My hair hasn't all of a sudden turned into fro-tight-curls, it's just much more wavy than it usually is in my dry, arid home town.
What was my favorite part of the day? Hearing that my daughter shoveled the 6 new inches of snow off our drive-way. I think that's the first time that's happened!!! Also I enjoyed, at the end of the daylight, driving to Akaka Falls (click on the name to see them!) and walking through a pretty intense rain forest. My only sadness was that it was mostly dark and I couldn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. Yet, there was enough moon light that it made hiking through a rain forest in the dark pretty awesomely cool!! The Koki Frogs (a.k.a. Coqui Frogs) were the coolest thing ever! I would love to download a video of their song, but my internet speed isn't fast enough to do that. Here is the link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=54-FzuE-wOu&feature=related. (If the link doesn't work type "coqui frog sound" in the search box. Then click on the 24 second video titled "Coqui") They were all over and would call to each other from each side of the trail. One on the left would sing his "Koki" song and one second later, you would hear the reply from the right. We shone our flashlights into the tree to find the source of the music, but we couldn't find it. At first it was thought that we were hearing birds, but upon inspection of the tree we knew there were no birds in it.
We also enjoyed spending time with Max's boss and his wife. They are the other LDS couple in our group, so we have frequently been paired with them (as a matter of fact, we are sharing the condo and car rental with them). They are our age and we have found a great new friendship! They have helped make this trip great!
Actually I have found 7 great new friends. When we came, I didn't know any of these people. Max works with them in another state and knew most of them. He kept promising me that I would love them and he was right!! I have really enjoyed spending time with them! We have had a really great time together. As a matter of fact, when we were in line for the luau yesterday, we were standing next to another couple and when they were getting ready to seat us, she said, "I want to sit by you guys. You are having too much fun!"
I don't know what's on the agenda for tomorrow. I think we'll finally get some swimming time in the ocean. We've still got to schedule our snorkeling and we've determined that we're going to get back to the Hilo side of the island to experience more of the rain forest. There is still plenty of things to do and, luckily, a few more days to get them done!