Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Big Island-Part 2

The next morning we went to the Waimea Farmers Market where we bought malasadas, a Portuguese imported confectionary which originally came from Madeira.  Lard and sugar were used up before Lent to make them, so you can get the idea of the caloric impact.  There are several bakeries throughout the Hawaiian Islands specializing in them. The one near Waikiki on Oahu where I went on my first visit there had a 15 minute wait to get them.  We washed them down with some good Kona coffee.  There was a large variety of local flora for sale, including things I never had seen before. 
The places the group visited were for the most part, not visited by the normal tourist.  And some of the events were hosted by a classmate who provided special access or inside knowledge of something to see that is not well known.  As a result, I experienced an enriched Hawaii known mostly to local Hawaiians. 

Along that vein, the next stop was to Kawaihae to see the Kamehameha’s Heiau constructed by Kamehameha I in 1790 to begin to unite the islands under one rule.  It is now a National Monument and also a living temple because the Hawaiians use it once a year as a spiritual and cultural gathering.
The park ranger explained that Kamehameha I built up trade with the outside world using sandalwood brought down from the mountains to trade with China who used the wood for incense. In return he received gunpowder and cannons which were much more effective that spears. This gave the king more firepower when he engaged in wars with the other islands. Eventually the trees were all cut down and the being a hard wood, they grow slowly.  This caused permanent change to the landscape. The king did see what damage was being done and halted the trade and began planting, but it was too late to bring the forest back.  It was at this site that his chief rival was murdered after being invited to talk peace.  Some 28 years later all of Hawaii was united under one rule.  
It was very hot this day so we all welcomed lunch at Spencer Beach Park on the Kohala Coast.  We had a generous lunch of local foods at an Oceanside pavilion and were free to spend time at the beach although we passed that opportunity to enjoy our hotel and its surroundings.

We were on our own for dinner that night so we drove south from our hotel down the coast and had an excellent dinner at popular restaurant, Roy’s Waikoloa Bar and Grill.
Sunday June 7
Every island has its wet side and dry side and most tourists only visit the wet side where most of the people live.  Our outing today was along the north Kohala Coast, the dry side, starting with the Lapakahi State Historic Park the site of an ancient fishing village.  The waters here are thought to have special healing powers and it is forbidden for anyone to have sunscreen or insect repellent on their body if they enter the waters.

From there we traveled further up the coast to historic plantation towns of Kapaau and Hawi, then continued on to the restored planation estate and church built my missionary Elias Bond.  The gggrandson spoke in the church to our group and gave a lengthy and very interesting lecture about his family’s history from the beginning of the Elias Bond’s arrival to the present day.  The church has survived earthquakes and lightning strikes and after restoration efforts it remains quite beautiful with its Spartan simplicity.
We drove down the western side of Mona Kea (the highest mountain in the world, if measured from the ocean floor) along a ridge with glimpses of the ocean and coast line, until we reached the winding, descending drop into Waimea. There we visited the Anna Ranch and toured her home before having a big bash there. I had never heard of Anna Lindsay Parry-Fiske before but learned about her contribution to the rich history of immigrant success stories that added to the cultural changes that occurred on the Big Island. She was a woman driven to succeed and she did.  
The dinner/luau was well attended at the ranch and three men sang their hearts out filling requests from traditional Hawaiian songs (most of which I had never heard) and popular early 1960’s tunes.  For sure Elvis songs were included as who could ever forget the movie “Blue Hawaii”.  Judith tells the story of how she wondered into the set during a scene shoot and was allowed to stay.  The King walked right past her on the way to sing his song.  He had dark makeup on to try to make him look Hawaiian.
There lots of songs to sing along with and even some hula dancing by a couple of women classmates.
To be continued.

1 comment:

GETkristiLOVE said...

Sounds like a great trip so far...
Is that a mai tai?! Yum!