Saturday, November 04, 2006

3 November 2006 (10:45 HST)

We checked out of Shark’s Cove and headed up the hillside to see the Puu O Mahuka Heiau, which is an old religious site. I say old because it dates back to pre-European discovery and it is in ruins.
The most fascinating part of the experience though was that there was an offering (or several offerings) laid at the alter. There was an assortment of fresh fruits and flowers, live leis, money, and even packaged cookies. The area was surrounded by the remains of stick incense. It obviously had been added to recently and seemed in regular use. While I was reading one of the signs (and Julie was back at the car talking with Brian on the cell phone) a helicopter swooped in over head. I thought it was flying pretty low, but assumed that it was on a tour, and they were showing off the site. Then a man with a construction truck whistled to me and waved his hands indicating that I should leave. As I left the helicopter landed in the field I was standing in. A man jumped out with a cable and attached it to some supplies in the back of the truck and took off again, carrying the supplies with him. I assume that they were working in some inaccessible place. It was amazing how much wind the blades of that thing kicked up.
Next, we headed along the north shore to see some of the famous surfing spots. Supposedly, two of the most famous are the Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. The surf was pretty mild when we stopped, but there were a lot of surfers getting pretty good rides. We rounded the island to the Windward side (East) and stopped for a picnic lunch of bread and cheese at Malaekehana Bay State Recreation Area. The sales woman that we spoke with yesterday at the soap factory mentioned that living in Hawaii is like living in a foreign country. (She is from Ohio, we found out after she roused our curiosity by comparing a local nut to a buckeye.) The vast majority of people that we see are from Asia and most of the names of the roads and places are practically unpronounceable. Trying to read a roadmap is a challenge, since there may be two roads with almost the same name, with only one or two letters different (and way too many vowels). We had thought that we might go snorkeling today, but I have been somewhat scared off by all of the warnings of strong rip-currents. The north shore is supposed to have good snorkeling in the summer, but now it is surfing season with a much more treacherous current.
After lunch we stopped at the Kahana Valley State Park to check out a trail up the valley. It was very odd because we had to park at the “entrance” and walk along a road to the trailhead. The road was in a beautiful area but lined with half-built, run-down homes. We met a group of three hikers who had just completed the trail in about three hours. The trail is a loop and near the end it crosses two streams which they estimated to be about four feet deep. One of them had a cable running across it to help you keep your balance (there was a pretty strong current), but the other one didn’t. They suggested that we don’t try to ford the stream if we had anything that we didn’t want to get wet. For me, who never goes far without my Bat-Utility belt with my camera, lenses, binoculars, etc., it didn’t sound like a good idea. We walked down to see the stream, though. I don’t know what we would have done if we had walked the loop and had come to those streams after having hiked for 2 ½ hours. It was good to get into the woods (or jungle, or whatever it’s called). It was very dense. I wonder how much of it was native and how much was exotic. We added several new birds to our life-lists. Most appear to be common species introduced to Hawaii. People are probably amused watching us get excited about the Hawaiian equivalent of a starling.
By this time it was getting late enough in the day that we were concerned about getting to our condo while it was light. We had to find the first accommodation in the dark and it was not easy. The further south we drove along the eastern shoreline the more the scenery began to look more like what I picture as “Hawaii”. The Ko’Olau Mountains rise so steeply from the coast that I can’t imagine that you could do much hiking up there. At one point we had to head inland to cut across the island on Likelike Highway towards Honolulu and I thought that we were running into a wall of vegetated stone. In reality, the road went into a tunnel, which must have been quite a feat to build. We wound our way through Honolulu traffic and found Celebrity Resorts, where we will stay for the next seven days. It is a very different feel from the first few days on the North Shore. We are in the middle of a city, and while we are supposedly only a few blocks from the beach, I find it hard to believe. Parking is a challenge since the complex has 70-some units and only 13 parking places. We went for dinner to The International Marketplace, which was basically rows upon rows of tourist shops ending in a “food court” which had over a dozen different take-out places offering everything from hotdogs and hamburgers to sushi. I had a chicken and a mahi-mahi kebab over rice, while Julie had Chicken and steak kebabs with noodles. After dinner they had a group perform Hawaiian Hula dancing. It was enjoyable and interesting because all of the performers were from the same family and the mother was very openly thankful that her whole family could share the performance. She mentioned that her family was from the Kahana Valley (where we had been earlier in the day), and I am pretty sure that I waved to her on her front porch when we were walking by.
We found out tonight that our complex does have high-speed internet available, but it costs $10/day. I’m too cheap for that. I tried to hook into one of the other wireless networks that are in the area, but haven’t been able to find a strong enough signal. We will probably stop at the library tomorrow.

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1 Comments:

At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Phyllis said...

Sounds like you are having a great time.

 

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