Saturday, June 17, 2006

Hawaii Day 4

Friday: Woke up really early this morning after sleeping about 11 hours last night. Had plenty of time to finish making my lei (our homework) before meeting up with everyone else. Caravaning with 6 cars in a congested, unfamiliar place is not easy and it took us quite a while to get where we were going which was Kualoa Park on the windward side of the island. The long drive gave us plenty of time to enjoy the amazing views of the green mountains on one side of the highway and blue ocean on the other. Today, Uncle Clifford ran the show. He taught us all of the steps for making our own ipus (hollowed out gourds that we use as a small drum/implement in hula). We all already have ipus that we ordered a while back, but these will be much more special to us since we did all of the work on them. Here are the steps: pick out the gourd that best fits your hand, saw off the top (Uncle Clifford did that for us) clean out the inside using rocks/shells/files/etc., wash the gourd in the ocean with salt water and a scouring pad, clean and sand the inside and outside some more, rinse and tumble in the ocean again, let dry, stain, add string for wrist.

All of that took many hours but we got to enjoy beautiful scenery and weather while we were there (except for one brief shower). We had a great view of Chinaman's Hat, a small island off Kualoa Point. After we finished a few cars stopped for shaved ice on our way back. We were absolutely starving by the time we got back to Waikiki so even though we had been in and out of the ocean all day we didn't even bother to shower. We just changed clothes and hopped right back in the car to go to dinner. I went with two other families to a local favorite called Ono Hawaiian Foods, which is actually quite close to our hotel. (Ono means delicious in Hawaiian.) We are trying to avoid any restaurants that we can eat at in St. Louis and this was a perfect choice. I had kalua pork (yummy, juicy pulled pork), lomi salmon (basically fresh salsa with salmon), rice, pipikaula (Hawaiian beef jerky), and haupia (coconut-flavored stiff pudding). Oh, and poi. Everything was really good except for the poi. It wasn't terrible, but as they say, it is certainly an acquired taste. Our waiter told us that many people put sugar or soy sauce in it. I'd try it again altered a little. The folks at the restaurant were so nice - we got there just as they were closing but they stayed open just for us and explained everything to us (repeatedly).

I was talking to someone about Hawaii's mountains before I left and they asked if they were real mountains, or the large hills that we call mountains down in Southern Missouri. The mountains here are real and here's an interesting little tidbit to prove it. Mauna Kea, on the Big Island, is 33,476 feet from sea floor to summit, which would make it the tallest mountain in the world. It is Hawaii's only "white mountain" and if you want to ski it, you'll need a driver and a good vehicle. There are no lifts.

I'm off to find some good kona coffee before I go to bed, then we're up early to go to the swap meet at Aloha Stadium.

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