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Not just any beach day.

My mom has been bringing home an interesting flower bud or two from her morning walks each day and placing them in water in a shallow palm-sized dish shaped and painted like a flower, provided by the condo. Neither plumeria nor hibiscis nor something yellow and pretty has survived until morning. The petals turn brown or the whole flower drinks up so much water it shrinks into a wet little ball. The flowers, the cats, the locals–no one wants to be indoors in Hawaii.

Today, we are going to the beach with the paved road, north of the “lava road” beach and farther from the airport. It’s also part of Kekaha Kai State Park, with its many little bays with difficult-to-pronounce names, and we hope this bay makes for a good beach. But we worry a little–if you don’t almost destroy your rental car getting to the beach, how great can it be?

It could be the best beach in Hawaii.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Why can’t I be as brave as this wee wahine?

Today, I need to grow a pair of kahunas. We’re going snorkeling, and I want to be brave enough to float 15 feet above a lot of tiny little vegan fish, and potentially a 50-foot starfish that can suck my eyeballs out of their sockets and then smother me to death.

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Waipi’o Valley overlook.

Today, we are taking a day trip to the Waipi’o Valley. I spent some time researching the hike before coming to Hawaii and read several blog posts saying it’s beautiful and interesting and strenuous, and there’s a great restaurant nearby in Honokaa. I’m sufficiently convinced to go–but no one actually says how to get there, how you’ll know when you’re there, or how to find the trail. I make a mental note to blog about the Waipi’o Valley day trip later and actually include directions–assuming we ever find it today.

I’m not the only one who’s frustrated. My parents return from a sales pitch for condo ownership looking like they could use a vacation.

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President and secretary of the Kona welcoming committee.

When we arrived yesterday, it seemed like a family’s cat had wandered onto the resort property. I pet her–she looked a little dirty and on the thin side, but feral cats don’t approach people and press their forehead against ankles and knuckles and purr. But it becomes apparent when we wake up and see the young orange tabby sitting outside our sliding glass door on our little first-floor balcony that perhaps this cat has nowhere else to be. We see a dumpster not far off, and near it, another cat. In all, there are three, who we’ll come to refer to as Nice Cat (ours), Not As Nice Cat (same orange and white stripes, but not as nice), and Mean Cat (a true black and orange tabby, who sometimes bullies Nice Cat). A well behaved stray, Nice Cat never tries to come inside our condo–she just wants us to come outside and pet her. She probably wants food, too, but we see that there’s a food dish near the dumpster. (Not to mention the dumpster.)

We establish our morning routines–mom with her prayers and walks, my sister with her runs, dad and me with our, sigh, work email. We all take turns sitting on the patio, listening to the birds, and probably watching the cats more than we’d like to admit. Read the rest of this entry »

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