Wednesday, April 1, 2020

February 25, 2020 A Day in the Life...Hawaii Style with Words, Photographs & Lyrics

Chapter One 
A Day in the Life
"Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up, I noticed I was late...
...And somebody spoke and I went into a dream" 
- John Lennon & Paul McCartney
I love getting up early to see the sunrise. It's a beautiful start to a day when the only sounds are the birds or the morning breeze rustling the leaves. I sat outside on the deck with this view of the front yard. We got in late last night heard the coqui frogs but couldn't see much...
...so I walked around our house in Pahoa taking pictures of another wonderful place in paradise.

I'll admit it is really easy to relax while on vacation especially in Hawaii.  

But I do this at home and it is just as relaxing for me...though I'll admit the scenery is better here.

 Chapter Two
The Ocean Breathes Salty
"The ocean breathes salty, won't you carry it in?
In your head, in your mouth, in your soul.
And maybe we'll get lucky and we'll both grow old.
Well, I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I hope so."

We walked five minutes down Kalapana- Kapoho Road to Kehena Black Sand Beach. We had to climb down the rocky cliff to get on the beach.


 I stopped halfway down to take pictures of local artwork... 

...and important messages.

Everyone else continued down to the beach. I stayed because I loved watching and listening to the waves crash into the rocks.

The views from here were incredible. 

Another beautiful day, we've been very lucky with the weather so far. 

Looking at the black sand beach mostly covered with water...

...and loving the sound of the ocean crashing into the shore.

It sounds the same in black & white.

I could have sat here all day long.

But everyone else was on the beach including Christy climbing down the rocky cliff.

Tom & Laurie on the beach. I'm not sure if the black sand makes Tom's legs look whiter or his legs make the sand look blacker.

I have been to a lot of beaches in my life. I can thank my parents for passing their love of beaches down to me. I honestly can say that I found something to love about every one of them. 

But this might be the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.

I usually say my photographs don't capture how impressive the scene is in person. But this place is so beautiful it is easy to take great pictures.

It wasn't easy to get into the water. It's a very rocky beach and the waves were crashing right on the shore.

So I wandered around the small beach...

...trying to take pictures without the naked locals in them. Yes, this is a clothing-optional beach. I could care less but it does make me look like a weirdo taking pictures. 

"Well that is that and this is this.
Will you tell me what you saw and I'll tell you what you missed,
when the ocean met the sky. (You missed, you missed)
You missed when time and life shook hands and said goodbye. (You missed)
When the earth folded in on itself. (You missed)
And said "Good luck, for your sake I hope heaven and hell (You missed, you missed)
are really there, but I wouldn't hold my breath." (You missed, you missed)
You wasted life, why wouldn't you waste death? (You missed, you missed)
You wasted life, why wouldn't you waste death?"


Tom & Laurie climbing back up to the street.

Me taking another picture from this spot.

After a few days with me, Tom & Laurie realized they would be photographed a lot on this trip.

They also realized what Christy has known for years...I stop to take pictures of whatever I see that interests or amuses me...just keep walking I will catch up...eventually. This time it was the "I'm With Greta" decal.

"The ocean breathes salty, won't you carry it in?
In your head, in your mouth, in your soul.
The more we move ahead the more we're stuck in rewind.
Well, I don't mind. I don't mind. How the hell could I mind?"
- lyrics by Modest Mouse

Chapter Three
Mardi Gras
"While you stroll in New Orleans
You ought to go see the Mardi Gras
If you go to New Orleans
You ought to go see the Mardi Gras
When you see the Mardi Gras
Somebody'll tell you what's Carnival for" - Professor Longhair
Since today is Mardi Gras, we are listening to nothing but New Orleans music while driving across the southern part of Hawaii this morning. Thanks to Laurie and Christy reading about a farm to table restaurant in Pahoa called Pele's Kitchen, here we are in a place that looks and feels like New Orleans. I guess you could call this a strange coincidence, but this seems to happen to us way too often...so let's call it fate. Yes, I believe a higher power wanted me to eat here.

Clearly, we are not in New Orleans. This is our $5 local fruit sampler. Yes, I had an appetizer with breakfast. Don't judge me, it's Fat Tuesday. Most of this was delicious, a few were what is politely called an acquired taste. Either way, I loved it. If you want to know how damn good the rest of the food was here, I started eating everything else as soon as it arrived. That's why there are no other pictures. Sorry, not sorry.

Happy Mardi Gras everyone. I have until the end of the day to figure out what I will give up for lent.

It definitely will not be taking pictures of murals.

Chapter Four
Walk on the Ocean
"We spotted the ocean at the head of the trail
Where are we going, so far away
And somebody told me that this is the place
Where everything's better, everything's safe
Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone" - Toad the Wet Sprocket
Our next stop was Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. I know you are shocked that I stopped at another beach. We are here to hopefully see turtles and hang out on the beach.

We saw turtles as soon as we walked away from the main beach.

All these close up shots were taken by Christy. 

This beach is known for Large Green Sea Turtles (Honu) and Hawksbill Turtles (Honu'ea). Both are endangered and should not be approached by humans.

I believe these are the Green Sea Turtles.


It doesn't appear to be an easy task for these turtles to get on this beach.

The park rangers and volunteers rope off sections on the beach where the turtles decide to warm themselves in the sun.

Laurie was happy to see the turtles.

Eventually, we all wandered off on our own at times and crossed paths sometimes.

Christy taking pictures on the shoreline.

I've written this many times, Mother Nature always amazes me. 


I love to read the Hawaiian folklore that is scattered around this island. This monument is for a large green sea turtle named Kauila who was able to transform into a human girl who protected the children playing on the beach here.

I kept walking further out on the lava along the curved part of the beach

I found Tom & Laurie out here.

The lava continues to amaze me even though I've seen it everywhere we have been. 

The black lava adds nice color contrast to photos.

I guess Christy found me. She looks disappointed that I'm still alive. Okay, let's talk about this picture. Every morning on this trip I put on board shorts, a t-shirt and this hat when I am out in the sun too long. In my head, I fit in with the local beach culture in Hawaii. Then I saw this picture and realized that I am just another fat American tourist who has no clue about dressing properly. Now I hope Christy does find me dead washed up on the beach.

A group shot by Christy.




Christy was camped out here, enjoying the sunshine and solitude.
After wandering aimlessly, we headed back to the main beach.

I took a path through the camping area and found this colorful display. Not sure if it is a memorial or for Mardi Gras.

Along the way,  we passed the turtles again. Maybe the same turtles, maybe not. It's very hard to tell.













Laurie and I went swimming at the main beach. Once again, it was a very rocky bottom and small waves. But it felt good to go into the ocean.

While I was swimming, Christy took pictures of these Muscovy Ducks.

A face only a mother could love.


After a wonderful afternoon at Punalu'u Beach, we said Aloha and headed to America's southernmost bakery. 

Chapter Five
Malasadas for Mardi Gras
"Trumpet bells ringing
Bass drum is swinging
As the trombone groans
And the big horn moans
And there's a saxophone
Down in the Treme
Is me and my baby
We're all going crazy
While jamming and having fun
Hangin' in the Treme
Watchin' people sashay
Past my steps
By my porch
In front of my door
Church bells are ringin'
Choirs are singing
While the preachers groan
And the sisters moan
In a blessed tone" - John Boutte

You know what they say, when in Rome. If we were in Chicago, we'd be eating paczki. In New Orleans, it would be a king cake or to stay with fried dough it would be beignets. But we are in Hawaii so it will be Portuguese malasadas....don't ask me why...I'm just visiting here. We continued our Mardi Gras celebration at America's southernmost bakery. Punalu'u Bake Shop is famous for its malasadas. 

I walked around while Christy stood in line to get some malasadas.
I relaxed under this very impressive banyan tree.

Then Christy showed up with this very impressive box of malasadas. For guys like me, Fat Tuesday should be a national holiday.

Obviously, I wasn't the only one enjoying these tasty treats.

Chapter Six
Ka Lae 

"I feel so wonderful
Wonderful, wonderful the way I feel
Doesn't matter to me
I can take it or leave it
I can learn from way back when and still live right now
With the sun on my shoulders and the wind at my back
I will never grow older at least not in my mind
I feel so wonderful
Wonderful, wonderful the way I feel
I'm going where there ain't no fear
I'm going where the spirit is near
I'm going where the livin' is easy and the people are kind"

Because we were only thirty minutes away. Because Tom & I are geeks for this type of thing. We drove further south to Ka Lae. The southernmost point in the United States. This is a mix of sacred lands and a place far enough from the authorities that you can ignore signs that tell you not to jump off this cliff. I love that there is a launchpad, first aid kit and a ladder to climb back up the cliff. But it also has a sign warning you not to jump. I always find that only certain types of individuals travel to places this far off the grid. Some come here for fun, some to avoid the authorities and some are dorks that like to tell people they've been to the southernmost point in the USA. I'm pretty sure the daredevils and the criminal types have picked up women in bars with their stories about this place. I'm also sure that no one has ever picked up a woman in a bar by bragging about visiting the southernmost place in the USA.
Some locals enjoying a beautiful evening on the cliff.

Once again each of us wandered off to explore on our own. I am always happy to find renegade art in places like this one.

I learned that this is a sacred place for Native Hawaiians. So there is anti haole (slang for Non-Hawaiians) sentiment, along with anti-government messages here.  

If you want to read the message, click on the picture to enlarge it. 



I learned a lot about Hawaii here. I love places like Ka Lae. 

This is the site of one of the earliest settlements in Hawaii. It includes the earliest recorded occupation site (124 AD).

Laurie and Tom (not pictured above) love historical sites like I do.

Even though it felt a bit desolate driving in, this place is beautiful.


I haven't mentioned but it was extremely windy here. As you can see by the ocean spray above that beautiful wave.


Warning. The guy writing this blog really loves pictures of the ocean.

He knows he has a problem and that's the first step to recovery.



Apparently, he has a lot more steps to go until full recovery.



I love spending time on Lake Michigan's beaches. But every time I spend time on an ocean beach, I realize how much I miss the ocean.

This is what I saw when I turned around from the picture above. 

Chrissy finally found me and made me walk back to the car.

Hey Tom & Laurie, I couldn't decide if I liked this picture in color or B&W. Let me know which one you like better.


Christy took this group shot. She suggested we take it near the edge of the cliff. Since I was the one most likely to be pushed over the edge by someone in this group, I decided this was a better location for this picture.

While driving out of this area, Laurie & I wanted to stop again to take pictures. Since I was driving, we stopped and took more pictures. The sun was low in the sky and lit up the grass beautifully.

The golden sunlight also lit up the cliffs. The ocean was very calm on the west-facing side of this peninsula.

Chapter 7
Do You Realize?

"Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face
Do you realize we're floating in space,
Do you realize that happiness makes you cry
Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round - The Flaming Lips

We enjoyed a tasty dinner in Na'alehu at the southernmost restaurant in the USA.


I had to back to the car to get my glasses and was lucky enough to get these sunset photos.

What a great way to end our day. I stayed out here for a few minutes to relax, enjoy the sunset and think about how lucky I am to have days like this with Christy and friends like Tom & Laurie. I also realize that life goes fast, it's hard to make the good things last. That's why days like this are so special to me. We didn't do anything impressive or extraordinary but this is a day I will remember fondly for a long time. I also realize the sun doesn't go down, it's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.
Oh wait a minute, it's the end of day and I need to give up something for lent. I joked about giving up the continental United States so I would have to stay in Hawaii until Easter. Maybe it wasn't a joke. I have six days to find a job here. Sweet Baby Jesus will I really go to Hell for breaking my Lentil promise. Just in case, I'll also give up hamburgers as a backup plan.