mark twain says:

"travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."


welcome back to hilo!

we just got home from hawaii!

a while back, patrick and shannon (my cousin and his wife) decided that they were going to hawaii for their three year wedding anniversary. they invited andrew and i to join them since they never got a chance to visit us while we were living there. we left on the same day. they flew to maui and we flew to the big island. after four days they came and joined us on the big island and we finally got a chance to show them around!

anyway- back to day one:
even on an a.m. flight, it is best to start the journey off with a drink.
doctors and airplane people will strongly disagree with this logic, since flying dehydrates you.
but neither andrew or myself fly well. something about being in a gigantic zillion ton piece of flying metal soaring miles above the earth, totally unnerves us...

 we forgot to check our bags all the way to hilo, so there was a little scramble in honolulu to get our bags, walk them across the airport, re-check them to hilo, and get back through security.
but once onboard hawaiian airlines, we were greeted with smiles, p.o.g., and relaxation.

we landed happily in hilo, collected our bags, and rented our car.
andrew arranged for us to stay at a rented house that he found on craigslist.
[warning: this story is about to go downhill fast]
we arrived at the house (after some considerable concern for our little sedan's ability to drive through tons of mud) and saw 6 cars parked in front of a tiny house. the surroundings were stunning. audible waterfall, river flowing in backyard, massive jungle trees, and beautiful flowers growing all around.
we held our breath and crossed our fingers as we met "mike." mike is the homeowner of this "rental property." he is an overweight white person with greasy hair. he had a small hawaiian sidekick that didn't speak a single word. mike was dirty and his shirt had probably seen nothing but rainwater in it's whole life. he had a texas-esque accent. he pushed the door open, helped us inside, and then called back, "make sure you get that screen door shut! the mosquitos get pretty bad here."
i looked at andrew, completely expressionless, as we entered the house.
there was a sudden and horrifying realization setting in that we were not renting a house. we were renting a room. in mike's house. no sooner did our bags touch the floor that we could hear mike yelling "we have some new visitors from texas!" a young looking japanese couple walked out of the front bedroom and waved at us. mike explained, "other guests." 
the small hawaiian set to work fixing one of the cars in the yard while another man walked in, plugged in his cell phone, then sat down on one of 5 couches in a tiny living room. 4 of the 5 couches were stacked vertically. the kitchen was dingy and brown. the white linoleum floor was barely visible under the dust. mike showed us the coffee maker and the food processor and assured us that we were free to help ourselves to anything in the kitchen. he then offered to share some incense sticks that he had just gotten. "straight from india," he said, "i mean, this stuff will get you hiiiiigh."
(i dart my eyes from side to side)
we walked into our room and my eyes welled with tears. there was a dog barking hysterically outside. none of the windows had curtains, but all faced other parts of the house. the bed was a king size futon that probably had a new species evolving inside of it's stuffing. there was a smell. the carpet felt sticky and thick under my bare feet (hawaiian custom- no shoes indoors). i walked into the bathroom and saw an ancient washer/dryer set in the corner. there were eight half empty shampoo bottles in the shower. i walked back out of the bathroom. andrew and i sat down on the bed and stared at each other. i slapped a mosquito, then my eyes welled up with tears. in 10 minutes, i had 7 bites.
none of the walls in the house met the ceiling. this, combined with the fact that they were undoubtedly made of plywood, made it easy to hear between them. rather- impossible to not.
very few words were spoken between andrew and i.
mike told us he was going to home depot to get another key made, since he didn't have a spare to give us. we waited for his car to disappear, and then snuck out, bags in hand. andrew told the asian couple bye.

we drove directly to the hilo hawaiian hotel in hilo bay.
i arranged for a four night stay while andrew called mike to explain our absence.
mike was shocked. appalled. horrified. and angry.
he said that had absolutely never happened before, and that we were essentially robbing him, since he had reserved the room for us. we told him to keep our deposit, and call it even.  apparently he has people lining up for the tiny swamp house room.

god bless the hilo hawaiian hotel and their year round vacancy!

our trip couldn't have been timed more perfectly, for our friend david buck (goes by buck) was on spring break! we headed over to his place as quick as possible. he took over some of the things we couldn't bring back when we left. this map was one of them. glad it went to a good home.
 buck shared his extra surfboard with andrew.
we loaded them up on the little rental car and headed toward honoli'i.
andrew was so excited to be surfing again.
whenever i watch andrew surf, i post up at this spot under the bridge.
 a honu joined me.
it is a little pebbly,
but a blanket makes it comfy.
after a great surf day, we went to the local fish market "suisan." they sell the freshest fish you've ever tasted. we all got poke bowls. andrew got hawaiian on brown rice.
i chose wasabi and wasabi mayo on white rice.
 this is literally my favorite lunch ever.
 watch out for the seaweed chunks. they are healthy, but not my fav.
 we kicked off our "slippahs" and played a little frisbee in the park.
 this is a gorgeous park. you must go see it if ever in hilo. it is called Liliuokalani Gardens and it sits right on the edge of hilo bay. there are massive trees all over it and soft green grass between the ponds.
 that evening we watched the sunset from our balcony,
 and sighed a huge sigh of relief to not be sharing our roof with mike.
 and we headed off for a dinner party with all of our hawaiian friends!
 once again, we had such a wonderful time catching up and laughing, i forgot to take a single picture. our hostess fixed tons of food and a huge fish, cooked whole- japanese style. it was amazing. we ate until we were stuffed. and then dessert (which i did get a shot of). there were three dishes that you can't see in the picture. hawaiian know how to throw a dinner party.
if you ever get a chance to attend one- i advise:
try everything, eat past the point of being full, and make sure you contribute.
that night we slept well, knowing we wouldn't wake up with dengue fever.

the next morning we got breakfast from our favorite natural grocer-

 after a little more surfing, andrew, buck, and myself headed for some lunch.
naung mai is in downtown hilo and is also my favorite thai place on the island.
it is byob. (btw).
 the pad thai is my favorite (it is made with a lot of tomato and tofu). they serve the food family style, but we each got our own due to different spice preferences. medium is made with one thai chili. hot with two. thai hot is with 5. andrew asked for 6.
after lunch, buck took us next door to show us a new bookstore that he frequents.
still life books
it is owned by a very nice and very talkative informative man.
all the books are used, but the variety is seemingly endless. paperback novels, old classics, how to manuals, and history texts. the list goes on and on. fabulous!
that evening, buck invited us over for fajitas.
he is a fantastic cook and can produce some of the most delicious meals out of his tiny little kitchen.
the boys shared a few coronas while buck sautéed the vegetables.
 and it was unbelievable!
 hawaii is not a good place for sleeping in late. mornings are the best part of the days.
we got breakfast that morning at ken's house of pancakes.
"ono grinds- anytime"
they are open 24 hours and have a dish called "sumo loco" that would literally take me three days to eat. when someone orders it they ring a bell and the whole house shouts "sumo!"
 we stick to the mahi moco.
it's the greatest breakfast ever!
 that afternoon we went shopping for surfboards.
andrew found and purchased his first new board (all his old ones were pre-owned).
 it was made by the owner of orchid land surfshop (the oldest surfshop in hilo).
andrew was so proud- he toasted the new family member with a corona.
and then came the rain clouds.
it rained for about 24 hours-
but that is a normal hilo day.
just in time for patrick and shannon- a rainbow appeared!
all that rain makes for some stunning rainbows over little hilo town.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. this makes me want to go back NOW! I'm sad :( it was one of the best trips of my life! xoxo

  3. Same here! We should crash with the gentlemen with the spare room on craigslist.. all we need is some OFF and we are good to go!

  4. oh wow! that is a crazy start to the trip!! mike! wtf??? that is hilarious!! i mean- hilarious looking back. I can not imagine being there and having that happen to me. ugh! I would have been so scared! and I just want to eat the pad thai RIGHT NOW. that looks incredible!

  5. Hi-
    My name is Jane and I’m with Dwellable. I’d love to have this post featured on our site...Shoot me an email if you’re open to it and I can fill you in a little more.
    jane (at) dwellable (dot) com
    Really hope to hear from you,


about us