After being unable to get to the Mauna Kea Information Station, we were at a loss what to do next. Then I had a brainstorm. I asked Mike if he thought that giant traffic jam on Route 19 had broken up. Everyone in the car immediately perked up and we rerouted for Kona, where we planned to score some shave ice.
Is it any surprise that it took us forever to find our way to Kona? Even with GPS? Perhaps Pele the fire goddess was giving us a message. Or having a good laugh at our expense. I really think it’s the latter. After all, we're such a bunch of clueless haoli.
After what felt like a long drive, we finally arrived in Kona - after dark. Mike parked our car and we made our way to a funky little shop called Scandinavian Shave Ice.
Yes, I know. The name makes no sense. What could be less Hawaiian than Scandinavia? Plus, if I’m not mistaken, shave ice came to Hawaii via Japan. So, what the heck?
Oh, well, the where’s and why’s don’t matter. Because the truth is shave ice delicious and addictive! Scandi’s (as the people of Kona call it) is a popular place, especially on a warm night. We hopped right in line and waited our turn.
So how is a cup of shave ice concocted?
First shave (do not crush) the ice. Then shape it into a nice ball
Add the flavors next, as many as you’d like.
Then serve and eat.
Sorry about the above. My subconscious just leaked into my blog.
But shave ice IS the best. (Or "the bayst," as Nacho would say). In fact, shave ice so good, I’m planning a post-retirement career of buying a shave ice cart and going to street festivals.
I may or may not be serious about this.
Kona, of course, has other things to offer besides shave ice.
On the day of our departure, we checked out of the condo at noon and traveled back to the tough, but picturesque town. The airport is nearby, but since we did not need to be there until about 5 or 6 in the evening we wandered around Kona for a bit.
The locale’s full name is Kailua-Kona, but almost everyone seems to call it Kona. One of the historical buildings there is Mokuaikaua Church, the first Christian church in Hawaii (established by American Protestant missionaries in 1820). A wooden building was dedicated in 1823 but destroyed by a fire in 1835. A new building was immediately constructed, dedicated in 1837, and still is standing today.
Image from https://mokuaikaua.com/sanctuary-preservation-2/
Across the street from the church is Hulihee Palace, another historical building was constructed in 1838 and served as a royal vacation home. It is interior may be toured and inside you’ll find Victoria-era furnishings and other artifacts from the time of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani (reigned 1874-1891).
Naturally, we got hungry, so Mike suggested that we have an early dinner at the Kona Canoe Club, since it is right by the water. It has a varied menu, and this meant we all could have what we wanted, everything from burgers to New England clam chowder to a bucket of shrimp.
After eating, we came upon a seemingly random photo of Tom Selleck in the bar area. Naturally, Kristina and I had to stop and show our undying affection for him.
I still don’t know why the restaurant had that poster. I even tried to research it on the internet, but to no avail.
And of course I need to mention the honu, Hawaiian sea turtles. For some reason, they make me happy. To Hawaiians, the honu are sacred and their image represents many things: peace, long-life, protection, humility, spirituality. Their image is often found on t-shirts and as tattoos and look like the image on the left. But in real life, they look like the image on the right.
Image on left from: https://www.wcchc.com/Content/pdf/Trails/Honu-Trail-Learn-about-the-Honu.pdf; Image on the right is mine.
However, if you put a couple of hats on honu and slap them in an urban meme from a popular film, you get an amusing t-shirt.
That’s right. I bought the t-shirt. Kona is kind of a tough town, but honu are tough critters. And that makes perfect sense to me. The sacred is not necessarily all soft and lovey-dovey. It also can be intimidating and powerful. So there you are. Your bit of theological rumination for the day.
The time finally came for us to leave. We dropped off our car at the rental company. While we were waiting for our bus, I ran into someone you don’t see every day near an airport. I was all alone on one side of the building (I had to use the “facilities”). Meanwhile, the family was on the other side.
That’s when I came face to face with him.
Rooty the Rooster. He just happened to be hanging out and going about his own business as if he belonged there. The truth is, he did belong there. I was the interloper. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what his job was. He appeared to be the only domestic fowl at the rental spot. Do they normally hire roosters on Hawaii? Is this a thing?
Or, perhaps, maybe it was just Pele wishing me a whimsical aloha.
After all, anything is possible. Especially in Hawaii.
Thanks for putting up with my holiday chat. Aloha, everyone!
See you Monday with a new blog post.
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder