Hawaiian Noir

Murder Calls

Yesterday we brought the Big Island part of our vacation to a close. In six weeks, we saw parts of the island we has not seen before (Some parts had been added since our last visit in 2018, the lava filling in Pohoiki Bay being one f them). We also crammed a lot of activities into our stay. We spent four weeks in Kona on the Western side of the island. Most of that time we had the kids and grandkid with us, followed by my sister Anne and brother-in-law, Mike. We snorkeled, surfed, hiked, swam with the mantas, and toured Waipi’o valley. We filled the period between adventures with gin & tonics and poke.

After the Anne and Mike left, we moved to a condo in Hilo for two weeks, just the two of us. Instead of being close to a beach, as we were in Kona, we were close to tide pools and a tropical rain forest.

Carl Smith Beach Park, Keaukaha, Hilo,July 2021

Hilo, on the windward side, tends to get more rain than Kona. We had rain nearly every day. Some days were intermittent, while other days it rained all day. It was never enough to prevent us from doing what we wanted. Mostly we relaxed, visited the markets, and toured lava fields in Puna. There is a lava museum in Pahoa where we spent an hour and a half looking at the exhibits, learning about the lava flows and the geology of the islands from the curator. In Hilo, we toured the Lyman museum, which is marvelously informative about the flora and fauna of the Big Island. We also learned about the history of the Big Island, and, in particular, the immigration of different peoples to work the sugar plantations. The Hawaiian labor force had been greatly reduced by European diseases. First the planters imported Chinese. They were followed by Portuguese from the Azores. Then came Japanese, Koreans, and Filipinos. The planters hoped that by bringing in different groups, they could eliminate labor strife by making it difficult for their workers to organize. It probably worked for a time. but the workers did get together and developed a common language, pidgin english, which is a vibrant creole of Hawaiian, English, and all the other languages.

Music, of course, grew out of the mix. The Portuguese created the ukulele based on several instruments they were familiar with in Portugal. The ukulele, European music, Hawaiian chant, and music traditions from other cultures produce a combination that, like pidgin and like Hawaiian food, is unique to the islands. We discovered the Hilo Town Tavern which had live music several nights a week. We went three times to lear a local group called Kanikapila, who were great. They played all of the Hawaiian standards. Every night, people in the audience would get up and dance, and even join the musicians in performing some songs,

Kanikapila at Hilo Town Tavern with two dancers from the audience.
Hilo Town Tavern, July 27, 2021
Rainbow Falls, Wailuku River, Hilo, Hawaii.

Yesterday, we left Hilo and moved to Waikiki. Our new place on the 20th floor of the Colony Surf, which is at teh Diamond Head end of Waikiki. In fact, Diamond Head fills the view from our window.

Sunrise, Diamond Head, July 30, 2021.
Sail boats off Diamond Head, Waikiki, July 30, 2021.

We have a month here of mostly quiet time, ukulele practice, and visits to museums and old haunts. The temperature here is 82 and breezy so it doesn’t feel like 82. In Dallas and College Station, the temps are 98 and 96 respectively. Why go back?

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