A Travellerspoint blog

The Big Island Part 3

Are these guys for real?

Thats right Phoebe! I'm talking about you!

But for everyone else reading this... I'll start somewhere that makes sense.

Trent drove us about 40 min. outside of Hilo down really bumpy and hilly roads. I got car sick. When we finally made it to his place (I have no idea how he found his place, it all looked like jungle to me), I couldn't believe it. He told us that he and his wife designed the house together, and I was thinking it was going to be built kinda half assed like many of the Hawaiian houses (I guess you don't need a house made of brick when a straw one lets in the Hawaiian breeze and you don't have to be afraid of the big bad winter). But this house, it reminded me of the houses we have back home, and it was lovely to boot. On the outside it was off white with a severely angled red roof that had its 2 plains come to a point, similar to a church's roof. Inside they led us to the first bedroom on the right. It was their eldest daughters room who was studying in college back on the main land (continental USA). Her room was pink with all sorts of quotes on her walls that were mostly from songs. Many of the song quotes I liked, but I was offset by the pinkness and the Jonas Brothers poster. Later her mom Erin would tell me that the poster was a practical joke she was going to play on a friend by giving it to them as a gift, but then decided that it was too cruel, so they hung it up in her room as a practical joke backfire. I have to admit, I liked her a little better after knowing that, which probably makes me a bad person because I've never even heard a Jonas Brother song. I've just seen the Jonas Brothers south park episode and heard about the drama with Hana Montana and and Tyler Swift, and that was enough for me to give them a bad wrap in my mind.

If you want me, the cherry on top
The pick of the pack, the creme du le drop
If you want me, you better do better than that
- Snow Patrol

Their other daughter Phoebe lived across the hall and was apparently still sleeping, waiting for us to arrive so she could make waffles. The rest of their place was a combination of some of my favorite houses back home. The high ceilings, spacious rooms, and marble counters (that Trent had cut and positioned himself) reminded me of Bob Steel's place (I still want to live there when I grow up... except for it being in Ohio); and the hard wooded floors covered with large warm colored rugs with the flat screen tv hidden in an elegant cabinet positioned in front of some very large and inviting sofas (like we don't know whats inside the cabinet with that setup) reminded me of Joe's parent's place. Nestled in the crook of the living room and kitchen behind huge glass doors was their pattio that they made the roof hang over just enough so they could have an entire outside room with tables and chairs that never get rained on even if the rain was slanting inward towards the house (a big thing to think about when Hilo isn't ins a draught). Trent led us out to the porch and brought us a huge bowl of lychees. These have brown skins that you peel off like an orange to reveal a translucent white, sweet yet strange tasting fruit that you sometimes see at Chinese restaurants floating around in water or light syrup and you've never been quite sure what it was. Then Trent yelled, "Phoebe, Rain and Joe are here!" and we heard a door open, close, then the shuffling of feet. I was expecting to see a 13 year old kid, but instead this really pretty teenager came outside who reminded me of Natalie Portman. Eyes still half asleep, and said "... So... Dad... am I making waffles?" "Yeah, I'd like a waffle, Joe? Rain?" I said that I was okay (but I was really very hungry... yeah, I'm a terrible guest like that), but Joe said that we could each use one. Phoebe, still half asleep, brought me out 2 and Joe 1. Then she put some pears on top, and I was in heaven (I miss real waffles made with real eggs).

Then Erin came out and we talked about our travels and what kind of music we like, and how Phoebe has allergic reactions to the sparkly vampire series (Twilight). Erin had to run to school or work, I can't remember anymore. I believe she had business degree, but then wanted to build her dream house so she learned a lot about architect and how you should never pay electricians before they do the work, and then she was going back to school for another degree, but I can't remember what, only that she was frustrated sometimes when she would have a lame paper to write and she wanted to have fun and hang out with us. Trent and Phoebe could hang out with us a lot though because he was on disability from being thrown out of an army helicopter with a none too soft landing, and worked part time as a swim team coach, and Phoebe was home schooled, so her parents allowed her to take some time off to meet couchsurfers. I used to be very against home schooling, but now I am thinking about home schooling after seeing how it worked for this family. She was very well adjusted and not at all creepy like some of the home schooled kids I knew growing up. And she had a really great relationship with her parents. I hope that if I ever have children, that I could make a family like theirs. It reminded me so much of my relationship with my mom and sisters, but without all the drama we blow up into from time to time. But maybe they just saved the drama for when the guests leave (not an uncommon practice). Joe said if anything he would want to send his kids to elementary school, and then home school them through junior high (its a learning experience sure, but we both agreed that they could have that learning experience latter in life after they get through their awkward phase).

Anyways, Trent and Phoebe took us to this warm spring tide pool that we had too take his 4 wheel jeep to because there is a 10 min. stretch at the end with no road, just lava rock. Phoebe couldn't go in because she had dance latter, but the rest of us got in and it was phenomenally better than cold spring water (but that might just be because I am a wuss).

(More photos from the internet... one day we will bring our camera back into use)

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And even though we didn't have goggles we could still see underwater because there wasn't a lot of salt in the water so you could open you eyes, and it was so clear and beautiful. Everything was distorted, but still wonderfully beautiful. Trent taught us a game that I realized was the reason I kept getting cut up while I swam. Its called make a mound of rocks in the middle of the pool for no good reason. You had to hold your breath the whole time while picking up a sisable bolder and running it to the mound of rocks and placing it on top. I did it a few times on different rock mounds, and then realized that this was why I kept thinking I was safe to swim backwards b/c I was in the middle of the pool... and then would hit rocks. My bad... my bad.

After we dropped Phoebe off at dance Trent went to swim team and Joe and I hit the outside market. On Saturdays and Wednesdays they have a market other than the farmers market that they have every day. I never had a lot of time to see the other half of the market, so we had fun wondering around looking at art (we had hopped to see Maya there, but she must have already left), clothes where we found Ciani and Jeremy a really great onesie for their new baby (that should be coming tomorrow in my present day and age... good luck guys! You'll do great! Remember your Kung Fu stamina and pain tolerance!), jewelry, and Joe found a stand that sold herbal fragrances. He has been on and off sick for the past few months probably more so than his entire life, so he settled for Rosemary which he is to dab on his upper lip anytime he is feeling sick or stressed for aroma therapy. I have to admit, it is also a pretty great cologne, but you only get that inviting smell if you give him a kiss (as it should be for any taken man *smirk*).

That evening Erin cooked a really big dinner for all of us and we stayed up uber late talking about the series that shall not be named (Sparkly Vampire), Harry Potter, Star Wars, the works. Erin had a really good point about Twilight (oops, sorry Phoebe... The Sparkly Vampire movie I mean). She said that she wanted to read the books before Phoebe read them so she would know they were okay (sure she did, she just wanted to be trendy... jk). And she didn't have a problem with daughters reading the books as long as they knew that this wasn't how real life actually goes (and being that both of her kids are well grounded, she didn't worry about them not figuring that out on their own). She did have one good thing to say about the books, and possibly the reason why they became so popular; she captures the teenage condition. When you are a teenager everything is life and death, take Romeo and Juliet for example. If they had survived a few years longer, odds are they would have grown apart and broken up. I say odds are because most people don't end up with their teenage sweetie. We find it wonderfully exciting in this society when we hear that 2 people have been together since high school. Its rare, because most teenage romances don't last. But when you are a teenager, you think that they are the one, and you can't fathom living without them! Like in that movie Dan's Second Love... I remember seeing posters for it in Europe, and thats what they called it. I have to look up what they called it in America. Hold on. Okay, Dan in Real Life, when his daughter screams "You are a murderer of love!" Stephanie Meyer really captures the emotional state of teenage obsession, but then she never grows out of it. Her characters are doomed to be teenagers forever, never maturing beyond the age of their faces. This is the reason why so many pre-teens connected with this vampire series and not the others that were actually well written (Ann Rice comes to mind), its because in those books the vampires get to become adults and stay pretty forever... every adults fantasy. But pre-teens. They don't want to grow up, because grownups are lame. They want to get a little older, and become what they idolize above all else... a teenager who gets to drive a car to school rather than take the bus. Am I being too hard on the followers of Twilight? Maybe I am. But when you hear about a friend of a friend who's life goal is to graduate high school, move to Forks, kill Bella and marry Edward... you start to wonder if you could ever be hard enough on the books.

So to all of those who are teenagers in their right minds who are sick of hearing about the Sparkly Vampire movie and would like to sit and watch Robert Patterson jump off a roof of a very high building with a bag of popcorn in hand... just remember, most adults think their job sucks (pun intended), and Robert Patterson cannot be held fully to blame for Edward:

"When I read it I was convinced Stephenie was convinced she was Bella and it was like it was a book that wasn't supposed to be published. It was like reading her sexual fantasy, especially when she said it was based on a dream and it was like, 'Oh I've had this dream about this really sexy guy,' and she just writes this book about it. Like some things about Edward are so specific, I was just convinced, like, 'This woman is mad. She's completely mad and she's in love with her own fictional creation.' And sometimes you would feel uncomfortable reading this thing." - Robert Patterson

My little sister tipped me off to this quote as a Robert Patterson fan (from Harry Potter, not from, well, you know).

We had only been with them for one day now, but I felt like we had been with them all week. It was the first home feeling I had felt in the past five months, and I don't know if I could ever express how much having that at this point in our journey meant to me. We were home. We weren't just staying over someones house where we felt like awkward guests or indebted freeloaders. They really made us feel like family, and when we finally settle down, their example is what I want to try to follow for when we have couchsurfers over. Everything except how trusting they were. This was one of the reasons we felt so close to them so quickly I think, but I'm worried that someday something may happen to them because of how they don't give you the benefit of their doubt. Let me explain.

The next day we slept in pretty late. When Joe and I woke up Erin had to take off for work or school, Trent had swim team he had to coach, and Phoebe had dance class. They knew that Joe and I were interested in going to downtown Hilo for some groceries, so they asked if we would like to drive with Trent to swim team, then take the jeep to downtown Hilo and drop Phoebe off at dance, then we could have the car for the rest of the evening because Erin would pick up Trent and Phoebe on her way home. They had only known us one day and they gave us the keys to their jeep! Now I know I come from an extremely sheltered life, but I still think that most people wouldn't trust a couple of strangers to drive their kid to class. Not because they may kidnap her or something extremely paranoid like that, but who knows what kind of driver they are. I mean, I have some friends I wouldn't be too comfortable asking to drive my kid around. But Erin was saying that if you live life aways afraid of what might happen to you, then are you really living? What kind of life do you have if nothing ever happens in it? I hate to admit it, but I fully agree with her. I just don't know if I am a stable enough person to go through with living that kind of open, loving, and trusting existence. But for material things, yeah, I think I've learned a lot about letting them go if someone is that desperate to take them. So sure, when we have couchsurfers of our very own, they can borrow the car. Let them take it if thats the kind of person they are. Maybe trustworthiness is even covered under some sort of insurance policy. But either way, life happens, and we will learn from it then rather than assuming we already know something about protecting ourselves from people out to do us harm.

After we dropped Phoebe off at dance we were supposed to take the jeep to the lava flow for one last try to see the lava, but then we realized that we didn't know how to get back to their house... bit of a set back since we also didn't have our new cell on us either. So we walked around downtown Hilo and bought some more childhood happiness, found a cuttion board for Stephanie and Champak (yes they are vegetarians, and they didn't have a cutting board!), and then headed back to her dance class to see if we could call her mom on Phoebe's cell. Erin gave us some good directions, but they told us to take Phoebe's cell with us just in case we got lost, and taking a teenagers cell phone... well, I think she handled it very well. Trent had tried to see the updates on the lava flow, but we couldn't seem to find any new information, so we just drove there and hoped. Unfortunately we got there and the same sign was displayed in front of the path of markers over the lava rock. No lava flow. This is the longest time period that the lava hasn't been flowing since it erupted in 1983. Dejected, but still hopeful (however that works), we started walking along the path of markers. 10 min or so later we came to a fenced in area, and there was no hiking allowed beyond that point. Several other people were there, looking out at the ocean a little ways in the distance. From this view point we could see both the ocean and the volcano, but most of the time it was hard to tell which mountain was supposed to be erupting. All the mountains looked the same from where we stood. So then we sat, and talked. About a half hour later it got dark and we decided we should start heading out soon. We did some Chi Gong and saw the occasional red light blink on the mountain similar to what you see when you look at the top of a cell phone tower, but we were told that we were actually seeing lava (yay?).

Then that evening after another welcoming dinner (Erin made some amazing mushrooms, and Joe burnt the chicken *smile and shrug*), we had a Halo tournament! We only had 3 controllers, so the person who did the worst at the end of every game would switch out controllers. I lost the first game, so I handed my controller to Phoebe. I play with the controls flipped, so while it would have been less annoying for Joe or Trent to hand over their controller, I could tell that neither of them were going to give in to reason so easily. So, even though Phoebe won the second game (by a lot), she still flipped the controls and let me play the next round. That round, I lost really badly again, as I did with every other round I played. I kept telling them that I needed a mouse and a keyboard, then I'd kick some ass. I don't think they believed me though. You see, growing up my dad wouldn't let us have gaming consoles because he said they'd rot our minds. He did however, let us have a computer. "Therefore, visa-vi, accordingly," I learned to play video games on the PC. So I did have Halo, and I was pretty good at it, but I just can't operate the x-box controller for the life of me... even if I flip the controls to be upside down. Erin was asleep because she had to get up early in the morning, and I was being kinda loud (I swear rather loudly when I get killed, and I was getting killed a lot), but it was Phoebe's turn, and she has a similar disposition, so one time Erin came out of her room and told Phoebe that she was being too noisy... and I kinda felt responsible. Like you could yell at your daughter to tell the guest something without being rude to the guest. Either that or she really did think it was always Phoebe (and again, I'm sorry).

And... we are sorry for kidnapping your dad. When we woke up the next morning Phoebe was doing some school work, and we had to eat some breakfast. Then Joe and Trent played in the garage for a few hours, and Joe came back with a soldering gun. I guess the two of them figured that it would be easier to solder inscriptions into the cutting board we got for the Hare Krisna house rather than engrave it with a knife. It worked like a charm actually. He burned the Hare Krisna mantra into the top, and then his philosophy about perseverance into the bottom (that phrase is becoming our white glove left behind by the jewel thief after the pink panther diamond). Then I used the gun to make a flute (poorly) playing musical notes (Krisna is depicted as a flutist), and in the area left from Joe's quote I made a Hawaiian flower being rained on (like my name). Then it was time to head over their house and drop off our gift, and Phoebe couldn't come. They said that it is not healthy for kids to go to Mauna Kea if they are under 16 years old. The altitude isn't good for them, so they were waiting to take Phoebe there until she is a little older. But I guess it wasn't too bad that we were leaving her all alone for the day because she did have a good deal of school work to catch up on.

At the Hare Krisna's, just as we were leaving the basement (I put the carving board on their counter since they weren't in), Stephanie and Champak waked in. It was good that we got to see them one more time and let them know that we were going to re-summit the mountain (and Trent borrowed some of the best limes he's ever had from their tree). Then... it was time.

Lets do this!

Stop number one, the visitors center, and the awesome red lighted restrooms to not spoil your night vision (red is the lowest frequency color light the human eye can absorb).

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Then we climbed, and what took us over an hour on our last climb... took us about 20 min in 4 wheel drive. Yeah, we left with plenty of time. We wanted to make sure we made it to the top so we could go inside the Keck again, but we also wanted to make sure that we didn't leave too early b/c we wanted to stay for the sunset (and it is really cold up there, so we didn't want to stay all day). The Keck closed at 4pm, and we were already out of the visitors center by 3pm, so we made pretty good time. And Trent mistakingly gave me his really nice camera (I rarely let it go). But he said that he just likes going up there, and that he's already taken all the pictures he wants of the place, so it was all mine. Cheers!

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That observatory that looks like a space helmet is the one that we met the technician who told us about people being allowed inside the Keck our first time we came to Mauna Kea.

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Above: Thats the Subaru on the left, and the Kecks on the right.

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Above: and those are the arrays that Horhay helped put up.

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Yeah, thats a pic. of me running (and I'm lightheaded from the altitude, lack of oxygen, etc.), but it was to take this picture, so you can imagine my excitement:

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Then it was time to get inside (and yes, it really is below 40 degrees F up there, and Trent is still in shorts).

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Unfortunately the mirror as perpendicular to us at the time, so it is really hard to understand what the photographs are of since you can't see the face of the mirror. But, oh well, maybe we were going to get inside the Gemini! Last time we didn't think our car would make it up to the second half of observatories at the very top, so we didn't even try. But Trent's Jeep could totally make it to the top, and one of the other swim team coaches works at the Gemini! So after running around the Kecks in a mad circle of pictures,

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1.) I get reprimanded for playing around with the camera when I should be posing,

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2.) I pose, but not the one Trent was looking for,

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3.) Good enough, now I can run around,

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we hopped back in the car again and headed for higher ground.

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Above: The actual summit of Mauna Kea (we didn't hike it b/c we decided to go to one of the highest lakes in the world instead... you'll see what I'm talking about in a minute).

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Above: Thats Joe and Trent putting the cover back on the Jeep, because its really cold driving with the top down. And behind them is the Gemini observatory.

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Below: And this is Joe running past the railings down some really loose soil and rock to fetch our map.

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We actually called someone on their little security box outside, and an astronomer came out and talked to us! It was getting late in the day, so now the observatories were changing from the tech shift to the science shift. But the guy Trent knew wasn't in at the moment, and the guy who came out to talk to us didn't catch on to the whole "we know a guy, so give us a tour" vibe. So, we had to settle for seeing the sunset from above the clouds instead.

But first, the lake. We would come back to Gemini to see the sunset b/c thats the highest point on Mauna Kea, but we had some time to kill before sunset. The Hawaiian's used to hike to with their baby's umbilical cords so they could toss them into this lake to bless the child's life. In the car driving to that spot Trent dared Joe to swim in it. Joe showed us that his fingers were already blue to weasel his way out of the dare.

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Trent finally maned up and put on some pants for the hike.

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And then Joe showed his true colors, and took off his shirts to do Kung Fu.

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And then it was time to hurry back up the hill for the token short Hawaiian sunset.

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And I did a Sun Salutation from Yoga, even though you are supposed to do that for sunrise... I figured you can salute the sun when it leaves too).

And then... sunset.

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Above: BTW, that mountain over there is Maui.

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And then we drove back down to the Kecks, and we stayed, and waited for the last bit of light to leave from beneath the clouds (we saw the first sun set, now it still needs to set below the ground), so we could see the stars from one of the best vantage points in the world (and no, none of our cameras were able to get the night sky shots... sorry).

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And while we waited we met a ranger up there who was hanging around to pick up a guy hiking to the summit of Mauna Kea. He started the hike from the base of the Mountain before sunrise, hit the Visitors center just before mid-day, and was now doing the finishing climb to the actual summit that we skipped in order to see the lake. From where we were we could see his little flashlight slowly make its way up the hill. I personally didn't think that it could be done in one day, and now I know first hand that the stories are true about how the Hawaiians would make the climb, hold a ceremony, and climb back down.

Okay, here are some cheat pictures I picked up off the internet. This is what we saw but couldn't show you ourselves:

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Early the next morning we invited them to come visit us when we get settled in Australia, and Erin told us that she would let us know that we would be coming for 5 days, and then only stay 3 (picking on us for our misunderstandings of each others time schedules). Then Trent drove us to the airport, and it was goodbye to The Big Island, and goodbye to Mauna Kea.

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Posted by - Rain 22:49

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