Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Setting foot on land - in Hilo, Hawaii

[Kyle]We had really been hoping to make it into Hilo in time for the big Lei Day festival, so we did just the bare minimum aboard Begonia to give us more time ashore. Since we had internet now, Maryanne decided to check on the particulars just before we left. Although our Lonely Planet guide says the Lei Day festival is the first Sunday in May. Lei Day actually moves around a lot, and is different for different islands. Sunday Lei Day was in Honolulu this year. Hilo’s ended four days ago!

All of the information we had said to take the dinghy to the beach in a nearby park. When we got there, it was full of people out enjoying their Sunday. We couldn’t see any other dinghies and it felt a little weird to be pushing past little kids playing in the sand to land the only dinghy in sight.

We had wanted to get that pizza we had missed out on in the Gal├ípagos, but there didn’t seem to be anywhere very close. A friend of mine, who lives here and commutes to Houston, had recommended a Mexican restaurant in town, mostly based on the tropical fruit margaritas, so the walk there and back became the new focus of our day.

This is exactly what we were expecting - just beautiful

Since it was our first time ashore, we ended up taking a very zig-zaggy path to the restaurant a mile and a half away. The route followed the shore through some very pretty public parks before finally depositing us in downtown Hilo with its strangely Wild West architecture.

The food was pretty good, especially considering we were pretty far from Mexico. The Prickly Pear Margaritas were some of the best non-alcoholic tropical fruit margaritas we’ve had.

A nice stroll through the gardens towards a promised cocktail

Maryanne spotted a grocery store and convinced me to stop in “for a few bits”. We walked out with a modest bag of food that slowly gained mass on the way home. I vetoed any more detours of any kind on the way home. By the time we got back to the dinghy, the bag of food weighed more than the three of us combined (me, Maryanne and the dinghy). It was like the bag had a couple of car batteries in it. How can that be? We only bought rice cakes, marshmallows, bubble wrap and a festive Styrofoam snowman for Cinco de Mayo! (??)

The area of town we are in is famed for its Banyan trees, they are amazing

One thing we did notice along the walk back home were what seemed like a lot of monuments and memorials commemorating the tsunamis of 1946 and 1960, which each wiped out huge swaths of the town. Well that was a little disconcerting.

Exploring the heart and history of Hilo

We were pretty tired from the nearly twenty-four-hour day and all of the jobs earlier, so our hearts were just not in it for heavy tourism. We tiptoed our way back through the picnicking families to our dinghy and headed back to Begonia.

Ah, it felt good to be home. It really did. It was nice to be able to sit together in the cockpit and chat freely and watch the sun go down without having to worry about the sails or keeping the log or worrying about getting to bed by a certain time so I am rested enough to relieve Maryanne after she has been up all night.

1 comment:

kate rodenhouse said...

I can almost feel it too: how content and happy you both were to sit and enjoy that sunset together! A lovely first day.