Monday, August 10, 2009

Hawaii Day 3: Hilo

A wild chicken and her baby we saw on the side of the road-- there was a daddy chicken too but he was too fast for my camera.

On our third day I woke up with my hives totally gone, but new bug bites in their place down my legs and on my feet. I had coated myself in bug spray the day before, but due to their location (one on the arch of my foot) I must have gotten them after we snorkeled since I'd had shoes on the rest of the day. So more itching was in store for me, but continual applications of aloe really does help. My head was clearer, but the motion sickness medication wasn't completely out of my blood stream, and I still had a hard time staying awake in the car.

In our guidebook I had found a place in Hilo where they made homemade mochi and I was very excited to try it. (Mochi is a Japanese dessert made of sweet rice pounded to a paste and then other things like fruit or red bean paste added to it). I made mochi from scratch in a class at Bastyr and it was very difficult and completely delicious. (You can also buy mochi already made in a health food store and bake it in squares which puffs up, but it isn't as good as fresh). When we arrived in Hilo the sign at Two Ladies Kitchen said they opened at 10am-- it was 9. So we drove to see the local waterfalls first. We went to one called "Boiling pots" and another called akaka falls. Both were crowded with tour buses full of tourists. We didn't take pictures-- they were pretty waterfalls, but we both prefer waterfalls a little more remote. When we were in Maui we would hike in to waterfalls we had all to ourselves and swam in the water below-- this didn't compare. We drove back to Hilo for Mochi, only this time when I read the sign more closely I discovered they are closed on Monday and Tuesday-- and it was Tuesday. We were very disappointed.

Instead we headed to the farmer's market. I was astounded at how inexpensive some of the fruit was-- anywhere from 5-10 papayas for $1! However I more than made up for the cost by buying a breathtakingly expensive dragonfruit ($5 a pound and it was 2 pounds). Above is a picture of the lady who sold it to me cutting it up for us. Inside it was white with little edible seeds throughout-- it looked like oreo ice cream, but the texture and flavor is like a kiwi only a little sour. We also came across a table with two teenagers selling some small fruits that looked like oblong tangerines and some smooth, dark red oval berries. The berries, we were told were called "miracle berries" and when eaten they make sour things taste sweet. We bought a pound of the orange things (I can't remember what they were called-- Jamaican something or other-- the kid told me they were very exotic which tells me they don't normally grow them in Hawaii), 2 miracle berries and 2 limes for testing the berries. I also bought a lot of papayas. We ate the dragon fruit immediately since it was already cut for us-- it was a lot of fruit, but very delicious.

We drove on to Waimea, a very beautiful remote valley. On the way we stopped at a smoothie stand recommended by our guidebook. I had a (very expensive) mango smoothie that was the best smoothie I've EVER had. It was very thick and creamy despite only having fruit in it-- I have no idea how they made it but I'd love to reproduce it.

Waimea is at the bottom of one mile of very steep, rough road. If you have four wheel drive you can drive in, but our little rental car was not making it, so we hiked. In some ways, the trip down was worse than the trip up-- it was so steep our knees and shins were burning. The view was spectacular and worth the hike. At the bottom we walked through nearly untouched jungle to the beach, where people were swimming and surfing. We ate our picnic lunch and headed out just as the rain rolled in. The hike up took a long time-- it was very steep. I was glad not to be the only one suffering as we passed some winded suffering hikers.

Back towards town we stopped in Hilo again where I got gluten free cookies and kombutcha at the health food store. We made it back to our condo before dark this time and I made turkey tacos with guacamole (I skipped the shells and had taco salad). Marc passed out by 7:30 again and I watched a mindless made for tv movie on the disney channel and went to bed around 9.

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