Crazy American Cars (and other things)

You’ll all be glad to know, I’m sure, that I have successfully managed not to kill, maim, or otherwise cause injury to myself, Rohan or anyone else (or their property) since taking possession of a car. An American car. You know, the kind that drive on the opposite side of the road to the kind I’m used to. We did fail our first test, though: working out how to move the seat forward and back. It turns out there’s a button, and it does it all automagically; I’m not used to that. I’m not used to a lot of things that this car has: headlights that go on automatically, remote locking that requires two pushes to unlock the passenger doors, and the list goes on. This car is full of fancy, and I’m not really sure I like it that much. But on the plus side, I am getting used to driving on the wrong side of the road, and gauging speed in miles. That’s good, right?

A Fern!

We’re currently in Hilo, which is one of the wettest places I’ve ever been, although it’s mostly drizzled rather than actually rained. The humidity is astounding. So is the sound of the frogs, outside the window. Hilo is not really a tourist centre the way, for example, Waikiki is; the accommodation choices are limited. We’re in a tidy little motel which has one definite advantage: cooking facilities. Specifically, it has a gas stove, and I am in love. After a number of disappointing breakfasts, Rohan made us eggs this morning, and they were wonderful.

Actually, we’ve had impressively good food here all ’round. After two nights, we’ve had two excellent dinners (one Italian-esque, the other Mexican), both of which were definitely superior to what we had in Waikiki. I’m pleased and relieved by that, because I simply wasn’t sure what to expect. Hilo is small, and rather more focused on locals than tourists, it seems, though there’s still plenty to do and see.

Lava Tube

Lava Tube

After shopping and cooking this morning, we headed up towards Volcano National Park to see (guess what!) the volcano. Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983, and since that’s longer than I’ve been alive, I find it pretty impressive. I have actually visited the park before, back in 2001, but I admit I found it significantly more interesting this time around. It’s a little depressing in retrospect, remembering all the things I saw and did as a child or teenager, and realising how little I appreciated them. On the plus side, coming back here with Rohan was well worth it, and I clearly had enough positive recollections to make that happen – go me. These days, the actual lava flaws are mostly on private land which means it’s not possible to get too close, but we’re going on a helicopter trip tomorrow that should satisfy our desires to see it molten and hot. In the meantime, we saw an impressive amount of igneous rock, and that remained pretty awesome. Particular highlights were definitely the lava tube and desolation trail– two completely different examples of what volcanic activity can do.

Desolation Trail

On our way back to Hilo (it’s about a thirty minute trip), we stopped in at an Orchid showroom, which I mention mostly so that I can show off one of my photos. I have a thing about photographing flowers, ferns and other plants, especially with the aperture set so that I can make the flower itself in focus while the background is out of focus. It’s a cheap trick to making something look interesting, but I can’t help it: I just think it looks cool.


Tomorrow, we say goodbye to Hilo and head towards Kona, where we have three nights in a condo right on the ocean. First, though, we have plans for waterfall viewing, and, oh yes, a trip in a helicopter. Life is so hard.

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