Rest and Return

Big Island route map

Sunday, March 2

or my final day on Big Island I decided to take it easy. Besides, this was my seventh day there and so, as in the Bible, I was keen on making this my day of rest. My sole obligation was the late evening flight from Kona. I would drive along the south coastal highway 11, camera at-the-ready, and enjoy local food the entire day. With no hiking or climbing on tap, eating to satiety would not impede my planned activities by weighing me down.

I drove with Monica to a Farmer's Market in Volcano village - a little hamlet just east of the National Park boundary. There I treated both of us to numerous cold and hot prepared dishes that were the cheapest and closest approach to true Hawaiian food that I had yet seen. There was much coffee and freshly baked pastry for dessert.
south coast of Big Island
The south coast of Big Island
is a most inviting destination.

The drive along route 11 was uneventful. Even the fire on the south side of Mauna Loa was gone - unfortunately, too late for me and my intended route to its summit. After I rounded the southern tip of Big Island, some good photographs were taken of native tropical vegetation. I was pleased to have successfully avoided documentation of anything not directly related to the flora, fauna, or geology of Hawaii.

My photographs were aligned with my more general philosophy. I have little interest in resorts or swanky tourist destinations - and even less interest in throwing away my valuable savings on items of little enduring value such as a hotel rooms and guided tours. The sole exception is my perennial love affair with delicious food - a most transient item if ever there was.

Macadamia nuts are a Hawaiian specialty and can be had far more cheaply than stateside. So upon arrival in Kona I bought two one-pound packages of roasted nuts. They were a very good deal compared with the price in California, where it is three times as expensive, as well as the price in a more prepared form such as enrobed in chocolate or sprinkled with garlic and onion powder.

Hawaiian palm fronds
Tropical vegetation abounds along the roadside
as one rounds the southwest coast of Big Island.

I discovered a small bottle of macadamia nut liqueur. I imagined it mixed inside a pint of chocolate or mocha (chocolate and coffee) flavored ice cream, fell in love with the concept, and made the purchase.

North of Kona Airport there is white rock graffiti along both sides of route 19, the main highway. The graffiti consists of messages in white stone set against a background of black igneous rock - a most stunning contrast. I decided to forego the effort and, instead, headed straight for the airport a full four hours before my flight. I wanted to get the check-in hassle overwith and, since it was approaching darkness, there was little hiking or sightseeing left to be had anyways.

While waiting at the gate for some two hours, I met an extremely bright young man who was in the real estate business. He appeared to be from India but received his degree in Pennsylvania. We talked about everything from my county highpointing hobby to the housing market in California.

The overnight flight was uneventful. After dawn I made my connection in Los Angeles for San Diego, and slept most of the morning and into the afternoon.

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