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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

MY GOD Day 4: Volcanoes National Park and Rainbow Falls

You learn something everyday.  As for example, the Pride of America is the only Norwegian Cruise Line ship (there are 14) without Norwegian in its name.  The main reason is because it, and a sister ship, the Pride of Hawaii, were being built as the first new U.S.-flagged cruise ships in nearly 50 years.  It had a lot to do with U.S. Senator Dan Inouye, the Jones Act and a tricky way of doing business in America.  Well, the company doing this, American Classic Voyages, went bankrupt, so NCL bought both ships, and had to send them to Germany for finishing, as the ridiculous federal subsidies the Litton-Ingalls shipyard in Mississippi was getting got cut-off.

The Pride of America floated in 2005 and just in February of this year underwent a major upgrade.  The ship and my room really look spiffy.  Pearl Harbor was supposed to be used, but this refreshment was undertaken in San Francisco.  For the record, the Pride of Hawaii became the Norwegian Jade.

So yesterday, I took the tour that first drove through Liliuokalani Park, and here is the Japanese garden:


Then, the first stop was Rainbow Falls, a particularly memorable spot for me, as this is where I first dropped off Pearl's ashes.  She was born and grew up in Hilo.


The next visit was to Mauna Loa, a macadamia nut company.  I once worked for C. Brewer, which owned this company.  Not long after I left, the parent went bankrupt.  I had three handfuls of various macadamia nut products, for free:


I also took some interesting photos in their bio-park:


Then on to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, celebrating its centennial:


Alas, similar to the top of Haleakala, it was foggy and a bit rainy.  Thus, the photos were obscured:

Wow, certainly looks like an atomic bomb blast in Halemaumau crater.

Our final stop was at Akatsuka Orchid Gardens.  Did you know they sell an orchid plant for $20,000?


Some other orchids:


There was an orchid tree next to my bus:


The scientific name is Phanera Purpurea.

When we returned to the ship, the check-in system stunned me.  You need to place everything dangerous and all metals aside.  But instead of through one of those X-ray machines, you merely passed your stuff onto a side table.  You then physically pass through the electronic people checker, then just pick up what you laid down.  No staffer bothered to look at anything laid aside.   Amazing!  Sure, no one would be carrying anything dangerous going through that metal detector, because you would get caught, but...  I'm missing a point somewhere.  A system is as good as its weakest link, which worries me.

When I returned to my room:


An amazing rainbow!

I went back to Liberty for dinner.  This is the dining room that weeds out the masses:  you need to wear shoes and long pants.  My slipper worked again.  I picked up my Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio and ordered a dorado ceviche and a fabulous soup (forgot name):


I then had an excellent swordfish on garlic mashed potatoes with Boston lettuce with gorgonzola cheese:


The coconut-egg dessert was fabulous:


The highlight of the trip might have occurred at 10PM when the ship veered closer to shore so that we could view the lava pouring into the ocean:


I've got to learn how to take night shots, or get a better camera.  Anyway, the night was not over, for ABBA was playing in the dance theater:


It was more like ABBA tunes accompanying line dancing.  They were led by the professional dancers from the show.  There were two older oriental ladies who were not doing badly at all, with some kind of blinking light bracelet on their wrist.  A group of three couples seemed to have no clue and tried to follow the leaders.  But just about everyone else knew how to move in synchronicity. All the ABBA hits were shortened and played by a DJ, then the music segued into disco hits.  I stayed longer than I planned. Another great day!

Tomorrow, I wander through Kona. I wonder if I can continue on for a second week?

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