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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

MY GRAND OCEAN DESTINATION Day 3: Kahului, Maui

My GOD today begins with a view from my cabin.  Here is one of the final photos you will see of sugar cane being processed in Hawaii.  HC&S will close this factory at the end of the month, ending an era that shaped the state:


This was supposed to be my day of rest, but it turned out to be my most taxing, for I walked a lot.  On the way out of the port, I noticed an adjacent ship named Hilo Bay:


We left last night and are now in Hilo Bay.  I've noticed that all the Hawaii cruise ports remind me of the worst third world countries.  For example, in Kahului, this is our neighbor:


I saw this sign, warning us tourists:


Not bragging, but I saved $650 by not being caught.  Sure, I'm not dumb enough to cross busy streets,  and traffic here is surprisingly robust, but some of these side streets are safe enough, and you've got to use some judgement in navigating your way through life.

My first encounter with nature was the Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary, habitat of the Hawaiian Stilt (ae'o) and other endangered birds.  This is a national landmark.  If you look real closely, you will find ten of these birds:


Again, there is a stilt in this photo above.  Here is what it looks like below if you found nothing above, with a Black-Crown Night Heron next:


For the longest while this type of bird has also hung around the koi pond at the Ala Wai Golf Course.

I noticed a Krispy Creme donut store, so went in to purchase one.  It was almost 13 years ago that this shop opened.  People from Honolulu returning home stopped by, because this building to the left was on the way to the airport, and bought several boxes.  It was all the rage then.  Today, this is still the only Krispy Kreme in Hawaii, but Costco now also carries the brand.  That yellow hibiscus is the State flower.

I was finally able to find Da Kitchen, said to have uber creative chefs.  They cooked at President Barack Obama's Inaugural Luau, and are regularly featured on The Bizarre Food Show, Travel Channel.  Their grilled spam musubi has attained cult status.  The restaurant itself was filled when I ordered my take-out.  That box below cost $6.50 for one musubi.  I ate my lunch on a bench next to this restaurant, and couldn't finish the meal because the musubi was so large:


Oh, notice my $2 Bangkok walking cane?  I lost it somewhere on the ship the first day.  Today I went to lost and found, and retrieved it.  I can't seem to lose this now venerable cane.

I might add that the owners, Les Tomita and Mariah Brown, once had a Da Kitchen at the St. Louis Alumni building near the University of Hawaii.  They now plan to have a Hawaiian Mex restaurant in San Francisco.

Next, Maui Mall is where Tasaka's Guri Guri can be found.  I ordered the pineapple flavor:


Sad news that the Guri Guri Man, Henry Tasaka, just passed away this weekend at the age of 80.  From a quarter century ago, Henry is in the middle with his brother, Setsuo, and their mom:



This mall is located only a long par-5 away from the Pride of America:


However, with all the detours and need to use marked crossways, the walk was more than a mile back.  

There was a 20-20-20 special at Mandara Spa, so, to soothe my body, which succeeded in a five mile hike, I had twenty minutes each of lower leg, shoulder and scalp massage.

For dinner I went Italian at La Cucina.  Turned out I planned well, by mistake.  I thought my reservation was for 7:30PM, but when I showed up, the lady said we've been waiting for you (I was supposed to be there at 6:30), but we saved you a table.  I ordered a minestrone and Caesar salad, followed by a truffles risotto with asparagus, spaghetti agli'olio and spinach, mushroom and garlic dish:


I was finished at 8:45 and walked over for Lights, Camera, Music:


I included this second photo because I noticed that between the two right performers was an old man with long white hair.  I'm sitting behind him.    A fine day.

The ship is arriving:  Hilo with Mauna Loa in the background:


Did you know that Mauna Loa is the largest mountain the world?  Also, this is where those carbon dioxides are made that is determining what is happening with global warming:


Below, the Big Island (which is also called Hawaii) showing where Hilo, Mauna Loa and the upcoming Volcanoes National Park--Kilauea, where all the eruptions are occurring:


Towards the bottom is Naalehu--the southernmost community in the USA--where I arrived 54 years ago to work in the sugar industry.


Breakfast, with the Naniloa Hotel in white:


My post tomorrow will feature a tour through the volcano park, plus Rainbow Falls, where I first dropped off Pearl's ashes.

This is getting tedious, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average again rose to another all-time high:  19,911.  Will 20,000 be reached before the year is over?  Certainly.  This Trump Effect is getting out of control.

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