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Thursday, January 26, 2017

MY HEAVENLY TOUR AROUND THE BIG ISLAND

To summarize, I have friends from the West Coast spending some time in Kona.  They're renting a home in Honaunau.  I'm staying at the Sheraton Kona Resort.  Only a few years ago this hotel was in embarrassing disrepair.  Today, surprisingly good.

Not too long ago Sheraton must have made a decision to resurrect the property, for this is now a truly fine resort.  Not quite Heaven on Earth, but getting there.  Their executive lounge is excellent, high-end restaurant superior and view fabulous.  People make a place, and their staff is superb.

I was picked up at the Sheraton and we went south to the Southern Most City in the USA, Naalehu:


From left, Victoria from Oregon, Jim from San Francisco, Kathy and Ron from Napa.

My trainee cottage (scroll down to next posting) when I first lived here is a two-minute walk from this sign.  Across the street then was the Plantation Manager's home.  It is now Punaluu Bake Shop, famous for their sweetbread, the bread kind, not the organ delicacy.

Symbolic of what happened to Naalehu when the sugar industry left in 1996 is their theater.  If Pearl and I had not moved on in 1967, we might have still been living here.  

Unfortunately, it began to rain, and the deluge continued for the next few hours.  Finally, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  

Kilauea Volcano has been erupting now for more than a third of a century, and while tourism has been helped, the emissions are a major source of air pollution for the State of Hawaii.  We stopped by the Volcano House for lunch:


We all ordered fish and chips, and I had a Prosecco.

Then went to see Kilauea Caldera, inside of which is Halemaumau Crater:


Lava was visible.

Our next stop was Akatsuka Orchids, where they have a variety said to cost $20,000:


Actually, the top photo is just another typical orchid (click on $20,000 to see the expensive one), and, I think, the bottom is that of a rhododendron, growing in the wild next to our van.  All these stops were similar to last month, when I took a tour off the Pride of America.  We next drove through Hilo and stopped at Rainbow Falls.  Then on through the Saddle Road, where I was dropped off at the Four Seasons Hualalai.

As much as I enjoyed my stay at the Sheraton Kona Resort, Four Seasons Hualalai is a fabulous oasis, maybe even Heavenly.  I had dinner at Ulu:


I started with a flight of Junmai Daiginjo sakes, which I had with a plate of sashimi:


The sunset was spectacular:


What an incredible photo of the torch flame consuming the setting sun.  For dinner I had a takoyaki (with locally caught octopus), plus arugula, Thai corn and mushroom soup, and another corn concoction.

The pounding surf, sunset show and truly fine cuisine made for a great ending to a memorable day.

However, the prodigiously awesome moment of the entire trip had to be my communion with the Universe later that evening.  Scroll to the next posting, then to the bottom, to experience why Four Seasons Hualalai might well be that mythical gateway to Heaven.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average set another all-time average, up 32 to 20,101.  Chevron, Exxon, GE and 3M all dropped, but everything else went up.

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3 comments:

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Master Sgp said...
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