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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

PEARL'S ASHES: #3-#6

Chapter 2:  The Rest of the Big Island

After the ceremony on Mauna Kea, I drove to the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, near Hapuna Beach, for this was where Pearl and I spent our honeymoon when it first opened.    I might add that this was a particularly trying period, for, in addition to the general sadness of those times, there were six hurricanes/typhoons in the Pacific, with Hurricane Felicia at 145 MPH heading for the north side of the Big Island.  I wondered if I should fly home and tend to my apartment.


Well, I instead had two nice meals at Monette's and got along well with the serving staff.  The first night was Italian, with Osso Buco, one of Pearl's favorite dishes.  The next evening cost twice as much.  Here Kona Kampachi from Neil Sims' operation and a delicate Rougie' Farm Foie Gras, at sunset:


Seared Japanese wagyu beef followed, with an excellent Urakasumi Zen Junmai Ginjo.  (I just happened today to drop by Marukai and noticed that this bottle, retail, costs $68!!!  This is not that super large size, just the standard 700 ml.   I tend to purchase sake in 1.5 to 2 liter cartons for $8 when on sale.  A liter is 1000 ml.)  What made this dinner so special was the attitude of the staff.  They treated me to samples of all their signature desserts with an excellent and free Tawny Port.


Later the second night I tossed PA#3 into the night waters of Kauna'oa Bay:


Further down the coastline was Four Seasons Hualalai at Kaupulehu, at that time the best hotel in the State of Hawaii.  Actually, I just re-checked, and it remains #1 in the state.   I enjoyed dinner at Pahui'a, and was entertained by Grammy awardee Charles Brotman.  The sunset was spectacular, inspiring me to toss her ashes (#4) into the beach waters below:


I recall having with me a glass of cognac and a cigar, resting on a recliner.  I stayed until I could see stars.

This link compares the Four Seasons Hualalai with the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel with the Park Hyatt Tokyo (left), probably Pearl's favorite hotel.  Here is a clip about this property.  Lost in Translation was filmed here.

The good news was that Hurricane Felicia had fizzled.  Those volcanic structures tend to do that to these cyclonic storms.  The following morning I ordered a Japanese breakfast to my room, had conveniently packed a bottle of beer which was chilled, and ate this $60+ meal with a view of the beach:


This west side of the Big Island could well spur the development of the Blue Revolution.  Three decades ago I was secretary of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority.  My staff from the Pacific International Center for High Technology was at the cutting edge of developing ocean thermal energy conversion.  A particularly interesting anecdote is the role that Air Force One, President Ronald Reagan and Senator Spark Matsunaga played in the advancement of this marine energy option.  I even owned part of a company to grow pearl oysters, where in 1990 or so I went all the way to Australia to hire to Neil Sims to run the facility.

I then drove through Kailua-Kona and went on to the southernmost community in the USA:  Naalehu:


Naalehu was a special place for the both of us, for here is where I got my first job after graduating from Stanford in 1962.  The plantation manager, Bill Baldwin, one day asked me if I wanted to meet a cute nurse in the next town of Pahala.  That was in September, we got married in December, and left the Hutchinson Sugar Company in 1968 for graduate school.  To the left is a photo of Bill saying goodbye to us.  A decade later, Bill and I shared an office in DC working for U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga.

Just outside of Naalehu on the way to the Hutch sugar mill, I stopped by to drop off Pearl's Ashes #5:


Why did I perform this ceremony here?  Probably it was in 1963 when I took a photo of Pearl st this site in  her nursing uniform by her Hillman Minx:


Note the smoke emanating from the sugar factory.  When I took the later photo, Hutchinson Sugar Company had combined with the one in Pahala and was renamed Kau Sugar Company.  The factory here at Honuapo was shut down.

Nostalgically, the drive from Naalehu took me through Pahala, where Pearl lived in the nurse's cottage when we first met in 1962.  I also spent some time at the Hawaiian Agriculture Sugar Company, working at the sugar mill, across the street from the Kau Hospital (this structure was replaced by a new hospital today).  My father lived in Koloa, Kauai, where Hawaiian sugar first was produced in 1837.  This is the natural habitat of the Hawaii State bird, the nene.  I might add that the hottest temperature measured in Hawaii occurred in Pahala, which is at an elevation of 850 feet:  100 F.

The sugar plantation in Pahala also broke the world's record for sugar production.  What happened was that there was a strike, so the cane, normally a two-year crop here, was left in the field for four years.  The production doubled.  The continued growth had something to do with the higher elevation and cooler temperatures.

I then drove to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to stay at the Volcano House, which first opened in 1877.  I dropped of PA#6 just outside my room towards Halemaumau Crater:


There actually was a rainbow in the background.  Halemaumau is where Hawaiians made offerings to Fire Goddess Pele.  The crater is about half a mile in diameter and a hundred yards deep, but, depending on lava activity, could drop another 300 feet.  During the short time I stayed there in 2009, there was a fear that the lava level would rise sufficiently to overflow the crater edge.

Chapter 1 appeared last Wednesday.  Next Wednesday, Chapter  3, featuring Pearl's sunburst.

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