Bug and I did some “adventuring” downtown yesterday. I’m so glad we decided to pack the stroller at the last minute. It was a bit of a pain in the neck at the airport but it has paid for itself here when we cruise up and down the main strip.
The main drag is right along the ocean with patches of sidewalk here and there between a retaining wall that keeps the ocean out and the road that is pretty much a “cruising scene”. Some parts are narrow and if you wanted to, you could stick your hand out and give some gangster a high five as he rolls by in his lowered truck with the bass booming so loudly that his door, that is twisty-tied on, rattles to the beat.
Most parts are totally safe but I am very glad to have the stroller because as you know, Baby Bug does not like to walk in a straight line and if I let her loose she’d be picking up cigarette butts from the gutter and running out into traffic.
There is definitely a bit of “Spring Break” atmosphere here in Kona. (And why not?!!) It reminds me of Mexico except more expensive. There aren’t any kids selling Chiclets and you can’t get a margarita for a dollar but there are definitely drinks flowing and lots of people just out to see and be seen.
Even though it can be scary at times to walk the streets of an unknown city, I really do love exploring. I like being somewhere long enough that you start to feel less like a tourist and more like a local. The woogies (what Toby calls tourists) are so thick here, it’s hard to see what the locals see. But if you look between the shops selling imported shell necklaces from the Philippines (that I’m totally going to buy anyway because hey! they are only 39 cents!) and the bars crowded with people drinking way too much tequila, you can start to see a glimpse.
Or maybe I just like exploring.
We did something really fun yesterday. I had passed this Weaver Man a couple of times and I was intrigued by the funny palm frond hats he was making. I was a little afraid to stop and buy one since he often had a pretty shady crowd of people who looked like they had meth mouth hanging around him. But I finally got up the guts to inquire and I’m so glad I did.
He was a very nice guy and ended up making a custom hat just for Baby Bug. She thought it was grand and wanted to try on all his bowls he had out on display. I was worried about her getting in his way (and even worse in the way of his knife) but he said she was fine. He told me that she was actually good for business.
I guess you don’t have to have a permit to sell your wares along the highway here in Kona but the police do harass you if you seem to be there just to sell drugs or something. So he was very happy to have a mom and daughter hang out with him for the half hour it took him to make Baby Bug a hat.
When he was done, he wanted me to take a picture of him and her together because apparently these palm frond hats last for 40-60 years and she will probably have it long after her little two-year-old memory of him making it has faded. I thought that was a sweet sentiment and of course I was happy to oblige since after all everything is bloggable!
I think the hat is pretty cute and I will definitely try to keep it for a long time. I might even have to go back and get one for myself. Who knows maybe I’ll start a new trend back on the mainland.
That pretty much sums up our day of adventuring. I left out a lot of parts (like the little beaches we discovered and the drunk guy sleeping under a giant palm frond) but you can sort of figure them out from my flickr pictures. Later we met up with Toby for dinner and ended our day the usual way with a slice of sunset for desert.
We’re starting to fall into a routine here in the land of breakfast-is-for-lunch. Toby loves Hawaii time. It’s his natural time. He usually rolls out of bed around lunchtime and wants breakfast so he is tickled pink that we all have to adjust to his schedule for a change. When I start fading and thinking, “Shouldn’t the sun be going down by now?” it’s only noon with plenty of time to spare. Which is kind of cool because there is always plenty of daylight to get everything done.
I didn’t really feel like I was jet-lagged because I’m not tired or feeling groggy but this waiting until eleven-something for breakfast is a little rough on the growling tummy. Toby’s been thinking that Baby Bug isn’t very well-behaved in restaurants but actually it’s because breakfast is her naptime and dinner is three hours past her bedtime. In reality she’s been quite a trooper.
One of the waitresses who works at the hotel restaurant took pity on (me) us and made Baby Bug a little origami frog. That was the best thing ever. It was just a little piece of pink paper folded in such a way that you could press your thumb down on its back and it would hop about three inches into the air. Bug loved her little pink frog. She carried it around for a good part of the day and let me take a picture of it. In the photo above the frog is “saying cheese”. Can’t you tell? Hee hee.
Then we drove over the lava fields to a fancy-schmancy outdoor mall that is almost exactly like the fancy-schmancy outdoor mall back home. The lava fields (not sure if that’s what they are called) are out of this world. You feel like you are on Mars or something. Just lots and lots of crusty porous black lava rock munched into dried piles that look a little like dung heaps. Not really in an ugly smelly way but just strange. Then there are tufts of yellow grass growing out of the nooks and crannies.
I was wondering why this yellow grass is not used more often in Hawaiian artwork/signage/marketing etc since it seems to be everywhere and it is pretty in a waving-fields-of-wheat sort of way. But Toby explained that it’s a non-native grass (which is kind of silly since nothing is really native here except the lava) and actually Hawaii, the island we are on, is the newest island. I had no idea. I thought the biggest island would be the oldest island but actually it is the newest and the others were once this big but have worn down over time. So this lava and grass is just the early stages of an island. If you think of millions of years as “early”.
This is probably not very interesting to most people but since I am a graphic artist by trade (or was for the last decade or so) I am always looking at what there is around that can be used in a design if I were suddenly forced to whip out a three-fold brochure or something. I don’t know. I guess it’s all those years that I was forced to make up full marketing plans using three very dated cd’s from photodisc because our clients were too cheap to pay for stock art. Oh, those were the days. Sorry, flashback.
Back to our vacation. We spent day three shopping for shorts for Toby. Shopping with Toby is not much fun. He tries to make it fun (with frappucinos from Starbucks and a new dress for me!) but it just takes forever. He is very particular about every stinking thing (down to the seams!) and will settle for nothing but the best. So we shopped and we shopped and Baby Bug and I got hot and bothered. I’m very thankful to say that Toby did find some new shorts though! So all is well that ends well!
And really it was nothing that a steak dinner and a pretty sunset couldn’t fix.