Bug,  shopping,  travel

Hawaii Day Four: the girls go adventuring

turtle wall

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.

lamp post

those crazy banyan trees

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.

Hawaiian Shaved Ice!

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.

red stairs

Or maybe I just like exploring.

Weaver Man

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.

teaching Bug to sign "shaka"

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!

Jungle Princess

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.

sunset o'clock

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.


  • Heidi

    The hat is adorable…simply sweet. I like the notion of the pic with the palm frond guy, its nice to document those memories when your kids will NEVER remember them. Your trip seems so amazing, a slice of sunset is exactly what I need…..

  • Rhi

    I made a crown out of those palm fronds when I went to Hawaii for my h.s. graduation a million years ago. I wish I would have kept it!

  • kiki

    What an adventure! Kudos to you for not hiding behind fear (not that you had any) and walking up to a stranger. Not sure I would have approached the scene you described. The weather seems to be cooperating. I’m not sure what I’m looking at? (4th picture) Trees growing over a stone wall? Is that normal?

  • ivymae

    Wow, I lived in Kona when I was a preteen, and seeing pictures of the wave wall, the shave ice, and the banyan trees makes me miss the area. Are you planning to head south at all? The southern tip is a great place for black sand beaches, and swimming with sea turtles.

  • a madhouse wife

    that hat is adorable and the picture of the weaver man and bug is so cute–him showing her how to do a hang 10 of whatever (i really have no idea what that’s called; just guessing)

  • Michelle

    I love the pic of BB doing the “Hang Loose” sign with the hat weaver. Was it just me, or did anyone else click on “meth mouth”? I wasn’t sure what it meant…seriously! Hey, keep having a great time, and be safe too :o)

  • red lotus mama

    I love the pictures of BB and the hat maker. Very cute! Seeing your pictures of the street brings back memories and I remembered that I wanted to let you know that there is a GREAT chinese food restaurant in a strip mall on Alii Dr. It is a good bargain for great food!

  • Jummy

    I’m loving your entries from Kona: I almost feel like I’m along on the trip.

    The workmanship of those hats is great! I had no idea they’d last that long. BB looks smashing, dahling in her hat!

    (Oh, and that slushy is MOUTHWATERING)

  • Lisa

    wow! what great memories you’re making for Bug… so cute!

    oh, and when you have a minute, please post some tips for travelling by airplane with a toddler…i have to do it soon and i’m terrified! you seem like you’d have some bag of tricks that would be very helpful ;)

  • BeachMama

    Look at you guys go. I loved the photos with the guy making the hats. And how cool that they last 40 or so years, you will have those memories for years to come. And hopefully BB will love that you have documented it all for her. I only wish I had started blogging earlier in J’s life, so I would have had a record from start to finish.

  • Gingermog

    Gosh, what a lovely story of the man who made BB a special hat. Goes to show you never can tell. Although meth mouth sounds rather worrying to me. I met a lovely man once in a park on Vancouver Island who made pictures on wood using the sun and a magnifying glass. I was charmed! Keep on posting lots of wonderful photographs. Happy Easter.

  • Pretzellu

    My sis and family spent a week near where you are and told me about the Shaved ice, which it looks like Bug is enjoying in the picture. The strange thing is they were always asked if they wanted bean curd in the bottom, have you seen that there? Being from NC they thought it wierd but tried it anyway. I say yuck and a ruin of a giant shaved ice.

  • Uncle George

    I love this post. Great times for you all, and deservedly so. The food pics gave me the munchies so bad, I went and found a place in Long Beach that serves really good Plate Lunch! Best part of the hats is that they’re GOREEEEEN!

    Tell Toby happy birthday from big brother and that I shot that house in Palos Verdes Thursday night. Happy B-Day Toby!