Sunday, August 9, 2009

Alissa Goes To The Land Of Pele - Part 2

On her fourth day in Hawaii, we went to home of Pele in The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Kiluaea has been continuously erupting since 1983, and is one of the most active volcanos on earth. Right now it has two active vents: One is in the main crater at Halema`uma`u and the other is a vent on the eastern flank of the volcano. This is the first time since 1982 that there has been activity within the main crater. The Curves hiking club had an outing planned to hike from the park visitors center to the Jaggar Museum, and they invited Alissa to go along.

Our hike took us along the crater rim trail and Alissa stopped often to get a look at the crater and the plume coming out of it.

Just before we got to the Jaggar Museum, she decided that she had to climb an Ohi`a Lehua tree to get a better view of the landscape. I just couldn't keep this girl out of trees.

One of the Curves members, Kathy, told her the legend of the `Ohi`a Lehua tree:

Once there was a handsome man named 'Ohi'a. 'Ohi'amet a beautiful lady named , they became lovers. One day 'Ohi'apassed by ,the goddess of fire. immediately fell in love with him so she said, "I like you, be my boyfriend," but 'Ohi'atold that he already had a girlfriend named . Peleis known for her violent temper; and when she found out that she couldn't have `Ohi`a, she turned him into an ugly tree.

When Lehua found out about this, she begged Pele to turn him back into human form again, but Pele refused. So Lehua went to the gods and asked them if they could turn 'Ohi'a back into human form but the gods said it was impossible. Instead, they turned Lehua into a beautiful red flower and put her on the ugly tree that was 'Ohi'a so they could be together.

Today acording to legend, when you pick a lehua blossom it will rain, because you are separating 'Ohi'a and Lehua.

When we finally got Alissa out of the tree, the Jaggar Museum with it's wonderful views of the Halema`uma`u crater and great exhibits called. We ate our lunch over looking the crater and Alissa got her picture taken with the whole gang.

Before we left the museum, she also went inside and introduced herself to Pele.

On our way back to the visitor's center and our cars, we went by Ha`akulamanu, the Sulphur banks, where cracks let the sulphur gases seep up through the rocks and color the area with shades of yellow, white and gold.

Alissa was tired after our hike, but when I mentioned that we could go to see Harry Potter with a friend that evening, she jumped at the chance.

By the time a dinner of Maui Tacos was over, she was very much ready to head for bed and sweet dreams of lehua blossoms.

The next day was rainy and misty day so it seemed like a good day for inside adventures in Hilo.

She had so much fun the day before with her Curves friends, that she decided to go work out with them as our first stop of the day.

After a good workout, we decided that we really needed to give Alissa a yarn fix. So our next stop was the Yarn Basket which is the only yarn shop on the island. We are lucky because it is a very nice yarn shop and Harriet keeps and excellent inventory of wonderful yarn. Alissa helped me pick out some Noro Silk Garden yarn for a garter stitch shawl that I am planning on doing while on the plane to Okinawa in October.

Once we had our yarn in hand and feeling very justified because of our workout that morning, we headed to Starbucks for a snack.

By the time we had done all that, we were ready to go home for a quiet rainy afternoon. Alissa was all inspired by her visit to the yarn store, so she decided to help me with my knitting. This is my third venture into lace and it is a sample piece using Mohair and the Swedish Candlelight pattern. Alissa was a big help.

The following day, I had a class in Sashiko embroidery scheduled. Of course, Alissa wanted to come along. Sashiko embroidery is a Japanese craft which is traditionally done with white thread on indigo blue fabric. It is very popular here in the islands. We spent a wonderful morning, honing our Sashiko skills and working on a tissue cover for our project.

The afternoon was spent lazing around on the lanai, drinking lilikoi ice tea, talking and reading. Some days are just made to be lazy especially when one is sitting in the jungle in Hawaii.

The next day found us going into Hilo again for a very busy time.

We started off at the Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens just mauka of Hilo. (Mauka means toward the mountain.) This is a lovely small zoo that has benefited from the work of the many plant societies in the Hilo area. Alissa highly recommends it if you decide to visit the Hilo area. Her first stop was to visit the Hyacinth Macaw named Zoey.

After talking to Zoey for awhile, we walked on and came across the two iguanas. These guys are quite tame and used in the petting zoo for children on Saturdays.

Our next stop was the monkey play house. This area give the spider monkeys lots of room to run, jump and play. They invited Alissa to come in and join them, but she declined.

Before we left the zoo with all its interesting animals, we had to stop and say “hi” to the beautiful white tiger, Namaste. He is now almost six years old and has lived at the zoo for most of his life. He is beloved by all who visit the zoo and loves all the attention that he gets. Alissa thought about climbing in to give him a good pet, but I convinced her that he wasn't quite as harmless as he looks.

He has a water filled moat that is also full of hyacinths. He loves to hide in there on a hot day and cool off. And yes, if you can see it, he is cross eyed.

When we were done at the zoo, the Hilo Farmer's Market beckoned. This market is filled with exotic fruits and flowers as well as regular produce, lots of local food goodies, and tourist souvenirs of all kinds.

The huge array of flowers at such reasonable prices and the great variety of fruits had Alissa wanting to spend all afternoon here.

Our last stop of the day was so that Alissa could visit the statue of King Kamehameha I, also known as King Kamehameha the Great. King Kamehameha was the chieftain who united all the Hawaiian Islands into one kingdom. He began his task of uniting the islands on the Island of Hawaii.

It was a very busy day and we were quite glad to get back to our jungle enclave and a quiet dinner and bed.

Alissa woke up excited the next day because she was going to the beach with the Kea`au Senior Citizens Club. Now no one would call Alissa a senior citizen, but they said she could be an honorary one for this one day.

She started out her beach day by checking out the beach grass and the drift wood.

And then she ran over to the rocky part of the beach to watch the waves roll in.

Then before I could stop her and in spite of my warnings that we were having heavy surf and there could be dangerous rip tides, she jumped right in the ocean.

After we pulled her out and got her dried off she decided to visit the Naupaka Kahakai.

As you can see the Naupaka blossoms have only one side to them. This is another story of Pele thwarting young lovers because of her jealousy:

It is said that two lovers, greatly devoted to each other, came to the attention of the Goddess Pele. Pele found the young man desirable and appeared before him as a beautiful stranger. But no matter what Pele did the lovers remained devoted to each other.

Angered, Pele chased the young man into the mountains, throwing molten lava at him. Pele's sisters witnessed this and to save the young man from a certain death they changed him into the mountain Naupaka Kuahiwi. Pele immediately went after the young woman and chased her towards the sea - but again Pele's sisters stepped in and changed the young lover into beach Naupaka Kahakai.

It is said that if the mountain Naupaka and beach Naupaka flowers are reunited, the two young lovers will be together again.

After learning the legend of the Naupaka flowers, Alissa decided that it was time for lunch. Lunch today was a Bento. This is a lunch packed in a box which is the meaning of Bento. They can contain many different types of local goodies. Alissa's lunch today had white rice, cone sushi, fish, chicken, beef, long rice (mung bean noodles) and pickled vegetables. She said it was too much to eat and she took some of it home with her for an afternoon snack.

Before she left the beach, she had her picture taken with all her new friends in the Seniors Club.

On the day that she left, Alissa had an afternoon flight to catch. So she started off the day with a game of hide and seek in the garden with the dogs. She first hid in the timber bamboo. Keanani almost found her, but because she didn't look up, Alissa escaped detection.

Then she escaped detection twice by hiding among the anthuriums.

But when she thought she was well hidden among the weeds, grasses and yellow hibiscus, both Keanani and Hoku found her. Neener, neener, you're it, Alissa, called Hoku.

On our way to the airport, we stopped at Ken's Pancake House, a local institution, for lunch with the Lunch Bunch from my Worship Community. Alissa decided to throw all caution and calories to the winds and have some of Ken's famous macadamia nut pancakes with lilikoi syrup.

I was sad to see Alissa leave. We had a wonderful time together, and hopefully she will be able to come back very soon and visit the Island of Hawaii again.

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