We're not Ironmen

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September 29th 2011
Published: October 1st 2017
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Geo: 19.6406, -155.996

Seems like how many trips begin: up early to get to the airpot. We decided to drive, since it was early, and, even though there were no riders waiting at the casual carpool spot, we had little delay across the Bridge and to the airport. But with delays waiting for the parking shuttle, long security lines, and a long walk to the gate (in the international terminal), we arrived after boarding had begun. We settled into our seats, by-passed the champagne in favor of orange juice, and settled in for a good ride to Kona.

The flight was calm, and I worked the whole time (except during brekkies). Very productive flight! Now, I feel I can relax and enjoy Hawaii.

We landed just around 11am local time. It was hot, hot, hot, with surprisingly little breeze. It's been so many years since I was at the Kona airport, but it surprised me how very undeveloped it seems ... a collection of a few huts (shops, restrooms, cafeteria) with little indoor seating. We'll see what's available when we fly out again on Tuesday. Shuttle to rental car, no problems with getting the car. Then, we turned our nose south and headed towards town.

We knew the Ironman triathalon was happening next weekend, but we were surprised how many "athletes in training" we could see around, riding their bikes up and down the road. Signs in the wide bike lane warned us of their presence. (Like we shouldn't pay attention to regular cyclists?)

Since we were still on California time, we were hungry, so we found a place to park in downtown Kailua and opted for Thai ... mostly, I confess, it was the thought of iced coffee which drew us in. (Especially as I finally had a glass of wine on the plane ... well, it was already afternoon our time). The food was mediocre at best, but we had a good view of the people watching downtown. Actually, there weren't many people to watch. So we played the "Guess who is here for Ironman" game ... I won.

I wanted to send off all the email I had worked on during the flight, so we found a Starbucks and logged on. Got a bit more work done, so I feel very pleased with the start of the holiday. (Wait, I'm on holiday. I forget.) Since the condo was not yet ready for check-in, we called Alan and Jean to find out what to go see.

Our first stop was the Outrigger Hotel. The hotel itself is not very interesting (rather industrial-Bahaus, I think), but there are archaeological sites nearby. There were no signs telling us what they were ... but we've seen many similar sites in Polynesia: high walls, large platforms of rock. "Ritual sites" says an unimaginative archaeologist ... but almost certainly these were ritual sites of some sort.

We then drove south along Ali'i Drive, to the very end of the road. From there, we turned back around to a place Alan calls the End of the World. Parking near the burial mounds (site of a ferocious battle in the early 1800s), we walked along the road to view a good spot for swimming and jumping off the cliffs ... just not so good for getting back in. The sea was remarkably calm and very inviting, considering the heat of the day.

It was now after 3:30pm, so we went to the market to pick up a few things for brekkies (yogurt, granola, honey, orange juice), then received the keys to our condo. We have a fantastic view of the bay and the surf. And of the buoy where the swimmers will turn around during the first leg of the Ironman.

Alan and Jean joined us a little before 5pm. We chatted for a bit, then drove to town for an early dinner. Jean knew a great place, set back slightly from but with a great view of the water. We watched the sunset (looking for the mythical Green Flash ... I actually saw the disk turn green, but I didn't think that was the Flash. I still maintain it's either a myth or completely over-rated). Marvelous fun, chatting and hearing about life on the Big Island.

Went for a walk after dinner, just up and down Ali'i drive. Loved the clay orchids for sale in one shop ... although they guarantee shipment, I can't imagine trying to transport them home. Jean made friends with the woman in the Wynand gallery, who told us her love story. By then, it was late for us West Coasters, so we headed back to the condo, said good-night, then went to bed.

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