Hawaiian Adventures Day 9-10

Friday, November 4th 

REALLY early morning. We had to make it to the airport by 7am for our open-door helicopter lava and waterfall tour. The alarm blared in my ear at 5am; the sun was not even prepared for the day. I crawled out of bed. Letting Kyle sleep, I showered and packed as silently as possible. By 6am we were ready and out the door heading back to Hilo Airport.

The ride was peaceful. Both of us too tired to talk and silently getting ever more excited for the helicopter ride. This is the gold nugget of the Big Island and the main reason we decided to come here. Once at the airport, I tied my hair back as tightly as possible and put about 30 bobby pins in it to keep all the flyaways at bay. We went through the safety procedures, me bouncing on my toes, super excited for my first helicopter ride. Kyle had much more self control.

Get to the choppa!

Briskly we walked out to the helipad, took our designated seats, nylon straps whipped around us, tightened, headset on and off we went. Our pilot earned his training flying helicopters for the Marines. This put me at ease. Those guys are intense. The wind was intense. I could feel the bobby pins slipping and a few bits of hair fall down. It felt like needles against my cheeks.

The ride was incredible. We sailed over the city and across lush green acreage.

Gorgeous view of Kilauea and the edge of Hilo.
A macadamia nut farm set up in a grid with tall trees to protect from wind.
View of the steam vents. I let my feet dangle out of the chopper. I could feel the heat.
First glimpse of lava. The storm the previous day caused some cave-ins.
Difficult to make out, but this is a bunch of slow moving rivers of lava.
Close up of one of the lava streams.
From barren to beautiful.
That little orange spec among all the green is a small house. A crazy man lives there. He is surrounded by lava and has to walk about 2 miles to get to the nearest road and vehicle. If you’re curious, he runs it like a b&b.

After seeing the lava, we flipped around and went to the other side of the island to view some beautiful waterfalls. I’ll have to update this soon with those pictures.

Once I recovered from my hair nightmare, I was literally bouncing for the remainder of the day, pumped full of adrenaline from the helicopter ride and feeling the heat of the lava on my toes. The flight back to Oahu flew by. With no hotel for the evening and the only plan for the night to head to Chinatown for the first Friday art and food festival, we headed to the little military area of the airport. They get a little room with couches, free food and wifi. We hung out there for a few minutes utilizing the internet to check out hotels around Chinatown. Everything was pretty expensive. After sneaking a few sweet rolls and coffee we decided to stick with the Hale Koa for another night. Yes, we would have to pay cab fair back and forth, but the extra cost for the downtown hotel wasn’t worth it. Especially after spending $400 for a helicopter tour.

Back at the Hale Koa, we showered, changed and relaxed for a bit and got drunk before catching a cab over to Chinatown for the tail end of the fair. Galleries had their doors open, free food and drink, people were milling around, shops stayed open late. Not exactly a street fair, but all of Chinatown was awake and vibrant. We wandered around for a bit, found some very cool unique pieces before making our way to slam poetry night. Very very talented people.

The first act was a dynamic duo with a very raunchy tale. They played off of each other and built up a tale of lewd conduct and debauchery. The next few were solo artists either searching for a deeper meaning to their daddy issues or ranting and raving about the government and big bad corporations. Shame they don’t really understand any aspect of economics or politics. The last act of the evening was incredible. Writing this post weeks later has caused my memory to fade, but his rhymes were a retelling of his childhood and it felt like a brisk walk through lower Manhattan, rain pounding the earth, dodging huge puddles and trying to grasp that last bit of warmth before the chill leaves your drenched body. Incredible.

We were still a bit tipsy and demanded some food. Being Chinatown, we popped into the nearest Chinese restaurant and had a few of the staples, sesame chicken and dumplings. Yum. Afterwards we made our way to the adjacent avenue that was lined with bars and ridiculously crowded. We headed for one that wasn’t too packed grabbed a cocktail and a seat and hung out for a bit. I don’t know if it was the crowd or the alcohol, but Kyle was getting tense. He had the look in his eyes where if someone tried to mess with him or bumped into him a little too hard, he’d start a fight. Rather than risk that nonsense, I feigned sleepiness and we headed back to the hotel to finish the beautiful day.

Saturday, November 5th 

The morning was slow going, but once up and dressed we took the city bus to the Aloha Tower and Marketplace to grab lunch at a restaurant suggested by our shuttle driver from the previous evening.

They were closed! In the middle of the afternoon and not opening till the following Monday. Right across the way was Gordon Biersch Brewery. The whole craft beer, micro brewery settling is exactly Kyle’s cup of tea. We eased into a booth and ordered up a local brew and some food. Fish tacos for me. Delicious!

Then, somehow, Kyle got into the topic of this rough period of about 3 weeks we had during the first half of the deployment. I came very close to breaking up with him. A while after everything was settled, I came clean about the fact that in my mind I gave him a window of time to improve on the issues we were having (basically just give a damn about me and tell me he loved me because I was not getting any of that) and if he didn’t, I was going to leave him. Well luckily he did, but he began to relive this. Even when it was happening he didn’t listen to a word I said and therefore never understood what the problem was. He also completely forgot the 3 week fight within another 2 weeks. Over lunch when he asked me for details and I gave them, he told me I did not remember correctly because that was not what happened.

Now, I remember the whole thing crystal clear and this is the man who forgot it even happened 14 days later. I was starting to get heated at blatantly being called a liar. The meal ended with tension and he said it would be best if we took an hour to cool off and to meet back under the Aloha Tower in 60 minutes.

I was fine with this. He was making me angry and I had some shopping to do. I wanted to get a few things for my friends back home, little tokens of my island adventure. Unfortunately, all the cute stuff is super expensive and most of the affordable stuff has that really big Hawaiian print all over it, not exactly the style my New Yorker friends would actually wear. I did manage to find a few things, though I didn’t buy as I needed to ponder.

I met him back at the tower, my mind much more at ease and we headed up to the observatory deck.

View looking out towards Waikiki. These were Kyle and I's favorite apartment buildings.

Part of downtown Honolulu

Versus taking the bus or a cab, we decided to walk back to the hotel. It was a bit of a trek, but through parts of Honolulu we had really wanted to see. It gave us a great chance to stroll, chat and and just relax. Our moods were much better and the little argument was done.

We headed down Ala Moana Blvd to the park, up the paths and as close to the water as we could get. The grass was green and lush, people were milling about, playing ball, soaking up the sun and just enjoying their Saturday afternoon.

We made our way out to Magic Island. Kyle immediately cracked a joke referencing baby boot camp, something we heard on the news that morning about mothers taking their little babies out to the island for boot camp. He wants kids… Crazy bastard. The island was beautiful. Definitely worth the walk.

View of Waikiki from Magic Island

Waikiki and Diamond Head from Magic Island

We made our way back to the hotel just as it began to rain. The evening ended with drinks, as always.