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Above Waimea 6 August 2017

1703 : 371

I started out labeling these entries Above Kamuela, but I realized that when I called the town that name, old timers gave me stink eye. It's a sort of Burma / Myanmar thing; too many Waimeas, so the Post Office people high handedly renamed this one Kamuela. The locals don't like it. So: Waimea from now on!

This end of the Big Island is self-consciously the birthplace of Hawaii's great unifier, that handsome dude there on the right, Kamehameha the First. He was actually born in the little town we drove to first today, Kapa'au, along the gorgeously green and rounded ancient pu'us (small hills) of the Kohala mountains – see below for a view across a particularly sensuous pu'u to Maui across the Alenuihaha Channel. Friends once told me the haha part is because if you start across in a boat, you best start studying Japanese, because that's where you end up.

Thinking about that – the difficulty of the inter-island waters, the fractiousness of the natives, even on a single island like this one – it's amazing that this fellow, no matter how much mana or charisma, could be in enough places in a short enough time to unite the islands. 2,500 miles from the nearest anywhere (Point Arena is actually the closest) it's impressive that he founded a stable nation before discovery times.

Because he was born before the euro way of counting years came here, we can only guess he was born about 1753 and lived about 67 years – long time for such a warrior – until 1819. This statue was made in 1820, but lost at sea on its way to Honolulu, so another was made for the royal palace. Then this one got salvaged, and brought to his birthplace, where it belongs.

1704 : 362

1705 : 360

We drove on down the highway to the end of the road at Pololu Overlook, where this sweet family asked me to take their picture with their fancy camera. Then I had to take a picture with my less fancy camera, and then they had to take a picture of me with an iPhone. 

Several islands aren't completely girdled by highway: here the gap is between Waipio and Pololu, a distance of about 15 miles.

1706 : 356

Back to Hawi for lunch at Bamboo, a favorite spot. I wore the shirt that I bought there in 2011, and no fewer than three staffers commented on it.

Lunch was chicken and ginger pot stickers with Hawaiian flavored sauce, more Ono in a special dressing with white rice and cooked veg, and a Kohala salad with mac nuts and delicious salad fixings. Please come back again, say at least three staffers; it breaks my heart a little that is almost certainly our last Hawaii trip. Better now to treasure the old memories.

1707 : 354

Drove back past Kawaihae and what remains the best shave ice on this island at Anuenue Shave Ice. I had passion fruit, papaya, and a new one on me: ginger lemon grass. Refreshing! in the 100+ degree heat of that protected bit of shoreline. We could see that the beaches were mobbed beyond belief. Maybe tomorrow -- first day of school in Hawaii, and a Monday -- the crowds will be a little thinner, and we'll get one more salt-water treatment. If not, we've had great swimming this trip. One more full day to go, and then the travel day home.

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