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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Big Island: Tendered in Kona: light shopping day

We arrived in Kona today at 7am but I didn’t get out of my bed until 7:35 because I felt like having a sleep-in morning. The ship dropped anchor off the shore of Kona and passengers had to be tendered to the shore in life boats that seat about 90 people. Mom decided that she didn’t want to go ashore because she doesn’t like the tenders so Karran and I went at about 9am and Bena and Sophie went after I got back at 12:15pm. Karran went off on his own and I did my own thing which was to check my email at an internet café which is advertised as free wifi but you have to buy a cup of coffee for $5.00. Still, it’s cheaper than the ship where pay-as-you-go internet is 75 cents per minute.
NCL's Pride of America

Pride of America

View of Kona
I made all my calls by Skype (if you don’t have Skype, you have to get it. I’ve been using it for at least 5 years with more success recently because of better broadband service). Then I walked around town and did some sightseeing. We had a car reserved for today but yesterday we decided to cancel it because we wouldn’t need it. It was fortuitous on our part to pre-book our car rentals and cancel if we needed to than try to get a car on the day we need it. With tomorrow being American Thanksgiving, there are a lot of people looking to rent cars and none are available. Well someone got lucky today with our cancellation.

Okay, where was I? Yes, I did some sightseeing, mostly walking around the town. This looks like a total cruise ship town with the cheap, touristy stores and the over-priced jewellery stores selling the same over-priced pearls as all the other ports. There was, however, a couple of small beaches right where the lifeboats are docked so within 100 feet, you could be at the beach. The water is so crystal clear and clean. I found a farmer’s market that sold all kinds of fresh tropical fruits and this was one time that I wished I was really hungry but I had a good breakfast on the ship, so I had to pass up the fruits. I imagine that most of the fruits that were being sold are imported because there is not much agriculture any more on the islands because of skyrocketing labour costs. When we were doing the bike tour, we saw the last of the pineapple fields in all of Hawaii. The company sold off most of the fields when the economy started to go downhill in 2008 and all that’s left is about 38,000 acres of an almost 138,000 estate.

I forgot to mention that along the bike tour, we also stopped at the Baldwin farm – if you can call it that. The Baldwins were missionaries who arrived in Hawaii about 100 years ago and pretty well bought up all the land on Maui. They owned the Halaekala national park which they “gifted” to the state of Hawaii in exchange for all the military contracts for supplying beef to the navy in Hawaii. That’s in perpetuity. Some gift!! They still pretty well own more than half the island, most of the crops and about 6,000 heads of cattle. Mark, our guide, said that he was embarrassed to think that his people did that to the Hawaiian people. I was thinking that being that kind of missionary can be a lucrative endeavour, but then I’d have to live with my conscience and would my progeny. Not the kind of legacy that I would want to leave.
Back to my trip into town. I walked around the marketplace and saw some touristy souvenirs – t-shirts and the like – but I didn’t buy any. Couldn’t think of anyone I’d want to give a cheap t-shirt to. Then I joined to tender and got back on the ship at 12:15pm. Checked in on Mom who was sleeping in her cabin (we have adjoining cabins with interlocking doors which we have opened) and then went off to have lunch on the 11th floor deck café. Karran arrived a bit later and we had a chat. That’s the good thing about being together. We have various combinations of us spending time with each other and we all have dinner together every night.
Karran went back to his cabin and I went to Deck 12 and read and sunbathed for a while before feeling bored so I went back to my cabin to have shower and write part of today’s blog entry. We’ll be sailing at 6pm and we’ll likely go for dinner just after that. Tomorrow we have reservations in the Teppanyaki restaurant and that’s for Karran’s birthday since we didn’t have time to do that on his actual birthday (we had to go to bed early for the 2:30am sunrise and bike tour).
I brought some of my school work to do but except for about 5-6 hours on the plane, I have not so much as looked at it but I don’t feel bad. I got lots done in those 5-6 hours. And of course when I go back to work, I have 4 x 12-14 hour days in a row, so I am going to enjoy this time while I can. School work can wait.
On my way back on the tender to the ship, I was sitting on the seat nearest to the gate of the tender so I had a god view of the ocean. The sun was sparkling on the water so that the gentle waves had the most incredible iridescent cobalt blue colour. I tried to capture it with my camera, but all I got was blue-coloured water without the iridescent cobalt blue. I was disappointed but then I consoled myself by thinking that I’d just have to come back again to these places.

It’s about 5:23pm and I am sitting on my balcony facing west with a perfect seat to watch the sun set. The sky is clear and I have my camera (which has been travelling with me everywhere because everything I see seems to be a picture-perfect postcard picture.



So it’s now later in the evening and we’ve just come back to our cabins from having dinner. The waters have gotten rough and it’s supposed to get rougher as the night goes on. Apparently there is a late season hurricane off the Baja Coast of Mexico and it is heading this way. We’ll see what the night is like as it goes on. I just looked out the balcony window and the water is churning up out there. I walked down the stairs to the cabin and if I didn’t know me, I’d think that I was drunk – flopping from side to side as I try to maintain my balance.

I’m going to say Good Night – for now. Good night.
sandra

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