Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Days 183 and 184 - The Long Road Home and a Big Welcome

Alright, 4.20 AM. Had been worse. When we arrived at Lihue airport shortly after 5.00, there were nearly no people around and a handwritten sign at the bag screening belts said "opens 5.30". Fortunately the agricultural screening opened 20 minutes earlier, so that we didn't have get up so early just for waiting at the airport. I will miss those airports where Aloha music is played to raise the mood a little ;-) Our flight plan was Lihue - Honolulu and, with a very short layover, Honolulu - Los Angeles. Then some four hours overlay in L.A. before finally boarding our very last plane on this trip to Zürich.

Wonderful how we could see Waikiki in the dusk. With more than 160 kmh tail wind at times, we landed in L.A. nearly 40 minutes early - which meant to spend 40 minutes more at the International Terminal waiting for the Swiss counters to open. Interesting that not all airlines have agreements to check bags through. In our case, we had to pick up our bags from Hawaiian Airlines and check them again at Swiss. It's always important to plan some layover time at large airports, especially in L.A. where you never know. After the Swiss counters finally opened 15 minutes late (adding to a waiting time of 40 mins), we could continue our layover at the Star Alliance Gold lounge. Big airport lounges sometimes offer special food: in this case, they offered not only Teriyaki rice and steamed veggies, but you could also compose your own Asian noodle soup.

Fortunately the West coast Swiss flights have a good timeliness performance. After starting as planned, I watched Paper Towns and after dinner I got somehow tired but couldn't sleep for more than two hours in total... Despite the enormous leg space in front of us the seats were quite narrow, so that you had to sleep sitting which caused coccyx pain like always... For breakfast I had my first croissant in six months, and could finally speak Swiss German again! However I thanked the cabin crew in English upon leaving the plane - because I'm just so used to it by now.

We got our luggage fast and immediately a train came, yay, and soon, we both were welcomed by my boyfriend and his father - so good to see them! We were brought home where a "Welcome Back" sign waited for us, surrounded by white snow and freezing cold air, and lanterns guided us into our home. Finally back again! I missed home but I will miss travelling, too.

Some of our journey's facts and figures:
  • exactly 6 months, 184 days (due to a duplicate Thursday in the Pacific after crossing the date line)
  • 1 blog, 156 posts, nearly 4000 views
  • 10 different countries
  • 37 different apartments, hotel rooms or houses
  • 31 flights, a total of ca. 75'530 km
  • ca. 1000 km by train
  • two multi-day road trips of together 4'200 km
  • 0% boredom, 100% good vibes
  • a total of memories

At this point I want to thank you guys for reading my stories and following me during the biggest adventure (so far) of my life! For my part it was just amazing to see so many different things, to discover so much of planet earth before my 18th birthday, even. Can't wait to celebrate with my friends a theme-party: South Pacific!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Day 182 - The Very Last Day

The pictures show what special things we did to celebrate our very last full enjoyable day of our six-month trip: eatin' & relaxin'. We had lunch at the Green Pig food truck again, two servings of the omgbbq sauce pulled pork sandwich and this time with curly fries as their fryer was repaired! The exact opposite of our lunch at Rainbow Living Foods.....

A last time through the Tree Tunnel, a last jump into the waves for a long time. Barefoot, light clothes, perfect temperature. For a conclusion I had my first Mai Tai ;-) to cheer onto that amazing half year, full of unforgettable memories of whose many just can dream. Thank you, dad.

My last sunset on Hawaii for a long time, huh. Understandable that this day and evening became quite emotional. I miss home but I will miss traveling, too!

Day 181 - Awa'awapuhi Trail Rigdewalk

A picture from a lookout

Aaaand the next challenge. I saw a GoPro picture on Instagram of a girl walking along a ridge, which motivated me even more to go on a ridge walk myself. The Awa'awapuhi trail was chosen by my father who had hiked it before. A little more than three miles mostly downwards through forest, mud and bush vegetation with unfortunately increasing fog, too. Then, suddenly, the vegetation disappears except for high grass. The most challenging part of all was still to come. Like on the Sleeping Giant, an "End of Trail" sign was put at the cliff edge to limit the county's liability, even though the trail could be followed further. Of course I had to continue, because the excitement rose, seeing this literally terrific view.

We were not alone as a group of six hikers ahead of us (one of the girls recognized my "stoked" cap from the Kalalau trail) was already picnicking at the top of the cliff. The final meters of the hike were really risky: one foot wrong, you're gonna fall to death, no joke. Straight down many hundreds of meters, and the ground was slippery of sand. But we made it, my dad at least to the last broader and plain horizontal spot. When I climbed on, I first didn't realize that the path to the point where I'm doing the yoga tree pose on, was about one foot broad, only, which didn't terrify me at all for some reason. But what I did realize is that the picture which inspired me to bring my GoPro was taken EXACTLY at the same point where I stood, behind this small plain spot. Isn't that a stunning coincidence? There are so many ridge walks all over the world, and we chose exactly the same path out of so many in Na Pali.......

Looking back to the plain resting spot

What a thrill !!

Anyway, I think this was the hardest hike I did in a while. All the 3.25 miles we went down earlier had to be hiked upwards, again. I tell, you, more than 5 kms is challenging, especially when you had your adrenaline earlier and are kinda tired after half the way, already. My gosh, was I fighting, and slept so well after a nice dinner we had in Kapa'a.

Grand Canyon feelings at the Waimea Canyon

Day 180 - Open Doors Helicopter Flight

Gotten up early this morning, for our super spontaneous helicopter flight. Big excitement because it won't be the regular 7-seater luxury helicopter flight, but a much smaller heli with the pilot only (three guest seats) and, most exciting, with the doors dismounted! The moment of taking off, flying, and later actually sitting hundreds of meters above the ground which you could look at from your seat, this feeling is indescribable. What a thrill when we flew over the volcano erosion ribs that we seemed to touch which wasn't the case of course ;-) and a whole new world of valley opens up beneath yourself. But attention: you really have to pretend to have doors there, because of the air movements around the helicopter. Anything would have been pushed back or down with 200km/h or so. Fortunately I had tied my hair together really nice and tight, it's super strange and somehow awful how the wind whips your face and shake your clothes... After 55 minutes it was all over, and it was good to be on solid ground again, since I felt a little sick from that rollercoaster ride. But it certainly won't be my last helicopter flight.

Unfortunately I cannot share my 55-minute video with you,
but I can post this picture of one of the waterfalls to which
we flew especially close.

One extract of an entire valley fringe at the Na Pali coast. See how thin these ribs are?
Like kilometer high walls.
May I introduce you to the healthiest restaurant I have ever eaten at? It's called "Rainbow Living Foods" and run by the landlord and landlady of our round feng shui rental house. The picture shows the special "Rainbow Burger" which doesn't really look like a burger at all. And it doesn't taste like one, too, but even better! Why? 'Cause it's freakin' vegan, organic, locally grown, gluten free AND raw! Even the -bread- slices weren't baked or so, just dried. How creative is that? This was probably the healthiest meal I've ever had. And have you ever heard of Greenware products?

By the way, we went a little shopping in Kapa'a in the afternoon, had a Shave Ice and finally got a famous Original Dirt Shirt which is hand washed in Kauai red dirt to dye. Yay!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Day 179 - Snorkeling with Turtles and Hiking the Kalalau Trail

Anini beach is famous for its calm waters and the grazing turtles. In about one hour I discovered three turtles quite randomly living their life. The picture above is my favorite from the "shooting", because I was told that turtles usually do not breathe in "danger", when humans are around. But this one did, and how! Did you know that they can breathe fourth times the amount of the human lung capacity with one breath?

After having dried and dressed ourselves, we drove further up to the trailhead of Kalalau, the only trail that goes up and down the Na Pali coast, for 11 miles. As we did not get one of the 60 permits per day, we had a good excuse for only hiking the first two miles into the trail - which was OK because we were neither prepared nor fit nor early enough for a really long hike. Up and down, up and down in crisscross. Not only the view of the sea and the unbelievably sharp mountain ribs was stunning, but also the trail was beautiful. Through jungle and huge spider webs, plastered or totally muddy and slimy. The hiking stick we grabbed at the entrance sign turned out to be really helpful, in spite of feeling like Gandalf 99% of the time ;-)

After having passed several hikers on our way back, we were happy to arrive at the trailhead at sunset. Although we therefore missed the sunset at nearby Ke'e beach, also the dusk was beautiful, with a moon like the Cheshire Cat.


Day 178 - Hiking the Sleeping Giant

Can you read the sign?
"N   ICE"
"E d O   rail!          go beyond this sign - please           "
ha ha

What a beautiful walk. After sleeping in a little, we thought that we were quite late attempting the "Sleeping Giant" trail not far from our rented house. So we hurried the little more than 1000 feet elevation gain to the top in not much more than an hour. A bit hidden, in the woods behind a picnic place with a nice view we headed even further than this sign advised us to go. Actually, the "modified" version of the warning sign even requested us to proceed from the giant's belly al the way up to his head. There was a trail up there, but quite dangerous for shaky joints. When we relaxed at a (already) frightening point to eat our snack and enjoy the view, the neighboring group of youngsters became a little too courageous in taking "cool" pictures by standing on the very edge of the cliff with one leg in the air. Okay, enough. Our descent was even quicker, because the last third of the path we jogged down! This was so funny and challenging somehow, not to trip. Sweaty enough, we drove home and relaxed for the rest of the day ;-)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Day 177 - Another Round House

A round house is good for feng shui, our landlady told us.
And yes, you find at least three Buddha sculptures or
paintings, next to an Egyptian Pharaoh. Together with her
(Indian?) husband they run a restaurant in town that offers
nothing but vegan, raw and gluten free food. Matches!

As the first night in a new home is always confusing, we both woke up quite often and, consequently, then slept in. After getting up late, it was too late for any "big" activity. We had a small breakfast, took our time and started the afternoon at a highly recommended food truck called "Green Pig". Yummie, their menu was printed on black surfboards, quite cool, and we ordered a Loco Moco and BBQ Pulled Pork. Loco Moco is nothing else than rice topped with some meat of your choice, cooked egg and gravy. The BBQ Pulled Pork was a burger with the so called "omgbbq Sauce", and it really tasted like omg. We were accompanied by chickens and a bigger kitten (I'm sure they just wanted my food), and even had fresh flowers on our picnic bench, how lovely!

Practically, the bicycle rental "stall" was right across the food truck. I put this word in inverted commas, because actually it was a horizontal pole where some bikes were locked at, and a table with forms to fill out, a pen and a Nokia cell phone, older than dirt, chained to the pole. With that cell phone you had to call someone at a distant office who took your credit card information and told you the code for the bike lock. There you go!

We biked an hour to the south towards the coconut plantation along the beach, and returned to see the other side towards the North, too. All of a sudden my dad noticed huge splashes on the sea like from a boat, and there were whales JUMPING! We don't know how many were there, but they jumped about five or six times, so that we could see their head. Stunning. The time afterwards they were waving hello and goodbye to us about ten times...

Hi there

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Day 174 through 176 - Whales and Yoga, Palms and Hawaiian Entertainment at the Grand Hyatt Kaua'i

These three luxury resort days weren't lazy at all. My dad was working and I was attending the free yoga classes that the resort offered. So I happened to attend a Yin Yoga class on the first and last day which was pretty awesome, despite the fact that I'm unbelievable inflexible concerning my legs. The first day we did some exercises for the back when I had back pain that could be eased. The third day we did some exercises for the neck which came handy as I had TERRIBLE neck pain that caused heavy head aches in the morning. Why? Because of that ultra exhausting Sunrise Beachside Vinyasa Yoga (!!!) on the second day. Day? It was the sunrise session for which I had to get up at 5.40. Me, as mentioned not flexible at all, and not really a shining example for arm muscles and strength, fighting for 1.5 hours. As the last exercise was to relax lying on the ground, I almost fell asleep.

These two pictures were taken on different evenings. Although Maui is believed to host more whales than Kaua'i, I was impressed by the number of whale off the Poipu coast, in particular around sunrise and sunset. You needn't look for more than 15 mins and you would see at least a spout - sometimes quite far off shore but nevertheless a great sight.

The food looks stranger than it was. I'm not quite sure about the leaf puree inside, but the meat was super tasty (not really fat free) pork, cooked together with a leaf puree in a banana leaf "packing" called laulau. This doesn't mean more than "big leaf". Accompanied by two scoops of rice - so delicious! As the "Koloa Fish Market", a good spot to get hearty local fare like this, is take away only, we ate at a park pavillon closeby...accompanied by fourteen obviouls hungry chickens ;-) Can't explain how they were gazing at my food haha.

We were 15 minutes late and almost didn't find two seats until we
discovered a free table without reservation mark close to the stage,
probably because some VIP didn't come. Lucky us!

I can't believe this happened to me. Every year this conference closes with a Luau organized for the some 1000 participants. Actually I wanted to join my father, but a guest ticket would cost close to 100 dollars which I considered too expensive. The noon before the Luau, when I was waiting in the lobby for my father to finish his lunch I was chatted up by a guy on his way from the elevator to the exit, the suitcase in his hand. "You know there's a party tonight..." and holds his Luau ticket out to me with the explanation "I can't come, I'm gonna leave today". I couldn't realize my luck! He randomly chose me, as if he could divine my thoughts! So glad this world still owes some polite people who know that a simple act of unexpected kindness can save one's day :-) I enjoyed the evening so much. Thanks David!!

In contrast to the regular Luau show that presents a number of dances from different Polynesian islands, the Grand Hyatt's more upscale show concentrated on ancient and modern Hawaiian chants and dances - except of the inevitable Samoan firedancer at the end. We most enjoyed the ancient Hula performance. Did you know that Hula initially was only performed by men, in secret and considered a worship-like activity? Before being forbidden by the missionaries (which appear to be fun stoppers all over Polynesia), however, Hula had developed into an activity done by men and women alike and considered an important part of the daily life of the Hawaiians. Usually chants have many, many verses. The main singer announces the verse by a keyword, and then usually the dancers and the main singer alternate chanting.

Day 173 - Final Goodbye and Final Hello

Another sunrise activity for our collection, this morning - although involuntarily because we had to get up very early to bring my mother and sister to the airport for a 07:20 flight. We had to rebook their flight back home due to my Mother's injury. We brought them to the security line, said the last goodbye, filled up our rental car and then headed on to our own flight to our last island: Kauai!

Everything went good except for that we had to wait for two hours until our room was ready. However it certainly was worth the wait! I've never seen a room with so much space and such a great view. We even each got a Lei made of orchid blossoms. In order to shorten our waiting time, the hotel provided us with food and drink vouchers which came very handy.

Yes, I'm kinda spoiled, because I can be at this resort without even
having to work (my dad has to). Isn't that awesome? So lucky.

When my father then had his first business dinner, I discovered a monk seal on the beach which looked like the stones around it. Hyper cute, but barely doing anything except for breathing, shortly looking around, and once scratching its chin. What a nice introduction to the final ten days of our six-month trip, on Kauai.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Day 172 - Some Exercise

Today was our last chance to climb the Diamond Head - and we took it. Another incentive was to excuse the beautiful unhealthy brekkie at one of the best rated breakfast cafés in the Waikiki area (20 people or more waited to be seated when we left). At 11.30 we had reached the top which was quite easy, only little more than 200 vertical meters. The views of Waikiki, Kalaha, the ocean and the mountain range was spectacular. The way: no comparison to a Swiss "Grüezi-Weg", because you would just be greeting someone every third second. Hundreds of people hurrying up, down or at the viewing point.

If you click here you'll see the place where we went afterwards: The world's largest maze! It is part of the Dole pineapple plantation. You could also tour the plantation, but we skipped the tour because we (exept my sister) still remembered doing it years ago. For the maze we formed two groups, I went with my sister and it took us about 40 minutes to find all the eight stations, a few minutes faster than our parents.

Day 171 - Ala Moana

This morning was shopping morning! Dad first drove us girls to Walmart where we (not dad) could buy Hawaiian trumpery and whim-wham. And finally we had these popular "Mauna Loa" macadamia nuts with lots of chocolate. We spent the rest of the morning nearby in the Ala Moana Shopping Center, the world's largest outdoor shopping mall that caters mainly to Asian tourists - with expensive brand bags, jewelry and apparel. Before we (not dad) could go window gazing we (I) were chatted up by a Marc who was pretty confident, though. What he all said in front of my sister's and mother's eyes and ears... In the end we lost five minutes of our small shopping time budget for nothing and hurried up and down the shops, and even scrambled through a hhhuuuge Victoria's Secret mess of strollers, bras, bikinis, wheelchairs, sportswear and diverse underpants.....

Shopping is no fun anyway at peak times, when you're in a hurry, and when you know you can't buy anything anyway, because both not only very expensive, but also your suitcase is at the 50 pound limit.

In the afternoon we went to the Ala Moana Beach Park (close to the shopping mall) to watch not only the sunset, but also a poor boy being forced to a photo shooting by his parents... By the way, this beach park is an artificially created peninsula where a new resort was planned that then never was built. Actually, I generally don't support such big landscape alterations, like in Singapore, just to create room for even more business and attracting ever more people. I am aware that, by visiting Honolulu, we are a part of this problem, probably even worsening the situation. At least in the case of "Magic Island" (how this part of the Ala Moana Beach Park is called), however, the new space is not used for hotels, condos, businesses or even casinos (like in Singapore), but to create a space for recreation that seems to be welcomed by locals as well as guests.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Day 170 - SUP in Hale'iwa

Super spontaneously we decided to learn SUP, stand-up paddling! We were confirmed the time and hurried from Honolulu to Haleiwa, one hour distance. We first did a dry run before we went out for the real paddling in the midday heat. It was just an amazing experience. We paddled beneath bridges into a river populated by dozens of green sea turtles. They had a favorite place at the riverside where at least a dozen of them rested tightly together. They came so close to our boards that we could clearly observe them.

Of course we not only learned how to paddle straight, but different kinds of turns, like the "kick turn" or "nose turn", and different positions how to stand on the board. After having paddled up the stream for some time, we turned around and lay down on the board, letting us float down for a while. This didn't even felt shaky! But the hard part was yet to come... The small bay that we first crossed kneeling on the board was now to be passed standing. My sister and I did well, almost to the end, when some mean waves stole our board from our feet. Bye sunglasses! The good part: it was very refreshing after two hours in the midday heat ;-) fortunately a SUP board is (compared to canoes) easy to re-climb.

Hale'iwa beach park is equipped with a shower, so that we didn't have stay salty for the rest of the day. After we had witnessed quite a heavy accident (total crash so that the airbags exploded which produced a terrifying bang and smoke, and a piece of the car's lights was thrown at my mother's leg) we had Mexican lunch, then a Shave Ice with canned milk from the most famous Shave Ice shop of North Shore Oahu. The queue was about 30 meters long, and in the shop there were six persons working nonstop to process that number of orders. The main attraction of Hale'iwa however (at least for me) was the gallery shop of Clark Little! I enjoyed his pictures on Instagram for several years, and now I was on site! What a moment. Unfortunately we missed Christmas Day where he was in the shop himself for autographs and talks. As there was a monitor in the gallery screening life-size shots of him, we were in the end able at least to take a virtual selfie with him.

There are two versions of this iconic Hale'iwa sign at either side of the highway:
Politically correct: one displays a guy, the other one a lady surfer.

Day 169 - HAPPY NEW lazy YEAR!

Another lazy day, and instead of doing exercise (as most people probably do on New Year's Day) we bought plenty of donuts and pastries - that's why we had to do some exercise, too, in the end...

Day 168 - New Year's Eve at Waikiki Beach

Last day of 2015! And we had a swim at Waikiki beach, the former paradise beach. In the 1920ies there was only one hotel here which would probably be overlooked today if it hadn't its iconic rose color. The beach is still crowded with bathing people, surfer amateurs, joggers and gazers. My mother couldn't swim, of course, but waited for us to finish our bathing session. After some time behind the jetty where the waves were broken artificially, I noticed that I cut my knee quite deeply and left. We had a Frappucino - which will be my last one, let's see for how long.

For the sunset we drove up to the Mt. Tantalus lookout where we had a 270° view of Honolulu. The sunset wasn't too stunning, but we enjoyed it anyway. We had a nice conversation with some people who had been living in Germany for a while. Soon after the sun set (and the park was closed), we drove to our New Year's Eve dinner at Roy's Hawai'i Kai. I cannot tell how I loved that five-course dinner - which sounds like more food than it actually was. My main course was butterfish with wasabi sauce, tomato essence, lotus root chips and "forbidden" (black) rice - a most delicious farewell from 2015.

We hurried home, re-dressed, grabbed our fake bubbly and rushed to the beach to watch the New Year's fireworks for which Waikiki is famous for. Ten minutes of fireworks in a breathtaking setting of high-rise buildings and lots of people enjoying the evening, too. Awesome!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Day 167 - Welcome to Honolulu!

The view of the Waikiki skyline from our Rental Apartment

Not much to say except for that I had a nice experience with a beautiful flight attendant on our short flight from the Big Island to Honolulu. She praised my shirt at the beginning of the flight, and I asked her where the flowers in her hair had gone at the end of the flight - whereon she asked whether I wanted them. Of course! So I got a nice accessory with an awesome smell, too. Yay!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Day 166 - Kiholo Bay Turtles and a Hospital Emergency

This beautiful formation shows the perfect effusive lava flow which seems to have stopped right here. It can be found after hiking some 30 minutes makai ("towards the sea", see day 165) from the Kona Coast Highway in the middle of quite recent lava flows. The trail leads to Kiholo Bay, the probably best place to swim with turtles on the Big Island.

In this area ancient Hawaiians had built several large fish ponds. Although 40 miles away or so from Mauna Kea, fresh water from the mountain flows into the sea here through long lava tubes. In the 19th century, however, the fish pools were destroyed by new lave flows, and the area is deserted since then.

The absence of people, the fresh water supply and the remainders of the fish ponds create a perfect habitat for big green sea turtles to feed and rest. My father and I went snorkeling first. Usually you won't want to snorkel here because the mix of cold fresh water and warm sea water creates a murky mix with low visibility. You suddenly discover the big turtles coming out of nothing (and really frightening me with that hell of a surprise, no kidding) in the canal between two smaller stone islands. "Surprise? Didn't you see it coming?" I was asked. Nope, no chance to see anything after 1.5 meters distance around you. This is hell of a surprise when suddenly a quite big "flying" thing appears out of nowhere, just have a look at the vid.

When my mother and sister then went snorkeling, my dad went with them to show them the right spots. I cared for myself and was ready to take a nap when I heard loud shouts from the water side. My mother was crying and all the three were upset, started to walk towards the "exit" where I then waited for them to arrive. My mom was pressing onto her hand, because if she didn't, she wouldn't have stopped bleeding. We were really thankful for the spontaneous (though not too much helping) band aid from our neighbor snorkeler's first aid kit, then packed our stuff and walked back to the car which took 30 minutes. After being jammed in the Kona traffic for much more than an hour, we went to the hospital, where my sister and I waited for another one and a half hours until my mom's hand was stitched... What a conclusion for the Big Island stay ;-)

Day 165 - Childhood Memories and the Punalu'u ("Black Sand") Beach

On our way to some early childhood memories we stopped at a really tiny old mission church, the "Painted Church". How cute the crib was and how the pillars turned into palm trees.

This is the house I could clearly remember from my childhood travel memories. Nothing had changed except for the totem poles that I imagined to be way bigger (probably because I was shorter then). The place, called Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau in Hawaiian, had two functions: It was not only a royal compound with ceremonial platforms, a burial place for chiefs (the house in the picture above), fish ponds, etc., but also a place where persons who broke a kapu could flee to. Normally, breaking a kapu meant to be hunted and killed in order to avoid the fury of the gods. There were hundreds of kapus in ancient Hawai'i, from throwing one's shadow on a chief to eating the wrong fish at the wrong time of the year. If you broke a kapu, the only way to avoid punishment was to reach the Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau before your hunters catch and kill you.

By the way: Why are Hawaiian names so long? One reason is that certain words are just repeated to express "very" for adjectives or "big" for nouns. For example, wiki means fast and wikiwiki means what? Very fast. Guess what laulau means, if lau means "leaf".

Another reason is that the Hawaiian alphabet has much less characters as others. When Captain James Cook and other Europeans made their first explorations, the Hawaiian alphabet counted seventeen letters. Nowadays there is a total of twelve letters only. The five missing letters were dropped due to their similar sound, as they were considered to be unnecessary. The old alphabet "A, B, D, E, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, T, U, V, W" was reduced to "A, E, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, U, W". B was dropped for P; R and D were dropped for L; T was dropped for K; V was dropped for W. This is why the well-known word "taboo" is written tapu in Polynesian Maori language and kapu in Hawaiian language. As in the Hawaiian language diphthongs are used quite often (AE, AI, AO, AU, EI, EU, OU), this adds to the average length of Hawaiian words. Fortunately, the words are comparably easy to pronounce for native German speaking persons than for others.

The most thoughtful readers of my blog will notice some familiarities here:
All over Polynesia, people built platforms of this type to perform their religious ceremonies and to bury important people. We've seen very similar constructions in Mo'orea and of course on the Easter Island (where they were flatter, like terraces for the moai). This example here is close to Kealakokua Bay. While these platforms are called Marae in French Polynesia, their name in Hawai0i is Heiau.

Pretty interesting were these two spots on the way to the Punalu'u (Black Sand) Beach. The metal flamingo is a very creative mailbox, but also the two-dimensional palm trees with real-life coconuts were cute. Not to forget about the inflatable Santa Claus. The second shot shows a collection of unbelievable 27 mailboxes, each more or less scrapped. On the Big Island, houses are scattered and people come to the circle road to pick up their mail and go places. There are even special words in Hawaiian for "between the road and the sea" (makai) and "between the road and the mountain" (mauka).

At the Punalu'u ("Black Sand") beach we then saw our first wild turtles, resting in a designated turtle resting area. How come that they lie exactly at the right place, all the three, the only three? Nobody can tell, maybe they're really smart animals. Anyway, we enjoyed the black sand which was really black and original (because it's just crushed and hackled lava), and another lost turtle at the very end of the beach, trying to have a rest in the sand but ending up between rocks, blocking the beach access, and being scratched over the rocks back to the sea - ouch!