Saturday, June 24, 2006 10:45 PM
part 18

I got my driver's license. It took me a long time before I attempted it, because I thought that I needed to practise the things that I did in Australia, like reverse-parking, and a hill-start. Eventually I went for the test, which consisted of driving three times around the block. This explains much.

After getting my license, I drive us 30 miles for some special crab. The place was full of people when we got there, but we stayed long enough to get a table. It was so good that we went again on a different day. We got there 5 minutes after the opened, yet there were people inside who already had their food! It's that good.

Ling-Li and I went to Hawai'i. The airport terminal is outdoors. Not just outside, but open to the elements - the wind whistles through the doorways, and when it rains, the place must flood.

Since the island is of volcanic origin, the surroundings are barren and composed of dense basalt (which is deep black). It reminds me of Iceland, but without the lichen. There is also porous basalt (which is bright white) everywhere, which people have collected and formed into "graffiti". I suppose they could be called "petroglyphs". The highly constrasting tones makes them impossible to miss. They extend for about 30 kilometres, at which point the lava is sufficiently old that the grass has taken over and there is no more light basalt. I wonder who created the first petroglyph and if it's still there.

These "petroglyphs" are of people's names, pictures of the island, declarations of love, even a "Happy Birthday". There were also characters that I suppose were Kanji, as opposed to Hanzi or Hanja, given the popularity of the island among the Japanese. Not that I could have read it anyway.

We went snorkelling. There's a reef near to the beach, which makes it convenient to reach, but since the water is shallower, it has been heavily damaged by the tourists. There are lots of other reefs, but to reach them requires a boat ride on the open ocean, and we both get seasick too easily.

We stayed at a resort. From a distance, it looked like an oasis - black basalt as far as the eye could see, except for some palm trees clustered around a couple of buildings. The resort had a jacuzzi. The jacuzzi had a button set into the rock to control the jet.

I saw a sign for the zoo - presumably filled entirely with introduced species and birds. If it were only land animals, it would be mostly empty. All those lizards hitching a ride on the driftwood.

Breakfast was a shared omlette because it looked like they used a dozen eggs to cook it. Of course I'm exaggerating. It was only half-a-dozen. Really this time. Hawai'i is known as the "big island" for a reason.

A nearby resort has only a golf course completed, the rest of the land is cleared but empty. Nowhere to sleep but somewhere to play. That speaks volumes about the priorities that abound here.

The "World Botanical Gardens" isn't. It's also not worth visiting.

We went on a submarine tour. We got seasick on the way out to the submarine because of rough water, but it was not too bad. The submarine went to a depth of 101 feet, becaue the operators claim that only 1% of the world population has been down that far. The submarine audio played the "Jaws" theme while surfacing.

We went horseback riding in the Waipeo valley. My horse walked me into a tree several times and also took me through long grass. The first two times I thought that it was accidental, but after the third time I realised that the horse just didn't like me.

After the horse ride, we stopped at a local shop that offered home-made icecream. We had one, and it was really good. It was so good that we had a second one. Then a third one. We had different flavours each time.

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