It was around 7am when I woke up – and we decided to get a move on because other than the hammocks, there wasn’t anywhere to sit in the cabana, so we packed up and headed back to the Low Store for more shave ice and this time – yes – the wasubi. It was freshly made and warm, so I bought it for Kai because she’d wanted to try it, and we both loved it!
We had a super full itinerary that day, so we moved on immediately to the Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Gardens. This was one of the most impactful days of the trip, and here’s why:
Before I left on this journey, my mom had, as I mentioned, given me a bag of my Nana’s ashes.
Well, Kai and I spent the entire day meandering through the gardens, looking at all the beautiful flowers and trees, and I kept in the back of my mind that I wanted to leave Nana’s ashes somewhere special.
But every time some place looked good, I changed my mind because it wasn’t Perfect. We saw giant parrots and a ‘blowhole’, a hole in the rocks where ocean waves would crash through, every so often creating a huge blowhole effect with water shooting out. As much as I might have appreciated the humour of that final resting place, the truth was I didn’t know my Nana well at all and I suspected she may not have found it as funny as I did (my mom later confirmed I made the right call on that one).
Finally, I found the spot: there was a circular path off the main walkway with just ferns, and beyond that, just a couple feet down a dirt path, was a collection of bright red and pink flowers, completely different from anything else we’d seen. I decided that was perfect for Nana – nice and quiet with not a lot of traffic, but also a little shaded and amongst the beautiful flowers.
On the way out, I cried because I thought about my Nana, and how I wished I’d been able to teach her how to use a smart phone and the internet!
It was such a beautiful day, we didn’t have any rain and even though we were tired and hot, we loved every moment of that part of the trip.
Afterward, we drove to Just Cruisin’ Coffee because we really wanted some food and some wifi. They had a giant Connect 4 game which we played, and Kai won (somehow. Grr). We got two different sandwiches and swapped a half for a half, then took our frappuccinos and walked to the water to sit and watch all the different types of birds. We were the only ones on the grassy hill. We discussed what to do that night and the next day – we had a big decision to make regarding Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world when measured from the ocean floor, over 10 000m.
There were plenty of tours up Mauna Kea, and we couldn’t take the rental car because 4x4s were mandatory on the mountain and my insurance wouldn’t cover it if we got into any kind of trouble. We decided to rent a truck just for the day so we could climb the mountain ourselves – the tour costs were so prohibitive, and renting another truck would be about $200 Canadian, which we partially justified by deciding to sleep in the truck the night we had it, therefore saving money on accommodations.
But for tonight, we still needed somewhere to stay. We found an airbnb in Hilo and hit up a grocery store before we went there, stocking up on poke fixings and food to take with us up the mountain.
The airbnb was lovely that night – the master suite in a bedroom with an en suite. I really wanted a bath that night, and Kai even cleaned the tub out for me, but there was no tub stopper. However, we had an absolute blast with our dinner and drinks, lounging on the bed and watching Gentleman Jack (hold my horses is she foxy or what!) and an episode of Homecoming, with Julia Roberts. We slept brilliantly in the queen-sized bed. It was the only airbnb where we couldn’t hear the frogs very well.