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Hawaii 2009

posted Jan 22, 2010, 2:22 PM by Maulik Shah   [ updated Jan 22, 2010, 2:27 PM ]

Hawaii Pictures

Christmas: a holiday celebrated on a snowy morning in the middle of winter. Or, running around Hawaii's largest island!

Neither of us had been to 'Big Island' before so we were in for many new treats. The adventure began even before we left. Having booked our flights and hotel, we realized that renting a car in Hawaii, over the holidays, is damn near impossible. Only a private operator, found on Craigslist, who had been planning to bring in an extra car from a different island, saved the vacation. Not having been to the island, we were hoping that public transportation might be a slower, but reliable substitue for a rental car. After having driven almost a 1000 miles during our stay, we know it would have been impossible to do 75% of what we did with public transportation and the same budget would have allowed only 50% had we went with private tours. In any case, we got the car and life was good.

Notes on our itinerary.


  • Watching lava spill into the ocean under a clear sky is unreal.
  • Professional lava photographers are exceedingly humble.
  • Convincingly portraying sulfer dioxide poisoning is challenging.
  • Buying a purse from White House commissioned egg carver is an odd feeling.
  • Spending time in a pitch-black lava tube can jog the imagination.
  • When ascending 9000 feet on a 100 mile drive, scenery changes rapidly enough to make you wonder where you really are.
  • Watching sunset from above the clouds is slightly mind-boggling.
  • A clear sky, at elevation, is arresting.
  • Ocean kayaking is unmistakably calming.
  • Sharing a reef with an eel is unsettling.
  • One experiences fear of one's head meeting rocks more readily when one is older.
  • Black sand is a poor choice for building a sand castle.
  • A sea turtle's nest is hard to detect.
  • Even a Ford Focus can handle a broken road, given enough patience.
  • Walking in a delta is really fun.
  • Ascending 900 ft in 1 mile is easier in the back of a jeep than it is on foot.
  • Going on a timed photo safari in a botanical garden is odd kind of race.
  • Large sea turtles cannot see in murky water any better than you can.
  • Walking with an SLR waist-deep in the ocean is less harrowing if you're already planning on buying a new one.
  • The sights make it remarkably easy to see the passage of time, on a geological scale.