Day 4: you say aloha, and I say aloha

How do you translate the Beatles’ lyrics “you say goodbye, and I say hello” into Hawaiian? Just curious.

Anyway, today was my last mad dash on the Big Island before heading back to Oahu (airport only), and then the mainland.

There was blue sky when I woke up, so I made a third trip to the Jaggar Museum to see if the view over Kilauea was clear, which it was (a bit). Nikon Guy was there again – how many times can you bump into the same person? Mauna Loa was also clear of cloud, but I made the mistake of not going directly there. By the time I had pfaffed around in gift stores and walking the Devastation Trail (from which you see the destruction caused by the cinder ejected from the 1959 eruption of Kīlauea Iki), the clouds descended.

I drove up to the lookout partway up Mauna Loa anyway, and the drive itself was interesting, passing through a variety of landscapes and vegetation. Just as well, because there was nothing but cloud at the lookout. (If you want to get to the summit, you take a 3-4 day hike from the lookout; sorry, not for me.)

That concluded the Hawaiian volcano part of the trip. My next stop was Hilo Hattie, where they sell a variety of goods made in China, Phillipines and Indonesia, but “Designed in Hawaii”. Then I attempted to get an AT&T SIM card for my iPhone – more on that later.

I was surprised to see the number 2 rated thing to do on Big Island (out of 101) was the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center, which includes a planetarium. I just made it for the 3 pm showing of “Two small pieces of glass”, followed by a brief star show. It was pretty good, but I don’t think I’d rate it number 2.

After some more driving around sightseeing (including the Rainbow Falls, which weren’t falling at all due to a lack of water), I attempted to bid “aloha” to the Big Island, only to be thwarted at my first attempt by a broken plane. Because I had a connecting flight to Las Vegas, they put me onto a later flight (which left on time, and earlier than the eventually-fixed plane of the flight I had been on), so I did eventually get away. I spent the flight chatting to the college student next to me (in the “engine seat” – there’s a window, but it looks straight at the engine attached to the fuselage of the 717). When she met up with her friend (seated elsewhere on the plane) and introduced us, her friend remembered me from two nights earlier, then they’d heard and seen an Australian taking photos of the lava flow. Even the Big Island is small.

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