All posts by schinygirl

I've lived in Hawaii nearly all my life. Although I love my home, I travel every chance I get, and once I spent 13 fabulous months traveling around the world solo. Claim to fame: I've been to every continent.

News Flash: Desert life is different from rainforest life

So yeah, I knew things would be different in the desert, but I keep being surprised.  In my old home in Hawaii, 90% humidity was a dry day.  Here in the desert, laundry hung on the line is fresh and dry in 20 minutes, as opposed to taking so long to dry at my old place it often had to be rewashed.  And there’s the skin situation: mine is so dry, not only are cracks forming on my fingers (even bleeding!) and my sinuses so parched (even bleeding!), I can no longer use my thumbprint to log into my Iphone and Ipad.  I mean really – changing finger prints? This was definitely unexpected.

Surprises aside, it has been a very pleasurable first few weeks in my new life.  Southern California has so much natural beauty, I fear for my life: the other day I motored over a mountain and nearly drove over the edge a few times so enthralled was I!  (I also fear for my life in the unfamiliar arena of freeway driving: 70 mph is considered slow-poking it.)  The sunrise in the valley I am in is sublime; sunsets can be spectacular (see above).  The desert changes colors by the hour; there are ten billion types of cacti; and the land is loaded with birds – a wonderful surprise.

My search for a vehicle/RV has taken me to many areas of SoCal, and the quality of life is so diverse: from pristinely manicured neighborhoods with roads named after movie stars to rusty, dusty cow towns with their own brand of lowbrow artistry.  As I am new to these woods, I have been depending on Google maps to find my way, and, boy have I been sent on weird (if gorgeous) paths.  Once I was directed to drive through a gated Indian reservation, where the security guard just said, “Nope” and showed me how to turn around and get myself to the mega mall I was seeking.  Google maps also sent me on an “alternate route four minutes longer” that turned out to actually take hours longer and led me up the sides of mountains where camouflaged men with guns, arrows, and huge bushes of beards eyed me with wariness: mine was the only white compact car amongst numerous muscular pickups (driving really fast) on curving, forested roads with “ICY” and “CHAINS REQUIRED” signs, and not one bar on my phone to seek further directions.

Back in Coachella, my friend sent me to a nearby yard sale for items for my new digs, and in my usual nosiness I asked the seller where she was moving; “Back to Hawaii,” she said.  Turns out she has property a few miles from my former home. We’re trading places.

On a recent quest to check out RVs for sale, I passed a sign indicating the Pacific Crest Trail, and this sent a thrill through me, although I do not intend to tackle that hike.  It’s just so famous and so storied, I was stoked to actually see a trail head.  This venture also took me to Oceanside on the night of its night open market, which was much larger than Uncle Robert’s in Kalapana and with a completely different vibe.  And although there were several food trucks with Hawaiian themes, I have to report that not one of the workers I questioned was from Hawaii.

After Oceanside, I checked out a vehicle in Pacific Palisades, which happens to be a ridge away from one of the terrible California wildfires.  However, in the tony town I had (a fantastic) lunch in, well-dressed patrons sipped their teas and chatted amiably, seemingly without concern for the nearby destruction.  But it did affect my plans: the spreading smoke caused me to cancel my trip to Northern California.  Here’s how my Bay Area brother described the severity of the smoke: You can look directly at the sun.

Anyway, here are some photos for your enjoyment.









Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to.

Kalapana return, and discourse on falafel

I returned, as I said I would, to Uncle Robert’s in search of “Middle Eastern” food, which in my opinion, is some of the best food on the planet. What I had last night did not disappoint.

In order to work up an appetite, first I hiked out to the black sand beach that was created 28 years ago when lava covered this area, including many beloved beaches, parks, and homes; the Painted Church was hauled away to a safer spot, and sits there still. It was the summer I moved to Hawaii Island from Oahu. What an introduction.

For dinner I met up with a long-time and very-well-traveled friend. As we ate our dinner, she spoke of the best falafel she’d ever had, in Damascus (they put French fries in the falafel!), although Amman had some decent offerings, too. Hanging out talking about travel and adventure over a good meal with smart friends – it doesn’t get much better than that.

Here are some photos; hope you enjoy them. FYI, there is a strong sentiment of Hawaiian sovereignty in Kalapana. And delicious falafel.

Circle(ish) Island Tour

Took a mini break up along the northeast coast, then west, then north to Hawi, the most northern part of the island, traveling deep in horse country and later along whale routes.   It was great, although the many changes in terrain apparently muddled my brain: I ordered an $18 sandwich. It was yummy, but yikes!

Here are some images from the day. One mountain is Mauna Kea (hint: telescopes); the other is Haleakalā on Maui.  They can see each other.

The graffiti was discovered in a beach pavilion. The dogs had just finished a swim.  The horses I met were very friendly.  In the case of Truck v Nature, Nature won.  The house is an example of disappearing old Hawaii.

Night Market, Kalapana

Shamefully, after nearly three decades of Hawaii Island residence, last night marked my first visit to Uncle Robert’s celebrated Wednesday night extravaganza.  My immediate reaction: I’m going again next Wednesday!  The urge to revisit is prompted primarily because I discovered Lebanese food for sale after I’d already ordered something else – I’m a fool for baba ghanoush – and also because the delectable vegan ice cream folks from Pahoa, Nicoco, have a stand there, too.  But I also want to go again because next week I’ll include time for a hike to the nearby (relatively) new black sand beach, because the market is a visual delight, and because soon I’m leaving Hawaii for a bit and want to absorb what I can.

A few weeks ago, I said aloha to my privately-situated, day-time quiet, but cold and rainy Volcano home and am now ‘camping in a house’ near the ocean, where it is very not cold.  Here I can wear shorts, sleep without layers of clothing and blankets, and listen to the waves break on the nearby cliffs.  It is altogether different from my former home.  I like it. Very much. 

But back to the Night Market.  Besides an amazing variety of fruit for sale, I found the expected Lower Puna merch: tie-dye, herbal remedies, and unbreakable smoking pipes.  There were fairly lights and countless vegan options, but oddly no patchouli, perhaps a happy result of all the novelty soap available.  

Central to the event is live music, complete with Dancing Nancys (no relation).  In the crowd, there were many languages spoken and a respectable representation of human body types swaying to the music.  Some people wandered happily in their leather kilts or with feathers and sparkles in their hair; there was a huge assortment of food for sale.  It got crowded with both ‘local’ people who seemed very happy and out-of-towners who stared bug-eyed at the spectacle before them.  I captured some of it with my camera, but the photos don’t do it justice, of course.  

One of the groups of performers was comprised of mixed race folks playing uncommon instruments, wearing clothes of seemingly mixed origin, and singing in languages I couldn’t discern.  I turned to one of my common-table seatmates and asked what kind of music it was: Vietnamese folk music was the answer.  Um, that seemed way off, and the beer I had just finished encouraged me to respond “Are you bullsh*tting me?” He gestured towards to his comrade who was the source of this knowledge.  After a lengthy description of the types of instruments being played, the sartorial choices of the performers, and references to Ghana, East Asia, and the Caribbean, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Hey, it’s Kalapana.”  That explained all.

Here are some photos of the market, as well as some of the Lower Puna coastline, for good measure.

















Hawaii in October . . .

Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to.

This is not Hawaii

If you were expecting something about the eruption, here’s an interesting tidbit I read this morning:  After Kilauea’s 1924 summit explosions, the volcano entered a decade of piddly rumblings, followed by 18 years of silence. Experts say Kilauea may be heading toward years — even decades — of little or no activity.

“Piddly.”  We shall see.  Silence would be nice.  As would fresh air.  And no lava eating houses.  Or lava bombs in the backyard . . .

And now, I turn to another past.  In preparation for a photography course I plan to take (gotta figure out the blinding white parts), I started dredging up photos from previous travels, necks of temporary woods.

These are from one of my trips to Egypt, land of contrasts.  They were all taken in or very near Cairo (with an old camera).  Many Cairenes jostled to have their picture taken.  Some, not so much.