|Onomea Lookout near Hilo, Hawaii|
After five days at sea, we were ready to step onto terre firma in our first port of Hilo, Hawaii. We had planned to visit Volcano National Park, but of course, the park was closed due to the government shutdown. Our ship is comprised primarily of Aussies and Canadians, and many people were very disappointed that they were unable to see this park (and also the Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, our next port). To be honest, we felt embarrassed at the ineptitude of our government. This situation has led to myriad political discussions comparing healthcare plans and governing styles. We noticed from our discussions with the Aussies and Canadians that the rest of the world is watching us very closely, and everyone is quite worried about the impact of our actions (or inactions) on the world economy. They are worried primarily that if we go down, so will they.
Back to the happier subject of our day in Hilo. We had arranged to rent a car, so we hopped on the Enterprise Car Rental shuttle at the pier, and we were soon behind the wheel of a new silver Nissan Altima. It was great fun to be tooling around the Big Island again, as we had done once before in 1994. We visited several waterfalls (Rainbow, Akaka, and some unknown falls), and drove along scenic routes though rain forests and past gorgeous beaches.
|Hiking through the jungle near Akaka Falls|
|Rainbow Falls near Hilo, Hawaii|
|The delicious "Loco Moco!"|
|Hula Girl meets her American cousin|
|Oodles of noodles at the noodle factory in Honolulu|
|View from the Pali (cliffs)|
|Hanauma Bay on Oahu, Hawaii|
We ended our day drinking a few beers and eating garlic fries near the Aloha Tower and admiring the sunset over Honolulu’s harbor. Back on board, we went out on the ship’s bow, and it felt as if our ship had plowed right in the middle of the city. We were surrounded by the high rises of Honolulu, all sparkling in the night sky. Fantastic!
|Making leis in Honolulu's Chinatown|
|Floral array on the Big Island|
|In front of Akaka Falls near Hilo, Hawaii|
|Seaside Blowhole on Oahu|