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Back to Reality

Is any vacation ever really long enough? I think not. Nevertheless, I am glad to be home.
I had an amazing time in Hawaii, though. I did so much that the trip seems shorter than it was.
The highlight of the trip was a 4.5 hour hike (roundtrip) out to the active lava flows on the south end of the island. We got up at 2:30am and started hiking around 3:30am so we could see the hillside glowing and get out to the coast in time for the sunrise. It was a tough hike out on a practically unmarked “trail” in the dark, especially since we had to keep our flashlights and eyes trained at the ground and it was very hot out near the lava, but well worth it. In the photo above, you can see how close I got to the actual lava: about 5-10 feet from a small cauldera! The steam in the background is where the lava is flowing into the sea.

I’ll post more about my visit to Greenwell Farms, where I learned about the coffee making process, had some great coffee, and purchased green Kona beans to roast at home, when I try to roast the beans myself. I also had the best chocolate covered coffee beans I’ve ever tasted there. My tour guide there picked papaya, avocado and mango fresh off the trees for me – best avocado can remember.

I also saw endangered green sea turtles, took a ride through a century old sugar plantation’s irrigation system, hiked through a lava tube and out over a lake of lava, visited several holy/historic temples (heiaus), saw a few waterfalls, went to a luau and tasted poi, took the best horseback ride I’ve ever had on a vacation and, of course, relaxed!

My favorite meal was the Mahogany Glazed Tofu at Brown’s Beach House. The tofu was incredibly creamy. I wish I would have had time to go back and do their veggie tasting menu, but that just means I’ll have to take another trip out there. My favorite appetiser was the Hummus and Pita at the Kona Brewing Company, which was great. Their portions are huge, so don’t get overambitious in ordering. Their bread is made from spent grain used during the brewing process. I also had some very good pizza at Cafe Pesto. I would definately recommend all three of these places. Heck, I’ll recommend the whole island!

The photos, from top to bottom, are: active lava, recently cooled lava, sunning sea turtle, Thurston Lava Tube, Kiluea Iki lava lake, a waterfall in Hilo, a delicious coconut-mango slice (that I will have to attempt to recreate sometime), luau torches, the horse I rode (Lihua), carvings at the Place of Refuge and the sunset, with the island of Maui in the background.


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  • alan
    June 4, 2005

    Your lava photos are stunning. It has been my impression that few are able to get into good position to see more than a distant orange glow. You were right on top of it all!

  • Mika
    June 4, 2005

    Your vacation sounds so good right now with things being hectic job-wise. I went to hawaii five years ago but did not do the trek. I wish I had… The plantation also sounds great. Did you get a lot of coffee and macadamias from there???

  • Stephanie
    June 4, 2005

    I read this, turned to the husband and said “Take me to Hawaii!” followed by “Take me to Hawaii???”…you took such gorgeous photos, and the food sounds fantastic.

    I wanna go now!

  • Ana
    June 4, 2005

    Welcome back Nic. It looks like you had a wonderful time.

    What is that cake in the picture?

  • Zarah Maria
    June 4, 2005

    Wow, sounds like an amazing trip Nic – and gorgeous pictures, I like the one with the horse! Glad to have you back!

  • Cathy
    June 4, 2005

    Wow – I was fascinated by Mount Etna and the only activity I saw was steam. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to see molten lava. Welcome back Nic – so glad you had a great time!

  • Nic
    June 4, 2005

    Alan, Stephanie, , Zarah and Cathy: Thanks, I’m glad to be back. I hope you all get to go and check out the lava for yourselves sometime!

    Mika – I got some green beans to try roasting myself. And macadamias were on everything! I also got to taste cinnamon plants while I was on a boat ride (the guide lept ashore). Tasty!

    Ana – That’s the coconut mango slice. It looked so gorgeous I just had to get some! Very tasty, too. I hope I can recreate it!

  • Clare Eats
    June 4, 2005

    Hi Nic that looks likle a lovely holiday.
    How is your coffee roasting going? Are you using a popper?
    Once you start, there is no going back! 🙂

  • Nic
    June 5, 2005

    Hi Clare. A Popper? Like for popcorn? I’ve never heard of that… I was planning to use my oven.

  • Clare Eats
    June 6, 2005

    Oh no no no no
    Buy a $20 popper,
    take the stoopid platic top off
    Get a tin can, take both ends off
    attach the tin to the popper by tying it on. put about 150 gms of green coffee in. Turn it on.
    Stir with a long wooden spoon til it starts to turn by its self.
    Then it will go bright green, yellower, then brown then a bit darker, it will start to “crack” this is called first crack it will get more violent then stop cracking wait awhile it will start cracking again. This is called second crack. Turn off. Pour the coffee into a metal sieve (it is very hot, be carefull) toss to cool down. There perfectly roasted coffee very easily done :).

    Some people say wait 24 hrs.. I never seem to wait that long 😉

    is a forum if you have any problems/questions

    I hope it makes sense!

  • Nic
    June 6, 2005

    Thanks for the tips, Clare. I hope I’ll be able to put them to good use later this week.

  • Clare Eats
    June 6, 2005

    if you have a problem email me
    clarexican at gmail dot com

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  • […] to ferret out a place that brews good coffee yourself, but you won’t get many closer to the source and Kona coffee is some of the best in the world. Roasting green beans is an amazing experience, […]

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