Saturday, 2 February 2013

Chasing the Sun to Hilo

The Banyan trees of Hilo....
The Japanese gardens.
The last leg of the journey, from LA to Hilo on the Big Island, was certainly the most gruelling. As I took off from LAX, I watched the red sky of the sun setting as we flew out over the Pacific, chasing sunset west around the planet.  I finally made it to Uncle Billy's Hilo Bay hotel around 10ish local time, only to be awake again ridiculously early.   Amazingly, the sun was shining on Hilo, so I took off to soak up some of the humidity before driving up the the summit (where, I'm told, humidity is currently hovering around the 1% level, perfect for observing).  I wandered to Coconut Island for a view back across the bay to Downtown Hilo, then via the Japanese Gardens and along the bay drive to the town centre.  I took a leaf out of a Frommers guidebook and did a half-hour walking tour around downtown, seeing some of the buildings that survived the onslaught of Hilo's two tsunamis last century.  I stumbled across the Hilo Farmers Market, which was packed with people at 8.30 am and glistening with fresh Hawaiian produce and flowers, before wandering back to the hotel as the Sun rose higher in the sky.

Then it was back on the road to climb 4.2 km into the sky up the flanks of Mauna Kea....

Looking up into a Banyan tree

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