We've been on the Big Island of Hawaii for nine days. Usually I get restless after this much time away. Not this year!
It's our fourth visit to the Big Island, our third to this two-bedroom condo resort in Waikoloa - six miles upslope from resort beaches, 30 miles north of Kona. It's breezy here in the afternoon. There's a local shopping center and a residential community of about 7,000. No muumuus, luaus, leis or tour buses. Just daily temperatures in the upper 70s - whether cloudy, sunny or pouring rain for five minutes. We leave the sliding glass door open. One day I forgot the screen was there and walked into it! We wear light clothing and no shoes unless we're headed out. We eat in most of the time. We read and chat and nap. We read about the weather at home and we're glad we're here.
A daughter and son-in-law visited for three days last week. They perused our favorite book about the area - "Hawaii: The Big Island Revealed" - and decided what we'd see on our two-day trip to the other side of the island. We ascended Mauna Kea - me to the 9200-foot visitor center, the rest to the 13,200-foot summit. We took a short hike to Akaka Falls, ate at a roadside place with fabulous smoothies, settled into cottages in Volcano, dined grandly at the Kilauea Lodge, paid a nighttime visit to a new eruption inside the park, hiked two miles at the bottom of Chain of Craters Road, visited South Point - formerly a favorite stopping point on the way back from the park, but not so interesting now that the eerie sound of the wind farm on the highway has been silenced by a newer one further from the road - and completed the two-day circle drive in time for a homey meal.
The best part of this visit, though, was spending time with Melissa and Scott as four grownups rather than parents and offspring. They're interesting people - fortunately, our politics are similar because they were certainly discussed! - and we share a fondness for good books, quiet times and out-of-the-way places. Plus, we laugh a lot when we're together. And Scott drove. Wonderful!
On our own, Art and I have taken a couple of beach walks and a short hike to petroglyphs. We've befriended the local animals - especially the turkeys - and watched the golfers nearby. We've explored most of the rest of the island on our previous visits, so this time it's been quiet. That's mostly a good thing.
We get home late tomorrow night, to temperatures about 40 degrees cooler - and Friday is a full day - exercise class and a meeting and a massage and a holiday gathering in the evening. Plus a quick stop at the mall to pick up Christmas gifts for two grandchildren.
It's been a good time away. I think our next trip here will be for longer. I'll miss it.