Day 2 of Hawaii – Big Island!
Hmm.. we landed at Big Island groggy, jet lagged, tired and sleepy at the Hilo airport at 9:00 PM on Day 1… And we had a 4 hour drive to look forward to reach our resort.. And just to make sure we did not have the slightest notion of enjoying the drive, we were warned by the scary-yet-helpful-Avis-lady as to how winding/tricky/teachorous/the roads were… And it was imperative we stay awake since we were unfamiliar to the area/roads.. yup, that’s why we needed to stay awake!
The giving soul that I am, I engaged Krishna, the driver, in a conversation hoping to keep him awake long enough to reach our destination alive. Apparently the conversation was far from scintillating since I was apparently giggling, snapping, snoring, babbling, echoing the GPS in various accents and sometimes just staring at him.. whatever!
Anyway, we reached the Outrigger Keauhou Resort close to 1 PM and thought we heard some ocean-y sounds. But priority people.. check-in and sleeeeeeeeeeep.
And we woke up to this.. a glorious, sunny day… perfect for the beach! We headed down to the continental breakfast lounge and filled up on the usual veggie suspects.. pancakes, toast etc. But the fresh fruit is something else! I am a fruit-hater (yes, we exist) but I couldn’t stop gorging on the pineapple.
Then, we moved onto a presentation by an “Expedia local expert” who gives us the insider info about the local must-sees. Apparently this presentation happens on most resorts in this area. This is something I would recommend.. they do give you enough gyaan to plan an itinerary. But the emphasis is on signing up on one of their many organized tours.
Anyhoo, our next stop was at the Outrigger beach. Apparently this resort is one of the few on this part of the island which has its own beach. Well… this beach is not of the soft-sandy-clear variety. It is rocky, full of stones and impossible to wade through. But apprently that’s what makes it perfect for snorkelling!! There were scores of snorkellers in this really small 30 feet stretch of sand.
Krishna immediately rented some equipment from an extremely drunk and extremely happy man and paddled off to see him some fish. Unable to willingly put my head underwater “to see some fish” I declined and instead chose to gingerly step over rocks, wade in the water and just enjoy the view… Till a turtle emerged on a rock a few feet away from me.. I just stared mesmerized and a little scared. And then, through the super clear waters I saw another turtle and multiple schools of fish. Kish emerged beaming ecstatically from seeing “an entire mini ecosystem underwater”. Apparently, I wasn’t seeing even 10% of what he’s seeing. But I was shivering at this point and we headed back to the resort to embark on our next activity – a culture tour of the resort (C’mon, you know you want to know more…)
This resort resides on a heritage site and so, they have Hawaiian guides from the heritage center offering a 2 hour free culture tour. This includes a leh-making class, offering it with a chant to the Higher Spirit, an explanation of the fish ponds which draws in the first, a first hand experience of the erstwhile Hawaiian Olympics and culminates in the planting of saplings – a gesture to preserve the ecosystem. Interesting, informative and fun when the games were on! :) This resort has a bunch of arts ‘n crafts classes on the weekdays – leh making, hula dancing – all free!
Alright, seeing that we skipped lunch, away and onwards to dinner then.. the person at the concierge desk recommended Hilton Waikoloa Village – “It is the adult disneyland of Hawaii… they have indoor gardens filled with exotic plants, birds and animals, dolphin shows, indoor canals with boat tours. I actually made quite a bit of money selling fully grown coconut trees at $1000 apiece to the resort developers… Its not geniune Hawaiian by any means but an entertaining evening for sure. And it has a beach perfect for viewing the sunset”.. We were sold!
We were late… Well, I was late! And by the time we were out, the sun was already setting and we were about 30 minutes from the Hilton. But just then, we spied the sign to the Veteran’s cemetery/also the landmark to the Kua Bay Beach Park - one of the best beaches ever as per the Expedia guide. We drove in and man, were the sights beautiful… It finally hit us.. we were actually in Hawaii :)
Alright then, off to the Hilton. Ok, first impressions – it is HUGE! They actually have a train inside to transport people through the resort. The resort is extravagant, luxurious and completely artificial. You can get day passes to use the many luxurious pools. You can avail the beach facilities, apparently the beach here is pretty nice, however the parking for the beach fills up really soon. And you can also indulge in shopping, dolphin watching, dine in one of the 7-8 restaurants all within the cosy air conditioned enclaves of the the resort. In other words, you can spend your complete vacation here without setting a foot outside.
Right then.. dinner for us. After consulting with the extremely friendly lady at the concierge we opted for the “kamuela provision company” restaurant. There were no vegetarian options on the menu but we were told that the chef could make some of the options vegetarian on request.
- Setting is just spectacular, its right by the ocean and its super romantic with all the candlelit tables. Just aaaahhhhhh!
- Food was extremely passable - our pesto was made of sweet potato, too sweet for our palates. Onion rings were greasy and lukewarm. Don’t remember the other order.
- Service – I want to say good. But he did forget to make my pesto vegetarian and I realized the mistake only after a couple of bites. But he was extremely apologetic and offered us free dessert which we declined.
** Umm.. if this post sounds girly, its coz Krishna’s wife as a guest writer (ahem!) has posted this **