Vacation in the Time of COVID-19: Episode I, Hawaii Big Island – Getting There

For three years I dreamed of going back to Hawaii. I know that Hawaii are great almost year round. But I have a very particular time when I prefer to go there – the end of September, when water is very warm already, but the weather is not excruciatingly hot any longer.

In 2019, we had to do a long European business trip right at that preferred time. So, we added a visit to the UK as our vacation, which was great not just as a consolation but on its own as well (and having to choose between these two destinations I might have chosen London anyway).

In 2020, we had to cancel the trip because the islands were closed for short visits, and we couldn’t have left Rusty for 2 weeks of quarantine + a week of vacation. We booked this year vacation back in April. But as we were getting closer to the date, the Delta variant was on a rise, the situation in Hawaii was getting worse, and a couple of days before the departure my vSO was persuaded that he had the symptoms (we checked and both tested negative, which cost us an equivalent of a really nice bottle of perfume). So, until the time we boarded the airplane to fly to Kona, I wasn’t sure that we would make it to there this year.

We did, and it was an extremely enjoyable vacation.

Flying into Kona 2021

I have shared already several glimpses into my days in Hawaii with those of my readers who follow me on Instagram as well. If you don’t have an IG account, you still can click/tap on the picture to the right (web)/on the bottom (mobile) to see all 8 posts. But I decided to do an additional show and tell (mostly show) on my blog.

Over the next days, in-between the regular posts, I’ll be publishing sets of pictures from my vacation combined by some topic and maybe adding some descriptions if anything comes to mind as I choose pictures for sharing.

The condo we stayed in was nicely decorated with some elements of Japanese and tropical decor and a large sub-zero refrigerator, into which we immediately placed some white wine for dinner and two bottles of perfumes that I brought with me.

 

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And Hapuna Beach, the largest of the island’s white sand beaches, to where we went right away for the first swim, was still as wonderful as we remembered it. That evening the ocean was probably the warmest and calmest of all days we swam.

Hapuna BeachTo be continued…

 

Images: my own

Big Island Vacation, Episode III: Trivia Edition

As my friend Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume) usually does it, here’s a disclaimer: this is not a perfume-related post. But you know what? If you read my “perfume” posts and are still around, I would bet that this one can’t be that much less interesting/useful.

This trip to Hawaii was quite educational, and I do not use it as a euphemism for something unpleasant. Quite literally, I learned many new and interesting trivia bits and had interesting experiences, mostly food-related, which now I plan to share with you.

Did you know that…

  • Between 1790 and 1870, sandalwood was a major part of Hawaii’s agricultural industry1. Too bad it’s not any more – it would have been interesting to compare it to sandalwood from other areas.
  • In the 1960s, Hawaii was responsible for 80% of the world’s pineapple. Today, Hawaii produces only 2% of the world’s pineapple. But 90% of the world’s macadamia nuts are still produced there [1].

Big Island Macadamia Nuts

  • Peaberry coffee (oval, pea-shaped coffee beans) is not a special coffee variety but rather a rare (about 5%) mutation produced by regular coffee trees.
  • Roasted coffee beans are bigger than green ones [2].

Big Island Roasted Coffee

  • Passion fruit is a vine.

Passion Fruit

  • Strawberry guava is considered the most invasive plant in Hawaii [3].

Big Island Strawberry Guava

  • Left not picked, a tea bush can grow higher than the tallest person.
  • Both green and black tea are grown on the same bush but, counter-intuitively, green tea is “cooked” (leaves are heated in a special appliance, shown below, to stop the oxidation), while black – isn’t [4].

Big Island Tea Roasting Machine

During this trip I’ve seen for the first time:

  • Tea flowers and tea seeds: you can propagate tea by either cuttings or seeds [4]. Tea flowers look beautiful both in rain and on a sunny day.
  • Growing vanilla: it looks like green beans!

Big Island Vanilla

  • Cinnamon tree: I didn’t realize before that it’s made from the bark is harvested from a live tree [4].

Big Island Sinnamon Tree

We experienced:

  • Mead from local honey infused with local tea: it tastes great on a hot day.

Big Island Tea Infused Mead

  • Chinese tea ceremony during which I smelled strong floral scent of one of the black teas: it wasn’t an imaginary or pretend-I-know-what-you-mean scent as it happens sometimes with wine tasting but it actually smelled of flowers [4].

Big Island Chinese Tea Ceremony

  • Freshly baked homemade scones with passion fruit curd: we were treated to these in the end of the tea ceremony, and they were so tasty that I started contemplating making them at home.

Scone and passion fruit curd

  • Hot and sunny mornings, perfect tropical rains and the most beautiful sunsets – and all that within an hour-drive distance

 

1 Source https://www.to-hawaii.com/agriculture.php

2 From our visit to Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation that offers free coffee farm tours lead by enthusiastic staff members, sampling of coffee and other products in their shop, as well as inexpensive nature walks.

3 Wikipedia

4 From the private tour in Onomea Tea Company – three-hour event that included the tour and tea ceremony. It was probably the best experience of this type in my life, so I would highly recommend it.

 

Images: my own