In the entire time we have lived on Oahu, I have never really seen them filming LOST, our tv show of choice. Micah has seen them once or twice. I’m pretty sure I did see Dominic Monaghan and Evangeline Lilly driving down the road one time when we were running, but maybe not. Then my sister Abby comes to visit us and she says, “I don’t care what we do, I just want to see the set of LOST.” Of course, LOST is filmed all over the island, so it is hard to pin down. It seems, however, that they decided to make a special effort to be noticed just for Abby. As we were driving down to the airport to pick her up, there was a policeman standing by the side of the highway. On the other side of the road was a flashing barricade that said “LOST” on it with an arrow. I looked in the direction the arrow was pointing, and what did I see? Mr. Ecko, hacking through the jungle in his dirty, tattered shirt. A little bit farther down the road we came across a bunch of trucks, trailers, etc. parked in a field, with signs pointing to where the “Cast & Crew” should enter. I think Abby almost started crying when I told her what we’d seen on the way down. And then, she just about died of a heart attack as we were driving by on the way home (we even had to stop where the police officer was so our car wouldn’t make any noise in the scene!!). We were practically on the set of LOST, and she hadn’t even been on the island for an hour.
We’ve had a good time discussing theories and pointing out various LOST landmarks as we’ve travelled around today. Hopefully Abby will get her fill of LOST before her mission . . . sadly, she will be leaving before the Season 3 premier is played at Sunset on the Beach at Waikiki Sept. 30th (that’s 4 days before it airs on tv, just for the record). Then again . . . all that star power in one place? She may have exploded. Like Arzt.
Centipede #4 invaded our apartment last night. He was smaller than some of the other visitors we’ve had, but oh, so tricky. He faked like he was going into the bathroom, then turned on a dime and made a beeline in the other direction where we lost him for a few minutes. Was he under the couch? Or in the spare bedroom? And would we find out before bedtime, or would we spend a sleepless night jumping at every small movement of sheets? We worried that when we next saw our ugly friend, it would be when he reared his ugly head for a strike that would send us, once again, to the ER. Fortunately, we did not take off our shoes, so when he came crawling out from under the door mat, we were ready. He didn’t stand a chance against the stomping he was up against (in fact, we managed to knock some of his socks–I mean legs–off), and we were able to sleep reasonably soundly. But then we have to ask, How did he get in? Will his friends come to find him? *shudder*
At least he wasn’t in our bed.
Just wanted to let you all know that wholesale gas prices on Oahu are now well below the $3.00 mark for the first time since . . . Hurricane Katrina, I believe. We filled our whole 18 gallon tank for under $50 at Costco last night. Let’s all give a warm round of applause to Aloha Petroleum, just for kicks, shall we? Okay, probably not.
Instead, let’s celebrate today for what it really is, ye landlubbers! That’s right, it is, once again, Talk Like a Pirate Day! Unfortunately, I’m a little rusty on my pirate-speak these days. So, yo ho ho and avast and all of that . . . live it up while you still can, me mateys.
We’re getting a little bit excited about General Conference over here.
We’ve recently discovered the archives on the BYU Speeches website and have loved letting speeches play while we make dinner (Elder Holland’s speeches–when he was President Holland–are my favorite). On Sunday we were spoiled to have Elder Antony Perkins and Elder Russell M. Nelson over to our very own Honolulu Tabernacle for a temple-workers fireside. And today at work Kareena and I were sharing favorite Conference weekend traditions. Her family has cornbread that comes out of the oven at 10:00 Saturday morning, which they eat while they watch the first session. It’s a little different out here since we have to get up before 6:00am to watch it live, but we try to find ways to make it exciting. Last October we had Chad, Melissa, Steve, and Carrie over for a delicious breakfast of French toast, Eggo waffles, and buttermilk syrup. I don’t know if we’ll have guests over this time, but we do know we are going to take a leaf out of Lizzie and Alan’s book and look to Williams-Sonoma for our next stab at a Conference morning excitement (and the accompanying sugar high that will keep us up for two hours). They make a Williams-Sonoma recipe breakfast cake (a different kind for April or October), but we are looking at the cinnamon rolls Lizzie made for us while we were in Alaska. Micah is a sucker for a good orange roll (make that any orange roll), so we may have to do some alterations.
How about all y’all? Do you have favorite Conference traditions? They don’t have to be food related, of course. I just want to know how you make Conference weekend special. We’re always on the lookout for tradition ideas to test out.
When we last left our adventurers, they were hiking through razor sharp, uneven, black lava rocks with only the moon to guide them. If you need a reminder about what a lava field looks like, it is something like this:
Notice the uneven terrain. The rocks that would just as soon cut you as look at you. And remember, we were each supposed to have a flashlight. With good batteries. But we didn’t.
I said last time that Heavenly Father will help you out even when you do something stupid. He blessed us with a nearly full moon, by which we could see the contours and textures of the rocks we were stepping on. He also blessed us with flashing beacons that led us in the right direction and let us know how far we had to go. But we also had to reap the consequences of our less-than-intelligent decision to hike out there late without flashlights. And thus it was that I slipped on a rock. I could see when I stepped on it that it was on an incline, and that it was quite smooth. But it didn’t register quickly enough for me to step somewhere else that I might fall on it. My shin hit the jagged edge and my knee hit another rock. I thought I was okay, but then it started bleeding. As mentioned previously, Heavenly Father also blessed us with Micah, who had already thought about what he would use to wrap a wound with if necessary, and so in just a few seconds my leg was wrapped tightly in Micah’s jacket and we were ready to hike the rest of the 2 miles out of the flow. By the time we got to the ranger’s station I was convinced it only needed a band-aid, so we stopped at the ranger’s station to see if they had any. As soon as we took the jacket off, the blood started flowing and the ranger said we had to go to the hospital. She then proceeded to, very slowly, find something to clean it out with and wrap it for the trip to the Hilo Medical Center. I only mention that she was going very slowly because I thought it was quite urgent that we get on our way quickly. But the only time she seemed to move quickly was when someone spotted a centipede crawling around outside her door. She wasn’t quick enough to kill it, by the way.
We did make it to the hospital, but once we got there it was a waiting game. There was only one doctor on duty, and everybody in the ER came at about the same time we did, including a few accident victims who had to be flown to Honolulu before the night was over. A nurse was kind enough to clean and numb the wound, but by the time the doctor got to us 2 hours later it was no longer numb. It didn’t hurt, but I was near tears with frustration and tiredness. We were ready to get a few butterfly band-aids to close it up, but the doctor convinced me that it would only take three stitches and ten minutes before we could be on our way. It actually took four stitches and I don’t know how many minutes, but at least the scar won’t be as bad, right? We got about three hours of sleep before we had to leave to catch our flight back to Oahu.
We were just glad it happened on the last day rather than the first.
You are walking down a pitch black tube. Your flashlight’s batteries seem to be going out. There are three of you who need it to get back into the light. What do you do? You start comparing your experience to everything you ever learned in Sunday School. At least that is what we did as we made our way down the lava tubes in Volcano National Park. Micah was the fearless leader. Kareena and I had a white knuckle grip on the backpack in front of us (much like the grip we imagine we should have on the iron rod). As Micah pointed out each pitfall and speed bump with the flashlight, we were continually reminded that without the help of his light, we would not gotten very far without shedding blood. We were ever so grateful to have someone with a better perspective than we had leading the way. We also realized that sometimes you just need to have faith in the little light you can see, no matter how dim it seems, and it will grow stronger and lead you home safely. And, of course, as we were walking a few steps behind the light, we saw the importance of continuing to follow it, even though it sometimes seems out of reach.
Our little adventure going down the lava tube put us in the right frame of mind to cross the lava rock fields on our way out to the active lava flow. There’s not much like crossing razor sharp lava rocks that are bent and folded and piled and cracked unpredictably to get you praying for a safe return home. Especially when you realize that you are going to have to come back the same way in the dark. Yes, there were signs telling us that we each needed a flashlight if we were going to go out to the flow. And yes, we realized we were doing something kind of stupid by going out with one dying flashlight. We kept asking ourselves if Heavenly Father helps people who do stupid things when they realize they are doing stupid things. So, as we headed back from the flow with the sun dropping quickly in the west, we just kept right on thinking about everything we ever learned in Sunday School. First of all, we learned the importance of beacons. Every quarter mile, there were flashing beacons directing us where to go. But we quickly realized that the beacons weren’t going to do much good if we couldn’t see them, which is why it is important to have good friends. There were multiple times one of us would be wandering off to the left or right, going in the direction we thought the beacon was in, only to have someone who could see the beacon call us back on track. Sometimes we got off track by trying to take the path of least resistance through the treacherous lava field, but if we always did that, we would probably still be wandering around in the field. We were grateful for the light Heavenly Father provided in the moon, which was nearly full, and which reflected beautifully off of the curves and contours of the hardened rock and made it much easier to get solid footing. It reminded us that Heavenly Father has given us the light we need, but it is up to us whether to ignore it or use it. And use it we did. Heavenly Father also blessed one of us with the foresight to plan ahead in case something did go wrong. Which, of course, it did. This brings us to the answer to the question we had been asking ourselves since we started the 3.5 mile trek from the parking lot to the lava flow: Yes, Heavenly Father does help people who do stupid things when they know they are doing stupid things. But, just like it is harder to repent when you plan repentance before you sin, it will be more difficult and painful than if you had not planned to sin in the first place.
And that, my friends, brings us to our final adventure on the Big Island.
First place we went on the Big Island (after the airport and rental car pickup) was Akaka Falls. (The name does not reference the upcoming election in any way.) The falls are quite amazing, but the vegetation was what really took our breath away. Hanging flowers, giant ferns, and pillars of ivy surrounded us. We were almost afraid we were standing in some mutated Venus fly trap that would snap shut on us and then digest us into more hanging flowers and such. Good thing it didn’t happen, or we would have missed the awesome snorkeling. Our friends the Kirbys suggested we go to Two-Step, which is right next to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (The Refuge). The Refuge is really cool. In ancient days it was a place people who had broken the law could go to be absolved and then return to society. If they could get there before they were caught and killed . . . .
Two-Step is the best snorkel spot we have been to. Ever. It has two steps (hence the name) you climb down onto and go into the water from. Really easy compared to Sharks Cove on Oahu. Micah and I were skeptical at first, and even more so when the lady who showed us how to get in told us not to judge it by that day because it was murky. We weren’t expecting much, but as soon as we put our heads in the water we were blown away. The yellow spots we thought was coral were tons of fish. The place was chock full of them. Unfortunately, we didn’t have an underwater camera to preserve the beauty for our blog fans to see. I especially would have liked to get a picture of the “Aloha” somebody had written with cinderblocks on a sandy portion of the ocean floor. Our only complaint was that there were no turtles to swim with. Now that we have seen a sea turtle on land, our new goal is to snorkel with them in the water.
The Kirby’s also told us about some tidepools on the Hilo side of the island that had some good snorkeling. Kareena was still getting the hang of snorkeling at Two-Step, so we decided we had to go to the tidepools so she could practice a little bit more. Once again, we were warned beforehand that it didn’t look like much from the surface, but it sure was awesome once you put your face in. We were even more skeptical about the tidepools because it seemed like we could walk across most of them, so there must not have been much down there. And once again, we were pleasantly surprised. After making our way across the death traps of lava rock, we found a good place to sit. Right next door to our little rock was a super deep tidepool full of coral and fish and other sea life. But no turtles. There was definitely plenty to see though, and while at first we had to prod Kareena into the water, by the end we were practically pulling on her fins to get her out of there. As they say, “It’s a whole different world down there.” Of course, we should have learned that from “The Little Mermaid.”
Just goes to show, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Or a snorkel spot by the surface.
Did you know that the Big Island has feral cats? We didn’t either until we started setting up our tent at Mahukona Beach Park on Friday night. There seemed to be quite a few rather large housecats roaming around and it didn’t take too long before we realized they didn’t belong to anyone (sorry, no pictures). We saw lots of them dead on the road as well, which was really kind of sad because they look so much like somebody’s pet. In fact, the next night at Whittington Beach Park, there was a lady there feeding some of them and they seemed to be almost trained.
Besides feral cats, the Big Island has a lot of loud people who like to camp. We had a devil of a time finding a beach park that wasn’t booked for the weekend. Fortunately, we were still able to find a somewhat flat spot to pitch our tent. Unfortunately, it was kind of hard and rocky ground. And maybe it wasn’t totally flat.Which meant that sleep was hard to find and even harder to keep ahold of. Kareena claims she tossed and turned all night, but I’m pretty sure with the amount of waking up I was doing, I would have noticed. Micah also says he didn’t sleep at all, but every time I looked over at him he seemed to be passed out. Of course, the two of them said the same thing about me, so we must have alternated being awake every ten minutes or so.
It was good preparation for the next night, though, as we were all pretty wasted by the time the drunk guys at Whittington finally turned off their music and we turned off the flashlight and stopped playing cards (Kareena is now a pro at the Loser game). We slept like rocks. Kareena and Micah woke up before I did and then got way too much enjoyment out of watching my eyes move as I dreamt. (For the record, my eyes are usually opened a crack when I sleep. Throughout my dream I kept seeing Micah, wearing black, watching me. When I woke up, I found out why. He was watching me and he was wearing black. I must have seen him through my open lids as my eyes were moving around. But I digress.)
On Sunday before we went to church, we went down to Ka Lae (South Point), the southern most point of the US of A and went on a little walk to the Green Sand beach. We actually didn’t make it all the way to the beach, but we found a few pockets of green sand that were good enough for us. We had to get back for church and to actually get down to the beach, you have to climb down a cliff, which was more than we wanted to do. But the sand sure was neat anyway.
Some of you know that we have been slightly disappointed in the “Spirit of Aloha” everyone keeps talking about over here on Oahu. We ain’t seen none of it. Well, maybe just a little of it, but it is usually directed at people who are not us. This is the story of how we found out that the Spirit of Aloha does, in fact, exist.
One of our big plans for the Big Island was to go to the Kona temple. We flew in to Hilo on Friday afternoon, and our only chance for the temple was Saturday morning, so we drove around the island and camped at a beach park Friday night. Saturday morning we called the temple to find out how to get there and before we knew it, we were parked in front of the little temple. Kareena was hoping to do baptisms, and it just so happened that a ward had just gotten there to do that very thing. They let her piggyback onto their group which made her happy as a clam at high water. Our session didn’t start until about 45 minutes after Kareena went in, which meant she was finished probably about the time we were getting started in the session. She managed to keep herself busy taking pictures outside for a while, but since the last session started at 11:00, they were locking up right about then and she would have been shut out in the warm for another hour or so. The workers invited her back inside to sit in the waiting room.
Meanwhile, Micah and I were having a grand old time. The lady I was sitting next to struck up a conversation with me like we were old friends and everyone else we ran into acted like we were their long lost cousins. We would have loved to stay and chat with them after the session, but we were a little worried that Kareena would be bored, so we hurried out as quickly as we could afterwards. We needn’t have worried. We found Kareena in the waiting room with a little girl who was just sealed to her parents (and who gave Kareena one of her mint oreos) and three other people who were waiting for a ride home from a previous session. By the time we got there, Kareena had already exchanged phone numbers with them and we had a dinner invitation and a place to stay if we ever go back to the island. Unfortunately, they lived in Waimea, which is the opposite direction from where we were heading so we couldn’t make the dinner date. They also told us where we could go to church on Sunday, which happened to be with the ward that was there doing baptisms. Kareena had exchanged phone numbers with some people in that ward and they seemed pretty intent on adopting us, too. But we had to be on our way so they settled for telling us where some great snorkel spots were and sending us back on our adventure. At church we were again welcomed with open arms and spent half an hour after church talking to our friends the Kirbys and finding out what is cool to do on the Hilo side (besides the volcano). It sounds like if we ever want to go back (which we surely do), we have our pick of places to stay.
We apologize for leading you all to believe that the Aloha Spirit is dead. It’s not. It’s just on the Big Island.
*The temple pictures are on Kareena’s camera, so you’re just going to have to wait to see them
Adventures, adventures, adventures! The three of us (Kareena, Micah, and me) sure had ourselves a great time. We were only gone three and half days, but by the time we flew in this morning it felt like more than a week! I’m going to say right now that there is way more we saw and did than I am going to be able to tell you, and you’d get bored with it, so I’m just going to hit some of the highlights. And since you would all be overwhelmed with one huge long post, I’m going to post a few smaller ones over the next few days. Here are some things you have to look forward to:
The Fate of the Spirit of Aloha
Beach Park Camping and the Big Island Animal Scene
Snorkeling: Are You Sure There is Anything Down There?
The Gospel of the Volcano
Liz Goes to the ER and Other Stories
There will probably be a fair smattering of random pictures from various waterfalls and what not as well. We hope you enjoy having us back!