Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Hilo, Hawaii

on July 28, 2013

OK. So, there is a big rivalry between Hilo-side of the Island and Kona-side of the Island.Hilo Side Lushness

If you ask a Kona-side person what they think of Hilo, they will typically say things like:  “It rains too much.”  “They have coqui frogs.” “There’s no place to surf/swim/snorkel.”

If you ask a Hilo-side person what they think of Kona, they will typically say things like: “Kona? Pfft.”

We love both sides for different reasons. I will talk more about why we love Kona later. (The primary reason is that we have really wonderful friends there, and that always makes a difference, doesn’t it.)

But, some of the reasons that we LOVE LOVE LOVE Hilo side is that:
1) It rains. I don’t want to say “too much”, but it rains enough to make it lush and smell like a greenhouse. It has amazing waterfalls, vines, rainforests. And, I’m sure locals would tell me otherwise (they always do), but I haven’t seen it rain “too much”. The last time we were there (2 weeks), it rained every single morning – poured, actually. But, around noon, the sun came out and it go really warm, and then the next morning (or sometime throughout the night) the rain would come and cool down the earth again. For me, that’s perfect.
Rainbow Falls2) There are coqui frogs. I love them! I do! I’m sorry to all you coqui frog haters, but I love them! Sure, they are a little noisy (see previous blog), but if you think of them as “singing a song in chorus” rather than “screeching at 90 decibel”, I think you’d love them too! (and, if you can’t make them into “white noise” when you sleep, where earplugs and/or get a sound machine.)
3) There are MANY places to swim/snorkel/surf – they just are a bit off the beaten path and not near as crowded… (There’s more, too, than just that link I’ve included – they may or may not show up in my future blogs (or this one) but 1/2 the fun is finding these places by yourself.

But the REAL reason I love Hilo-side, is because of the “Locals.”  “Locals” include actual Hawaiian people, as well as (by way of my definition) people who are not tourists.  “Tourists” (by way of my definition) are those people who are travelling (obviously) OR people who’ve moved there, but haven’t really become part of the culture yet.Tom, the Chicken Guy

For example, I consider Tom, the Chicken Guy, to be a “local.”  Or, a little boy we saw at the beach, who, it seems, lives outside, and looks exactly like I would imagine Tom Sawyer looked – white blonde hair, lightly tanned skin with freckles, and no shoes.

Here’s another difference I’ve observed between Kona-side and Hilo-side.  Kona-side, you can pick out tourists because they are pale(r) than the residence.  Hilo-side, you can pick out tourists because they are tan(ner) than the residence.  (Not because of the amount of time that the sun is available, but because the Hilo-side has an abundance of people who wear hats and avoid full exposure to the sun.  Lots of – ummm – organic people on the Hilo-side. Heh! I love it!)

I will concede that there is more obviously touristy things to do on the Kona side (again, will discuss those later – if you are going to Kona before I get to that blog, please feel free to email me for suggestions), not including the most Hawaiian Hilo Hotelphotographed waterfall in the world (in Hilo) and the longest erupting volcano in the world (south of Hilo at Hawaii Volcano National Park.)

There are very few hotels in Hilo, and the only one I’ve ever stayed at is the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, right on Banyan Drive, and beside the Queen Liliuokalani Gardens. (We usually rent a Vacation Rental by Owner.

Banyan Drive is known as “Hilo Walk of Fame”, because the Banyan trees along the drive have all been planted byBabe Ruth's tree celebrities, including trees planted by Babe Ruth, Amelia Earhart, former U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt & Richard Nixon, Dr. Thomas Jaggar, and others.  It’s an interesting walk, and just across the street is an ice cream and shave ice stand, so you can have a little break, too – especially if it’s hot out.

The Queen Liliuokalani Gardens was named after Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, and dedicated in 1917, the same year the Queen died.  (Her full name was Lydia Liliʻu Queen Liliukalani GardenLoloku Walania Wewehi Kamakaʻeha.)

The Garden is beautiful and last time we were there, we found a paintbrush in one of the trees.  You can just imagine someone spending the day, perched in a mango tree, painting the scenery below.  Perfect.

So…I have a LOT more to say about Hilo.  I haven’t really gotten started.. But, I have a tiny complication, which I will explain in a couple of weeks, so, I will have to return to this area later.  Hilo – to be continued…sometime.

In the meantime, next Sunday, I will be talking about some of the waterfalls.

http://www.discoverhawaiitours.com/attractions/banyan-drive

 

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