Kalapana return, and discourse on falafel

I returned, as I said I would, to Uncle Robert’s in search of “Middle Eastern” food, which in my opinion, is some of the best food on the planet. What I had last night did not disappoint.

In order to work up an appetite, first I hiked out to the black sand beach that was created 28 years ago when lava covered this area, including many beloved beaches, parks, and homes; the Painted Church was hauled away to a safer spot, and sits there still. It was the summer I moved to Hawaii Island from Oahu. What an introduction.

For dinner I met up with a long-time and very-well-traveled friend. As we ate our dinner, she spoke of the best falafel she’d ever had, in Damascus (they put French fries in the falafel!), although Amman had some decent offerings, too. Hanging out talking about travel and adventure over a good meal with smart friends – it doesn’t get much better than that.

Here are some photos; hope you enjoy them. FYI, there is a strong sentiment of Hawaiian sovereignty in Kalapana. And delicious falafel.

Circle(ish) Island Tour

Took a mini break up along the northeast coast, then west, then north to Hawi, the most northern part of the island, traveling deep in horse country and later along whale routes.   It was great, although the many changes in terrain apparently muddled my brain: I ordered an $18 sandwich. It was yummy, but yikes!

Here are some images from the day. One mountain is Mauna Kea (hint: telescopes); the other is Haleakalā on Maui.  They can see each other.

The graffiti was discovered in a beach pavilion. The dogs had just finished a swim.  The horses I met were very friendly.  In the case of Truck v Nature, Nature won.  The house is an example of disappearing old Hawaii.

Night Market, Kalapana

Shamefully, after nearly three decades of Hawaii Island residence, last night marked my first visit to Uncle Robert’s celebrated Wednesday night extravaganza.  My immediate reaction: I’m going again next Wednesday!  The urge to revisit is prompted primarily because I discovered Lebanese food for sale after I’d already ordered something else – I’m a fool for baba ghanoush – and also because the delectable vegan ice cream folks from Pahoa, Nicoco, have a stand there, too.  But I also want to go again because next week I’ll include time for a hike to the nearby (relatively) new black sand beach, because the market is a visual delight, and because soon I’m leaving Hawaii for a bit and want to absorb what I can.

A few weeks ago, I said aloha to my privately-situated, day-time quiet, but cold and rainy Volcano home and am now ‘camping in a house’ near the ocean, where it is very not cold.  Here I can wear shorts, sleep without layers of clothing and blankets, and listen to the waves break on the nearby cliffs.  It is altogether different from my former home.  I like it. Very much. 

But back to the Night Market.  Besides an amazing variety of fruit for sale, I found the expected Lower Puna merch: tie-dye, herbal remedies, and unbreakable smoking pipes.  There were fairly lights and countless vegan options, but oddly no patchouli, perhaps a happy result of all the novelty soap available.  

Central to the event is live music, complete with Dancing Nancys (no relation).  In the crowd, there were many languages spoken and a respectable representation of human body types swaying to the music.  Some people wandered happily in their leather kilts or with feathers and sparkles in their hair; there was a huge assortment of food for sale.  It got crowded with both ‘local’ people who seemed very happy and out-of-towners who stared bug-eyed at the spectacle before them.  I captured some of it with my camera, but the photos don’t do it justice, of course.  

One of the groups of performers was comprised of mixed race folks playing uncommon instruments, wearing clothes of seemingly mixed origin, and singing in languages I couldn’t discern.  I turned to one of my common-table seatmates and asked what kind of music it was: Vietnamese folk music was the answer.  Um, that seemed way off, and the beer I had just finished encouraged me to respond “Are you bullsh*tting me?” He gestured towards to his comrade who was the source of this knowledge.  After a lengthy description of the types of instruments being played, the sartorial choices of the performers, and references to Ghana, East Asia, and the Caribbean, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Hey, it’s Kalapana.”  That explained all.

Here are some photos of the market, as well as some of the Lower Puna coastline, for good measure.

















Hawaii in October . . .

Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to.