Friday, November 28, 2014

Our Stay in Pahoa

After visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Graham and I drove to Pahoa to check into our rental on Kehena Beach. We encountered the only traffic of the trip on the drive along Highway 130. (It became clear how the entire town could be cut off from the rest of the island if the lava flowed over it.)

Our beach rental was the Whale House, which is just across the street from the ocean. It was a one-bedroom cottage on the same property as two other small cottages. 

A banana tree grew outside our door.

We ate lunch on the patio before making our way to the water. 

We took the opportunity to throw our wedding leis into the ocean that day. We watched them sway on the water before disappearing. 

Later, we went down to the beach, promptly discovering that it is a nude beach. We were OK with that, but we were also aware of how much we stood out. We sat on a rock and watched the waves and the locals' interactions with each other. At one point a man greeted a boat tour, which had stopped in front of the beach, by turning around, bending over, putting his hands on his knees, and showing them his bare ass.

We also witnessed moments of camaraderie. An older man started to get swept away by the strong surf, and two younger men dove into the water to help him. Graham complimented one of them on their efforts; he acknowledged us with a look but said nothing. 

I won't lie, I felt uncomfortable being one of the few people in clothing among the locals. 

Later, we drove to the Wednesday night farmers market. This is probably the biggest crowd we were a part of at any time on the Big Island. It was difficult to choose what to eat — everything looked so appetizing. I opted for veggie tacos made from non-GMO, locally grown veggies. 

We also bought pesto and spinach pizza from a food truck, and I paired that with lemonade. 

Among the goodies for sale were locally made soaps, jewelry, artwork, clothing and incense. We learned from some people we met that Wednesday nights were when the entire town gathered. Someone even called it his date night with his partner. A few people we spoke with said they were actually new to the Big Island and that they loved it there. Graham said a few times that he felt at home among the crowd. 

It was an enlightening experience to be in a setting where you stand out because it's clear you are not from the area. I see it as a positive and important experience. It's why I want to travel more; to feel uncomfortable so I can learn more about myself.