Friday, February 17, 2017

A pilgrimage to a botanical garden...

A pilgrimage to a botanical garden...  We first visited the Hawai'i Tropical Botanical Garden in the mid '80s, not long after it first opened.  We've visited it on every subsequent trip to Hawai'i we've made, probably a dozen times at this point.  One of those visits included my parents, who were both horticulturists and my dad was a botanist.  Both of them were enthralled, even though the vast majority of the plants were unknown to them (the plants of New Jersey are just a tad different than the plants of the tropics!).  At that point in her life (the early '90s), my mom's walking was greatly restricted – but she walked every trail in that garden, which includes quite a bit of elevation change.

Every time I go, I take a bazillion photos.  Can't help myself – there's just too much eye candy!  Below are the photos I took in the park today (and to answer some queries I've received, yes, all my Hawai'i photos this time really are on a plain old iPhone).

This visit was a challenge for Debbie: over two miles of walking with perhaps 700' of total elevation change.  For a girl who's busted both knees in the past few years, that's not an easy walk – but she did great.  The hardest part for her is going down, as that puts the most stress on her most recently injured knee.

After that wonderful visit, we wanted a meal!  We went to Suisan Fish Market in Hilo, where we'd read that they now have great poke for sale.  That is like the understatement of the year – we thought the poke at KTA was great, but Suisan's poke is ambrosia by comparison.  We both got a “two choice poke bowl”, which means we got a tub of rice topped with seaweed seasoning and two giant scoops of poke, one each of two types that we got to choose.  I'm guessing that it was a bit over a pound of food, including at least a half pound of fish.  We grabbed our poke and a couple drinks, and then drove a few blocks to Liliuokalani Park, where we parked our truck under a banyan tree overlooking Hilo Bay, and started stuffing our faces while making nummy noises.  I managed to finish all of mine, though doing so required some painful abdominal stretching (which may have left marks).  Debbie couldn't finish all of hers, though she made a valiant effort.  That Suisan poke will make your brains fall out!  We've already resolved to repeat that feast a few times before we leave...

The rest of the day was some leisurely driving, to scope out one of the birding places recommended by the fellow we met at the Bird Park, and to just look at the village of Volcano.  It was really interesting to drive the back roads of Volcano and see the apparently random mix of handsome estates, gorgeous houses, and hovels not quite rising to the level of “shack”.  Right now we're polishing off a nice glass of wine.  Some photos below; the first two at Liliuokalani Park and the rest at our future birding location.

Tomorrow we head for the National Park, and a visit to our old stomping grounds there...

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