So, when we last left off I had just picked up Koki. Well, it turned out that Koki really wanted to go the the Volcano. Oops. So, since we were unable to make the minimum 4 hour drive to Volcano, see Volcano and come back on the same day, I decided to take everyone to a different Volcano. I thought at first we would go up Mauna Loa, but when I learned that the road to the top of Mauna Loa was a Jeep trail I concluded that the poor old RAV4 "Studmoblie" was not going to be able to make the trip. Instead, I decided to go to the summit of Mauna Kea, a trip which I knew the RAV4 could do.
It is always a chore to get Takaya and Koki up in the morning. They will never wake up on their own, and even after Manabu and I wake them they sometimes spend nearly an hour making themselves look pretty. Great habit for Japan, but not for Hawaii, where you are just going to either go in the ocean, sweat in the jungle, or be wrapped in blankets in the mountains. Oh well. So even though I wanted to leave at 7:00am, we ended up leaving at 8:30, and just as I predicted, I had to drive with the sun in my eyes. Anyway, we got to the 6000 foot level and stopped at that cool Pu'u that has the forest on it. In the picture below, Mauna Kea can be seen in the background.
Here is the view of Hualalai from the Forest Pu'u.
After adjusting to 6000 feet, we went up to Hale Pohaku and spent a half an hour adjusting to the air at 9000 feet. Here are Manabu and Koki talking to the ranger, who, as it turns out, had done the JET program also. I am beginning to worry about this, because it seems like 10% of the people that I meet have done JET. Does everybody move to Hawaii after doing the JET program or something? And I also have to say that, while many of the JET participants I have met have been neat people, there are some real slackers. Wait, you applied to the JET program simply because you liked the bar scene in Osaka when you visited? I think I know why you didn't like working in Japan, pal.
This was such a good picture I had to include it.
I then drove to the 14000 foot level. To my great pleasure, this time I felt no ill effects, aside from the standard difficulty walking. It was a beautiful day on the summit, but the wind chill was really really bad. Here is everybody, plus Subaru on the left and the two Kecks on the right.
After ascending the summit, I drove down, went to Foodland, bought a 2 pound squid and spent the rest of the day cleaning and cooking it.
The next day my dad was kind enough to take our three guests flying on a round the island sightseeing tour. Here they are flying over the house.
Mom and I picked them up in Waimea and then headed down the hill to the Alkire's party. Here the early people at the party watching the sunset.
John dancing the Hula (making it up as he goes, but doing quite well, actually).
The band. I love the live Hawaiian music, but I didn't know any of the songs this year.
So, last year I was the official photographer for the party, and when the Alkires got the CD made I got full photo credit on the bottom! Very exciting for me. This is the first time my pictures have ever been used on something that was not of my own making! And now I can say that I have done a CD cover! Sorry this is only the back, I had major problems getting the front cover onto this site.
The next day was simple. We went to the beach and got pounded by the surf for 2 hours. About half way through getting totally mashed by one wave, I realized that I still had my cell phone in my pocket. I went onto shore and removed it. It looked cleaner than it had ever been, and weighed about 50 grams more than usual. It goes without saying that it was broken beyond repair. Most electronics that get smashed in the sand in salt water tend to never work again. Oh well. So we went to Kona to pick up supplies and see if I could buy a new phone, which I could not. Instead we went to K-Mart for the 5th time this trip, where I bought this little girl's T-shirt (a bargain at $2.99) for Takaya as a joke. Who knew it would not only fit him, but look good on him!
We then went to a party at Alice and Leala's house where I met some pofessional photographers and proceeded to pummel them with questions about photography. Then we went down to see the Manta Rays at Mauna Kea, and as he stood on the wall infront of the spotlight that looks out into the ocean and attracts the plankton which the Manta Rays eat, Takaya learned from Manabu what it means to be "pantsed".
Tonight we have the New Year's Party, which somehow we ended up hosting again. So all day we will probably be preparing for the 50 or so people we expect to show up.
Not related to my doings, and mostly for my own purposes, here is what I accomplished this year: I found the courage to speak comfortably with people, regardless of differences of language or interest. I found that I am capable of dedicated study. I got a crush for the first time in 4 years. I tripled my number of friends. I finally learned to tell people when I have a problem. I became comfortable with being naked.
What I am going to work on: Becoming closer to my friends. Learning to ask people the personal questions that I really want to know. Figuring out how to Live Aloha on a permanent basis, regardless of where I am. Staying physically healthy. Being naked more often, especially with other people.
Happy New Year