They have temples for surfing?

Hello loyal readers!  I know I had promised another update a few days ago, but I got distracted from my plan of catching up on my blog on Friday… I will expand on how this happened in my next post.  For now, these are my adventures of Thursday.

In the morning, I woke somewhat early for a guitar lesson, and once that was done, made my way out to Kona.

I had leafed through the Kailua-Kona section of my awesome book Hawaii the Big Island Revealed and had come up with a few things I wanted to do.  The first place I went was again to Ali’i Drive.  I scored a spot in the free public parking lot and walked along this very interesting street.  I stopped at the Mokuaikaua Church, which is right across the street from Hulihe’e Palace, which I saw a few weeks ago.  This church was the first Christian church built in the Hawaiian islands.  The initial building was a thatched hut, built in 1820, but the current church was built in 1837.  It is built of lava rock and crushed coral.

I continued my walk along Ali’i Drive and wandered through a few stores.  I eventually came to a Farmer’s Market and decided this was the perfect place to shop for a few Christmas presents!  I wandered the market, made a few purchases, and chatted with a lady at a glassblown jewelry booth.  The work at this booth was her son’s and is absolutely beautiful.  You can see some of his work here:
http://www.crystal-fox.com/index.cfm/paperweights_sealife_fish_butterflies_jesse_taj.htm
Actually, upon looking at his stuff online, it seems he is a little more famous than I guessed.  Who knew?  Anyways, the other thing I wanted to say is that glassblowing is amazing – I can’t even imagine the process an artist would have to go through to make beautiful pieces like this!

After I was done exploring the Farmer’s Market, I found a cafe to sit down and have some lunch, then made my way back to the car.  I drove further along Ali’i Drive to see a few touristy sights.  I came eventually to the famous “Little Blue Church” (actually called St. Peter’s Catholic Church).  This is a tiny, adorable blue church in a beautiful location on the ocean.  It is the most photographed church in the Hawaiian islands and a popular wedding location.

Next to this church is the Ku’emanu Heiau.  A heiau is a Hawaiian temple.  None of these buildings are still standing today, but many locations that had these buildings on them are now protected, often only the base of the building remaining today.  The Ku’emanu Heiau is interesting because it is the only heiau in the state known to be associated solely with surfing.  When this heiau was in use, surfing was a sport available only to chiefs, with commoners being put to death when found surfing.  Chiefs came to this specific heiau to pray for good surf.

The Ku’emanu Heiau

Next, I got back into the car and made my way up to Holualoa, which is a little artist’s community located on the slopes of Hulalai Volcano.  It is full of galleries and coffee shops (my type of place!).  On my way back down to Kona, I actually located a bookstore.  This is shocking because Stacy had told me that there weren’t any left on the island.  I know many have closed down, but I did manage to find one.  I’d been wanting to buy a book about Hawaiian history, so this was the perfect opportunity.  During my stay, I have already read a couple fictional novels about Hawaii by the novelist Alan Brennert.  Honolulu is about a young girl that came to Oahu as a picture bride from Korea, only to arrive and find that nothing was as it had seemed from the pictures.  Molokai is about a young girl that is sent to the leper colony on the island of Molokai, and the way she lives, regardless of the fact that being sent there had always been a death sentence.  Both of these novels (as well as just being here, I’m sure) have really piqued my interest in the history of Hawaii, so I found a book titled Hawaii and its People and decided to purchase it.  I’m sure I will come up with many fun facts to share through the reading of this book.

I finished off my afternoon wandering around Target (who doesn’t love Target?!?!) and grabbing a coffee at Starbucks, and then hopping into Sitka (the car I am borrowing, remember?) for the drive back to Waikoloa.

My favourite thing about today was the Farmer’s Market.  I love places like that and enjoyed browsing for some awesome, affordable souvenirs.

Love KG

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