Monday, September 01, 2008

Hawaiian Adventures - Day 5

I left Oahu and island hopped over to the Big Island which is actually called Hawai'i. (Honolulu is the capital of the state but is on the island of Oahu).

When I arrived to my terminal at the airport, I was pleased to see a large crowd around some passengers playing the ukulele and entertaining everyone. Two couples were dancing to the music too. Then this older lady stood up and started doing the hula. It was all pretty random but cool!

When I arrived in Hilo, it was raining. Apparently, the Big Island has 11 different climates throughout the island. I got a rental car and found my way to my hostel called Arnott's Lodge & Hiking Adventures. hehe, funny name but by far THE BEST hostel I've ever stayed at. It was clean, had decent beds, various dormitories each with separate rooms that had two sets of bunk beds, free wi-fi, laundry, dvd theatre center, and many more amenities.

At the hostel, I met these two guys from Switzerland. (Yes, they were cute too! If you've been reading up on my past days, you'll notice that I keep meeting some really cute guys. Dunno! But no complaints here!) Anyway, the two are buddies traveling together - they've been friends all their lives and their families even hang out. They both are now at separate universities and so decided to vacation together to spend time. I was like....awwwww!

The hostel was leading a tour to Mauna Kea and so I went along. It was an all day thing because it took time to drive out there, then trek up the 13,796 feet elevation, and by the time we got to the summit we caught the sunset, then had a time of star gazing. It is AMAZING up there! There are numerous astronomical observatories from all around the world at the summit because Mauna Kea is a prime spot to study (and in our case gaze at) the stars and constellations.

For the first time, I saw the band of our Milky Way galaxy. This was also my first time making the trip to Mauna Kea and hiking to the summit. At that elevation, the air is very thin so it's common to be lightheaded, dizzy, and nauseated. But even feeling those things too, I still was able to make the hike to the summit! woo hoo!

I was impressed by how much the hostel's tour guide knew about stars and astronomical facts and current events. We spent some time looking up at the stars and he pointed out the constellations in view for us. He also gave us a history of islander naval navigation using the stars as they traveled around to other islands (Samoa, Figi, Tahiti, etc.) in their canoes.

I also met a man from Orange County and a man from Brazil. Cool guys.

It was a fun first day on the Big Island and seeing the views from atop Mauna Kea was a great start. =)

First time experiences:
-First time staying at a hostel in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai'i
-First time at Mauna Kea and hiking to its summit
-First time being at 13,796 feet elevation
-First time seeing the Milky Way galaxy

Check out photos of the day here!

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