Day 2: The Day I'm Unable to Blink
We wake up on our second day, wave to the latest cruise ship anchored out in the bay. and head into Kailua. While Lucie does some shopping, I hit a tiny little internet cafe for breakfast. She gets some jewelry and a cool handpainted sarong, and I have a triple mocha and a breakfast sandwich with double bacon, egg, and cream cheese on toasted Hawaiian sweet bread. Both of us are very happy.
We also pick up our second Hawaiian shave ice (Mountain Dew over shave ice for Lucie, coffee and lychee flavors for me), and head off to the car. Along the way, Lucie turns down some guy asking us if we wanted to buy some herb; the correct reply ("What are you, high?!") doesn't occur to us until about fifteen minutes later.
The Coffee Belt
Stop one: Mountain Thunder. The highest coffee plantation on the big island, Mountain Thunder is also the only purely organic coffee place. We have our first taste test, thoroughly enjoy an explanation of the roasting process, and get my picture taken with a bag of Kona coffee beans.
The next place we hit is Mauka Meadows. There is a display of coffee for sale, but the actual roasting location and gift shop is located quite a ways down the mountain, past a hike through their nice gardens, and even with the tempting offer that they would drive us back up to our car after we buy some stuff, we pass on the idea and head off to the next stop.
In the tiny town of Holualoa, we find the Ferrari Coffee roasting company. We don't know where the actual plantation is, but we have a taste of the coffee in the retail outlet, buy some flavored coffee to give out as gifts, and enjoy our first experience with pidgin English spoken by the very Hawaiian lady behind the counter.
After Ferrari, we proceed to the Blue Sky coffee plantation where we not only have a taste test of several different brews of coffee but also go on a short walk through their garden area where we see several coffee trees, some pineapple trees, apple bananas, papayas, and an actual cacao tree. Blue Sky is one of a handful of places that have begun to grow cacao trees in order to kick-start chocolate as another Hawaiian export business venture. Yum!
After that. it's a short jaunt to the Holualoa Coffee Company, where I not only enjoy a taste test of more coffee (chocolate macadamia nut flavor this time) but we also wander through the place where they process the picked coffee cherries from several other plantations, hull them, dry them, remove the chaff, and return the fully processed raw beans back to the plantations to be roasted -- they have a wall and a half of the burlap sacks from all the different coffee plantations with whom they do business and we take a picture of it all for posterity and move on to the next place and I start to feel a bit of a coffee buzz kicking in.
After Holualoa we head on down to the next stop which was a place called Buddha's Cup which was very hard to find but we found it anyway even though it was hard to find and I had another taste test of their coffee also and I realized I was drinking a lot of coffee but it was all yummy and I bought some coffee from them and another coffee mug and we met a tiny little dog named Pancho who was cute and didn't want to stop being petted and tried to get into our car but we said no and the gal who was there had to herd him away from our car so he wouldn't jump in when we opened the door and then we left and found the next place.
After Buddha's Cup we went to Kona Joe's well we were originally going to get some lunch since by that time we were both hungry but there was a bunch of traffic (even in Hawaii there's a rush hour we found out) so we decided to make one more stop which was a place called Kona Joe's that grows their coffee on trellises like grapes (I like grapes!) but it's not grapes it's coffee and I had an espresso smoothie from the snack bar and also bought a coffee mug and because the total was over $15 I also got a free cup of their iced coffee I ordered a medium sized instead of the large size because I was starting to feel the effects of coffeecoffeeCOFFEE but it was okay and yummy tasty and then we went to the gift shop and bought some of their coffee too (coffee is a funny word) and they were offering free taste tests of their coffee but since I'd already had an espresso smoothie as well as cup of their iced coffee (which were both yummy tasty) I decided not to have any more coffeecoffeeCOFFEE but we bought a bag of their award-winning coffee beans (whole bean medium roast peaberry is the best kind to buy) for home and then we had to leave because we were both hungry by that time but I think I already said that and then we drove though the town to find some place to eat but most places were closed because for some reason a lot of places are closed between 1:30 and 5 in the smaller towns because they don't cater to tourists as much in the small towns but we finally found a place that was open and we sat down and had a late lunch and I was able to eat some food which helped since I was a little wired from having so many taste tests and the espresso smoothie yummy tasty from Kona Joe's and also the iced coffee yummy tasty coffeecoffeeCOFFEE
After lunch, I feel much better.
We continue to drive South down the Kona coast, and wander down to Kealakekua Bay. On the way, we notice a few other coffee places; however, since it's already past 5 (and since my heart rate is still somewhere in the 300-400 beats per minute range), we opt to leave them for another day.
We head back to our hotel, and once again enjoy drinks by the ocean to end out the day. Lucie opts for a blue Hawaiian, and I have the obligatory mai tai, as well as a strawberry daiquiri... and my first mango daiquiri, which I immediately declare to be one of the Best Drinks Ever.
Sated and happy, we retire for the day, and I hope I can actually fall asleep.