Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Kona, the Big Island

We tendered at Kona (anchored out and took small boats back and forth to the dock). Rikki wasn't up for it so I had the day to myself to tour, I was the last person to board the first tender. Kona was the only place we had not reserved a rental car so after getting to the pier I took the first shuttle I saw (Hertz, they were always first and had twice as many shuttles). Once at the airport I was forced to rent a Ford mustang convertible. They only had convertibles left and of course they did not allow any discounts on their luxury cars so I bit the bullet and parted with a Franklin. My plan was to spend the day geocaching. Since the airport was several miles north of Kona I continued that way to stay out of the traffic. The first cache was right by a lava tube off the side of the road. There were several caches on private resorts that have a "public beach" of course you have to go to the gateguard and ask them to give you a pass to use them. Not very public and I'm guessing a pretty big secret to most visitors. The Four Seasons was the best, all the old people zooming around in their golf carts was kind of crazy. Several caches were long hikes through desert lava fields in my semi-rugged, 9.99$ special, sandals. A few times I was wondering at my sanity and the value of taking "shortcuts" up and over hillls of sharp lava rock. I made it out with only a few scratches from the unprotected tops and sides of my feet. The soles of my sandals are torn up pretty bad. I did get some amazing pictures. I did pass up a green sand beach (a crushed up semi-precious stone). It was near the end of the day and I had already gone far too many miles on foot. My Garmin GPS saved me a ton of time today. Especially near the end of the day when I had to refill the car before returning it and the only gas station was tucked away off a side road 2 miles away. Pretty easy to use too. Just Find -> Fuel Services (listed by closest) -> goto and it gives you directions. Gas has ranged from 2.70 to 2.90 on all the islands. I made it back to the ship early with everyone else. There was a line of about 300 people so I walked the Kona strip for 2 hours. By the time I made it back I got on the last tender to the ship and got ready for supper.

Part of our anniversary package includes dinner at the fanciest restaurant, Jefferson's Bistro (dress code enforced!) Since we were all dressed up we had some pictures done (another part of the anniversary package) and then made it to the restaurant early. Normally you pay extra to eat at this place. The last fancy place we ate at was Scopillo's (sp?) in Pensacola after finishing primary. This place was significantly more ritzy (they had 3 types of specialized butter for the bread). A bottle of wine came with the meal so I asked for a recommendation since I had no clue and we ended up with a red Bell'agio Chianti 2004. The waiter went through the motions of preparing the wine and poured me a shot sampler. I downed it. He then poured for Rikki and she smelled, swirled, and swished it like a pro (she watches Food Network more than I do). It was very good and Rikki even drank about 1/16th of the bottle. The appetizers were salmon, asparagus, and escargot. I went with the raw salmon, and it was good until about half-way through. You can only eat so much raw fish. Rikki felt like pasta... they had none, I guess pasta is too mundane. The salad was good and the soup was even better. They served the soup in its own round loaf of bread. The meals were also very good and chocolate fondue for desert was as expected. Our waiters were great, though these fancy places remind me more of a funeral home than a place to eat. It took us over 2 hours for the 5 courses and we had alot of fun with it.

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