July 4: Day 8

On Independence Day, James and I left Maui for the "Big Island" of Hawaii. When we arrived at the airport back in Airport Town, we went straight to the commuter terminal to find Pacific Wings.

We checked in without hassle, which was surprising since every single one of our bags was overweight. Thankfully, the people working at the ticket counter were laidback and didn't charge us.

Everything went smoothly until we went to board the plane. That's when I saw how very, very small it was. I suppose I should have been suspicious upon realizing that, aside from James and I, there was just one other passenger. James, and the pilot were amused by my stricken expression. Then the pilot must have started to worry about me, and informed me that the "Aloha Bags" were in the seat pocket in front of me.

The flight there wasn't that bad, once we were in the air. Unfortunately, taking off and ascending were so terrifying that I couldn't enjoy the ride. The only way I survived the flight was by reading the book I had bought the day before at Borders Express. Every now and then, James would tap me to show me something amazing and beautiful, which I would glance at quickly before going back to reading so that I could pretend we weren't in a toy airplane that was about to plummet into the Pacific.

As you can see, the view was spectacular.

And of course, we arrived safely into Hilo, much to my surprise and relief.
The climate was completely different; very humid, wet, and rainy. We drove around a bit and stopped in to see Rainbow Falls. Then we made our way to Volcano Village, and checked into our hotel, the Kilauea Lodge. We ate an unbelievable gourmet dinner in their homey restaurant that night. The highlight was a baked brie covered in toasted coconut and drizzled with honey, served with freshly baked warm Hawaiian sweet bread. Heaven when we ate it, but it wreaked havoc later. Sooooo much cheese.

Trivia about the Kilauea Lodge:
Everyone remembers Magnum, P.I., right? It was filmed on Hawaii, and was on the air from 1980-1988. When the show ended, the show's main makeup artist decided he couldn't possibly leave Hawaii. Obviously, there wasn't much need for a man of his talents on the islands, so he bought the Kilauea Lodge. He studied cooking in Paris and became the restaurant's acclaimed head chef.

Well, during dinner that first night at the Lodge, all of a sudden an idea popped into my head that I couldn't shake. I kept imagining that the chef in the kitchen was actually Higgins from the show, and that he was back there cooking. When James demanded to know my amusing secret, we both had an uncontrollable laughing fit. It would end, then one of us would just say "Higgins," and then it would start all over again. Higgins was said in the same voice as "Christians," and became the joke of the Big Island.

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