I need to back up a bit and return to the Big Island for just a moment because a funny thing happen on the way to the crater. Did y’all know that Diamond Head was a crater? Cause I didn’t, but I’ll get to that in a minute I need to set the stage a bit.
One of the things I find most disturbing about the aging process is that it has a mind of it's own and at any given moment can rear it’s ugly head and cause an unpleasant or painful situation. It was several weeks ago when I had gone over to pick up Muffinhead. I took a nose dive, being the ever graceful person that I am, and landed right smack dab on my right knee! Yea for me. Well it had nearly recovered, almost. I was just about getting to the point of being able to get down on my hands and knees without experiencing any pain but it was slow going.
Well when we were at the Volcano National Park I had not anticipated exactly just how much walking would be involved. There was a LOT of walking. We ended up staying for the entire day and most of it was out walking the various trails and paths leading up to the different site. When you enter the park they give you a wonderful map of the park. Usually it has lots of information on it…sometimes. On occasion they will inform you that the trail head is moderately strenuous or even extremely strenuous involving steep inclines, multiple sets of stair or rough terrain. Sometime they will even give you a time frame such as hike time usually takes up to…
Having visited the Petroglyphs in the Painted Desert I was very excited to take a look at the ones on Hawaii.
Well we looked at the map and saw that the trail out to the Petroglyphs was only 0.7mles. The hubs and I regularly walk about two miles over at the park on a regular basis and we had been handling most of terrain with no issue. I will say that we did avoid the over long trails and the ones that had the very extreme inclines. We were on vacation not a climbing expedition nor were we dressed for mountain climbing. Nor did we want to go mountain climbing.
So we head out for the petroglyphs.
See the nice straight tiny dotted line on the map.
When we get there we see a large some what flat lava flow.
But wait where’s the trail?
It wasn’t a nice little asphalt paved course it was 0.7 miles of this. Do you see the piles of rocks stacked up along the lava flow?
The piles of rock were the tail markers. Why yes, they ran in a zig-zag and up and down pattern over the length of this uneven and very gravely lava flow. The trail while sort of flat, it was the getting out to the petroglyphs which was extremely hazardous for my old bones and especially did a number on my tender knee!
By the next morning my knee was making it’s presence know in a big way. Thankfully for this southern girl you can always count on the Wal-Mart to come to the rescue. I was never so glad to see this building in all my life. I made my way straight to the first aid section and purchased the biggest ace bandage I could get my hands on an wrapped my knee up within an inch if it’s life. I was determined not to let my infirmities ruin our vacation
So here we are with my knee snuggly bound, it was still a bit painful, very stiff and swollen but it was manageable. Thank you Jesus for Advil and ice packs at the end of each day!
I made it through, hobble around really, but I managed! I will say that the Hubs is a great boyfriend as he was very patient with me always checking to make sure the knee was ok and going in front of me and giving me his hand to steady me if we came to some uneven parts of various paths or stairs. He’s a keeper y’all!
Well I did not give the knee much thought beyond berating myself for having a weak constitution and an even weaker infrastructure. I just took the slight unpleasantness in stride and we carried on.
Each morning I would wrap up the old knee and we would head out the door. The morning we headed to the Kona airport was no different.
The Kona airport is a very small airport. The security station is very small as well. They had two stations set up with the x-ray for the bags and the metal detector for you to walk through. We had disrobed of shoes, belts, hats, jackets etc….and I was waiting my turn.
There was another woman in front of me getting ready to enter the metal detector. She had on a lovely ensemble which included a light weight shirt that was made out of this wonderful flowing fabric, almost transparent. It was perfect for the tropical breezes. Well the TSA agent took one look at her sweet little shirt and asked her to remove it. She hesitated for half a second and then questioned him. I could not hear what she was saying but she clearly did not want to remove this essential part of her ensemble. I can relate. I saw her gesture to this flimsy garment holding it open for him to inspect. She looked at the TSA agent again with this look of “Seriously? You really want me to remove this see though shirt?” She had a coordinating shell under her shirt but she stood for a few second internalizing her decision. Seeing that the TSA agent was not begin swayed by reason or by fashion sense she removed her shirt, looked back at me with this look of exasperation on her face and put it in the x-ray bin and walked through the metal detector with no incident.
It was my turn next.
There I was in my bare feet, no jacket, no hat, no sunglasses, nothing but little old me…and an ace bandage round my big fat knee!
“Ma’am., you will need to stay right there. We need to get a Female Assist. Just come on through and step over here please.”
Why, why, why didn’t I forgo the ace bandage…..
So there I am standing all by my lonesome waiting for the next available female security agent. Shades of my harrowing airport security experience in Puerto Rico flashed before my eyes.
As I am standing there I get a very sympathetic look from the woman who had been striped of her shirt. She was putting her cloths back on and she cast a look my way…it was like mental telepathy, because clearly we were two very suspicious looking characters. Me with my swollen knee and her with her lovely sagging underarms, which I am sure the little cover up was intended to COVER those up don’t ya know. “Why sure I want to take this off so you can see just exactly how sagging my underarms are. I live for that!”
So there I stood waiting, and waiting.
“We need a female assist over here please” they announce for the second time.
The hubs has cleared security by now and is off to the side putting all his cloths back on.
Yea for me.
Now I will say that the male members of the Kona Security folks were very friendly. The were really trying to speed the process along. They even discussed possibly just doing the inspection themselves, but one of them remarked that I was standing right in front of the video camera and they did not want to get in trouble. Wonderful, here I was standing right in front of the video monitor and by this time I was getting the giggles.
For a third time “We need a Female Assist over here please!”
People were starting to stare! Now I am really enjoying myself. I was laughing all the while thinking that this had to be a joke. It was just so ridiculous. I offered to even remove the bandage so they could see that in fact it was just my little old knee under all the wrapping…but no the sadly it was to late. All necessary precautions had to be taken!
“We’re so sorry this is taking so long ma’am! All our female agents are busy at the moment. We appreciate your taking this so well.” They were very sweet and obviously very amused at my fits of uncontrollable giggling and laughing.
Finally the “Female Assist” person shows up. Have y’all ever seen that Saturday Night Live skit with the ambiguously dressed character named Pat.
No one is ever quite sure if this person is a male or a female.
Well “Pat” walks up to me and I look at her/??? and I am wondering “Is this really a female assist?”
I could not tell!
Obviously she had to be a woman or she would not have shown up to the urgent call for a “Female Assist” but in all honesty I gave her a serious once over and I was not sure myself.
Well she whips out these lovely looking little white pads that remind you of the stridex pads you used on your face when you were a teenager. She asked me to stick out my palms and then gives both my hands the once over with these nifty little white pads. Now it’s time for the knee. She runs all around my bandage, all around the top and bottom of my knee and then moves over to this machine and inserts these pads.
Thankfully they determined that I did not have a bomb strapped to my knee and I was allowed to board the plane.
The other woman having gotten herself back together looked at me after I had been thoroughly swabbed down and said “well I guess its’ safe for us to fly today isn’t it!”
Because clearly she and I fit the bill for a high security risk…
Funny ha ha…maybe. Funny that we are now put through a near criminal investigation simply to board a plane now a days is very sad, but very necessary. It was one of the more humorous notes of our vacation.
“Honey you remember the time you got swabbed down in the Kona airport for explosives!” ….GOOD TIMES FOR SURE!
Now fast forward to our last morning on Oahu.
Our flight did not leave until 4:30 PM so we figured we had just enough time to give Diamond Head a visit before we drove to the airport to turn in our rental car.
Silly me I thought you could drive to the top!
I found this aerial photograph online. Well I had no idea that it was a crater!
We get to the park and we realize that in fact you can NOT drive to the top. We think to ourselves “How hard could it be?”
Well let’s just say that maybe meeting the Dali Lama at the top of Mount Everest pales by comparison, but not by much.
I made it about half way to the half way point. I will explain how I know this in a minute.
We get to a point and the hubs turns to me and ask “Are you sure you want to do this?”
Me trying not to be a wet blanket was willing to attempt the hike but he gives a glimpse up to the remaining incline and makes an executive decision that it simply is not a good idea for us to go the rest of the way with my knee.
I said “Well I’ll wait if you want to go up and make the rest of the hike.”
I hand him the camera and he sets off for the top while I made my way back down to the last resting bench I had passed to wait for him.
So here’s the funny thing part two.
I am patiently waiting on my little concrete bench when this gentleman comes bounding up the hill. He is a rather athletically inclined and has a considerable set of guns protruding from his muscular build. He sprints up the hill and runs behind me and pauses for just a moment. He was not the first person I had seem showing off there athletic ability of running up the side of this particular mountain. I had seen several insane folks running up and then back down in the time I sat waiting. SHOW-OFF’S!
Anyway he stood there for several minute catching his breath. I turned around to give him a quick glance. I mean I was sitting there all by myself. He looked on the normal side but you know these day you can never be too sure.
Well upon catching his breath he disappeared behind this small storage building that was built into the side of the mountain. I could hear him rustling around making noise. Sounded just like he was unwrapping something from a large sheet of plastic.
Oh great I have just taken up roust at the outpost of a tropical serial killer come to retrieve a severed body part. Yea for me! Or maybe he was planning to add me to his collection……
He pops back out with clipboard in his hand and stations himself in the middle of the path.
As the tourist begin to make there way to the top he begins to call out encouragements to them.
‘You’re half way to the half way!” This is how I know I was in fact “half way to the half way”, because he must have said it about 30 or 40 times in the time I sat and waited for the hubs to come back down. As folks would make there way up the trail he would leap from his spot and yell “You're half way to the half way folks, good job keep up the good work!”
Then he begins to rattle of various other expressions I think he had a rolling script in his head.
At first I thought that maybe he was part of a tour group or maybe he was there to assist folks on a tour, but then the first group of folks coming back down around the corner appeared and he went into action.
He hops up and begins his sale pitch.
He was hawking tee shirts y’all.
“I climbed Diamond Head! 2011”
“Hey there folks. You made it down off the mountain. 744 steps, 760 vertical feet in height, you earned the bragging rights for Diamond Head, now all you need is this T-Shirt. You don't want to miss this folks you can’t get it any where else but right here and right now. I’ll make you a deal, if your whole group gets one I'll discount the price. All you have to do is give me you hotel room number and your tee-shirt will be waiting for you at the end of the day at the concierge desk. Don’t miss out on this once a in a life time opportunity.These 100% cotton tee’s are not available at any gift shop, don’t miss out!”
On and on it went. He was relentless. He even sold one or two while I watched. I was amazed.
If I had my camera I would have gotten his sales pitch on video. He was a little bit creepy. I even considered moving back down to the next rest area, but I had told the hubs that I would wait for him there and I did not want to alarm him. After about 15 minutes he sat down on the bench next to me and starts up a conversation. He asked the normal questions. Where I’m from etc…obviously he was not going to try to sell and old woman with a bad knee an “I Climbed Diamond Head” tee-shirt. He did however try to get the hubs to buy one when made his way back down.
Y’all bless his little heart. When the hubs rounded the corner you should have seen his face. He plopped down on the bench next to me and I handed him my water bottle (which he refused to take with him, I tried to get him to take it but noooooo) and he quickly took a few long swigs and said,
“You’d a never made it! My legs are shaking so bad I almost didn’t make it myself!”
It was a rough one y’all and the hubs was looking out for me.
This is just one set of stairs that the hubs did!
He snapped a few pictures from the top.
This is a great picture of the city of Honolulu!
Well no vacation would be complete without a bit of comic relief!
My perils with Airport Security and a tee shirt hawking salesman on Diamond Head not withstanding it was a good time.
Needless to say I made sure I took the ace bandage off my knee befor going back to the airport on Oahu! No more Female Assist for me, at least not for the remainder of the trip that is!
We move on to Maui and y’all it was the most beautiful island yet!
Take care and look for my next vacation post in a few days.
Blessings & Mahalo