Showing posts from June, 2008

Pick a Peck of Pickled Poke

On Saturday we braved the $4.75 a gallon gas and drove to Hilo for the day. First stop, the farmers market. For ten dollars I got three bags of sweet smelling and sap-sticky tropical fruit and vegetables: papayas, 5 for a dollar, sweet potatoes, apples bananas as long as your finger and sweet and tender. I asked one farmer for a couple of the thick blunt plantains he had on his table. No, no! He said. Those are for cooking. I know! I insisted. I want them! I'm going to go home and fry them up. He reluctantly handed them over, shaking his head. Crazy lady. The micronesian grandmas push the gawking haoles out of the way and bargain in a shout with all the micronesian farmers. I also got a bunch of narrow light purple Japanese eggplants, and some zucchinis. I was tempted by the tiny light-yellow mangoes and the ice cold "organi" coconuts, and bought some authentic Japanese fish-shaped pancakes, stuffed with Adzuki beans and cream cheese.
We went to the zoo and enjoyed the th…


This is my lovely friend Karen from
Her 4 year old boy Shawn is in his pod back there.
This ambitious pair are planning a marathon bike ride through the mountains, hills, rain and snow of the Big Island. Well, hopefully more sandy beaches than snow, and complimentary resort hotel rooms than grungy campgrounds.
Good luck Karen on your adventure! May all your wildest dreams come true!

Auntie Bertha

Yesterday I ran into Auntie Bertha outside of the senior center. She was excited to tell me, as she cinched up her black oversized raincoat, that they give free food-- even milk!--to seniors every lunch, so she gets on the bus and comes over every day. Why not?
She's hip.
She's so hip, she doesn't care that she's hip. She's almost 80 years old. She wears knee-length batik printed skirts to church and heavy bright jewelry. She waves off compliments-- "Oh, my daughter in law gave it to me."
She came to the Halloween party in soft yellow leather with fringes and squash blossom jewelry, and chunky turquoise and silver rings on her bony hands, with her long gray hair in braids. She was stunning-- small and compact and content sitting in the metal folding chairs while her great, and great-great children ran around her in costume. "I'm part Indian" she explained. A half-Indian sailor came to Hawaii and stayed, married into her Hawaiian family tree.
I r…

Wen Buss one GUT!

This weekend we went to Maui for the 38th annual Farm and Ag fair. We saw lots of handsome pigs and cows raised up by and auctioned off for the 4-H kids, and enjoyed such culinary marvels as cold greasy pork and peas, and watery cold curry with blackening baby corn in asthma-inducing cumin goop. But those were nicely balanced by delicious crunchy sweet Banana lumpia (think friend spring roll with a banana inside) and awe-(and diabetes)-inspiring friend ice cream, served in a wad as big as a softball.
There were acts on the main stage on and off: Uncle Richard, a brilliant Falsetto singer with white mutton-chops, a girl with a guitar covering Sarah Mclaughlan and country hits, and the "Amazing Stupor-Man!", the absolute worst magic act I've ever had the misfortune to endure. The amazing rope-cutting trick ended with a hopeless tangle, the card the kid picked was never found again, the card-repair "hospital" frame fell apart and had to be reassembled, the false bo…

Secret Byways

Here are some of the lovely and strange places I've stumbed across lately. A strangely impaled 1.5" beetle on the barbed wire fence. This Hawaiian homestead farm is along the road I walk along. The day I went in and said hello, they were weeding beets, harvasting kale, and planting onions, arugula, and lettuces.
This beach (I'm not telling where) and hike were so odd and lovely-- completely empty rocky beach and clear blue water over black sand and rocks... "Take care of the land..."
An odd eerie horse holding perfectly still along the side of the road.

Different Islands

This weekend we hopped on a plane and went to visit Kauai for a couple of days. Yes, the airfare was outrageous--I bought a roundtrip from SF to NYC for less a couple of years ago-- but it was an adventure. And besides, it was the patriotic thing to do-- spending a bit of our economic stimulus money on a mini vacation (which doubled as a chance for a job interview).
And after four days on the Garden Isle, I went home with this profound impression:
All of the Islands are different from each other. The Big Island is big. Kauai, Oahu, and Maui are small. We have vog, they have clear blue skies. They are green and verdant jungles, we are yellow rangeland plains. They have a lot of good food, we have a little bit of good food, spread few and far across the island.
And maybe I'm nuts, but everyone was very friendly on Kauai. I kept nudging my husband and saying, "am I nuts or is everybody friendly on Kauai?" The museum lady let us in for free, the shopkeeper pinched baby's cheek…