May 9 – Kona Coffee

Coffee Berries at Hula Daddy Coffee

When we were in Hawaii, I didn’t want to spend too much time blogging so I planned on talkin’ coffee later. Well, here we go:

The first day on the island, Madison and I rented a Jeep and drove around the west side of the island.  Our first stop was Big Daddy Hula Coffee Plantation. Driving up the mountain, the air became much cooler and it even rained for a bit.  This type of weather is typical here, which is great for coffee growing. The west side of the island is rarely windy, as the volcanoes block the wind; if you travel north of the mountains,  you will find more sun and more wind. Interesting fact: 11 of the 13 world climates are on Hawaii’s Big Island. Can you guess which ones didn’t make the cut?

The plantation we visited was very small, and  they have a very time-consuming process, so the little coffee they do produce is high quality.  Any coffee grown within a certain region on the island can be labeled 100% Kona coffee.  However, not all Kona coffee is the same (or so the salesperson said). =)

Hula Daddy sifts through the berries by hand, picking out the perfectly ripe ones.  They sell the others (too ripe and not yet ripe) to other Kona coffee producers. They bring the berries down to the area of the island in between the airport and the resort we stayed at, which sees very little rain all year. The berries are laid out in the sun to dry out for a couple weeks, and then sent to a mill where the skins are removed. Hula Daddy does their own roasting – only 9 lbs at a time. While we were there they had the roaster running – it smelled like toast.

Madison and I enjoyed drinking our Kona coffee every morning, especially while sitting on our balcony.  It was so peaceful and a great way to start our day. After flying to Phoenix and not sleeping, I searched the airport for coffee before our connecting flight.  The only Starbucks we saw had an incredibly long line, but I found a coffee machine at Cinnabon. I wanted to have a reaction to the coffee like Will Ferrell in Zoolander (http://youtu.be/tNjysERQ4Oo) but was too tired to make the effort. “Are you not AWARE I only drink Kona Coffee?” #CoffeeSnob

-V

May 1 – Reality calls…

Umm, yumm!

So we traveled home May 1, but I figured why not post another beautiful photo from Hawaii. We drank these with our feet in the sand watching the sunset bring on a new month with new places to visit. After another brilliant fish dinner (I had fish 2x a day in Kona since it was so fresh) we reluctantly hopped on the shuttle to Kona’s outdoor airport.

Can I have a moment to vent about flying? I CAN NOT sleep on planes [note: have not yet tried ambien]. While I sat there on our red eye, with sleepy-aid melatonin pills in my system, I watched, red-eyed (damn you for your perfect name), as everyone around me slept peacefully. Not only was I sitting next to the bathroom (slamming door, bright light), but I was the back row so my seat reclined all of an inch. I almost fell asleep right after takeoff, but was startled awake when they turned on the inflight movie, Sherlock Homes, with the sound ON. Ughh. The only thing that got me through the flight was closing my eyes and picturing the photo above. Then, I knew I had no reason to complain.

We arrived in DC around 4:30pm EST (10:30am in Hawaii) and I was a mess. We forced ourselves to stay awake and go to sleep at a normal time which was not easy. I don’t think I was speaking in complete sentences, and when I went to make coffee, I forgot to add the actual coffee.

What an amazing trip, and back to reality it is for the V Life.

-V

April 29 – Sun kissed

Beautiful but not much shade!

 

I was so engrossed in the Hunger Games this morning that I forgot to reapply sunblock. Big oops! I will be hunting for shade tomorrow, our last day on the island. =( When I wasn’t frying in the sun today, I was swimming in the clear ocean water, serving up some doubles tennis, and enjoying my balcony’s ocean view.

White party tonight with the Whale Winners! Now I can show off my sweet burn lines…

-V on vacation

April 28 – “We’re out to Discover!!” -Scuttle, The Little Mermaid

Our rafting adventure

This morning we woke up and got on a bus to a harbor a little south of the resort for an excursion. LivingSocial lined up a bunch – hiking, zip lining, and snorkeling.  We chose snorkeling, and getting to the cove was an adventure in itself. There were 18 people on our raft (military style – we felt like we were storming the beaches of Normandy) with twin 150 horsepower engines. We went fast. And it was AWESOME. Talk about wind in your face! It took me 10 minutes to brush through my hair after…

The cove we were headed to was about a 45 minute ride away, and along the way we stopped to see dolphins (!) and different parts of the Hawaiian Northwest coast, which is just beautiful.  The dark lava rocks drop off into the water and with water erosion, coves and caves are formed. In the picture above, we were headed straight for the rocks, at very high speeds until we were close enough to see the water receding, then again moving in, and when a large enough swell hits the rocks, it shoots out of the rock about 40 feet high. A blow hole just like in Fools Gold! So cool!

Snorkeling was such a unique experience.  I didn’t think I would like it because you have to focus on breathing out of your mouth, but after 10 minutes, your body adjusts and it feels natural. I kicked my flippers over the side of the raft, pressed my mask to my face, held my breath and jumped into the clear blue water. Once I got my snorkel all set up I saw tons of fish and coral just feet beneath me.  Really, an extraordinary sight. The cove we were snorkeling in was stunning  – we were surrounded by a lush and green peninsula and then huge vertical cliffs.

I would like to be able to say nothing negative about the trip, but unfortunately I almost fed the fish several times. The ocean was very active and the swells were really getting to me on our trip home.  Luckily, I held it back but with my sunburn and green queasy face, you might have mistaken me for a Hawaiian take on Christmas. I recovered the second I stepped up onto the dock and spent the rest of the day finishing Hunger Games book 2.

-V on vacation