Downtown Hilo is very friendly, and very small. There’s one main street, called Bayfront, which faces the beach and contains a good number of shops and restaurants. It also boasts a fabulous Banyan tree, of which I took several photos in a very tourist-y fashion, and I attached one here. I also saw a really bizarre-looking fruit/flower (see the second photo) and I’m not sure what it is, so I’ll ask Devin next time I see him. I biked to the end of downtown and stopped to look at the beach. It’s all fairly rocky here, with small sections of black sand
beaches, so it's a bit different than the stereotypical Hawaiian shores on postcards. It was super stormy-looking, with huge billowing clouds, and beautiful. I love the weather!
I started at the far end of the street and worked my way back towards my apartment. There are some great used bookstores, and I picked up “The Lighthouse” by P.D. James. Shockingly enough, it’s a murder mystery and sufficiently creepy to make me wish that I had roommates moved in already. And I got a helmet, so I can be a safe and conscientious bike-rider. There’s also a small museum on the coral reef ecosystem, so I read up on some cool information about the Hawaiian reefs. I signed up to get SCUBA certified starting in July, and should be done before I leave Hilo! They take us on 5 dives, which is probably more than I would’ve been able to do in Hawaii if I’d been certified before I got here, so I think it will work out nicely and get me lots of reef time.
I also discovered that every Saturday there’s a wonderful farmer’s market in downtown Hilo. Papayas were 8 for $1!!! AHHHHHH!!! So of course, I had to buy 8, and have included a picture of the 7 remaining ones after I got home and gorged on a fresh, juicy, sweet papaya. There was also Spam sushi (see photo), freshly made and still warm, which is super tasty and salty, and there were stalls for clothes and other produce. In other news, I was mistaken for a native by one of the vendors! Of course, a native would have known that she would need a huge backpack for carrying around her papayas, whereas I didn’t prepare properly and ended up biking back to my apartment with a hugely heavy bag of fruit banging against my bike. I guess that means I’ll have to eat my fruit quickly before it bruises too much. Oh well, if I must then I must!
I’ve spent most of my remaining time wishing I had steady access to the internet, reading my book, and eating papaya. Woooo weekends! It started raining around 9 PM and the accompanying breeze was fantastic.
Also, Angie, thank you ever so much for the Jazz music!! I’ve been listening practically non-stop and it’s great!