I was outside of Hilo, in an area that was very jungle-like. It was fascinating, this completely foreign world. It reminded me of Vietnam War movies. The plants grow huge there. I thought of my small, potted hibiscus plants on the balcony at home and tried to reconcile that vision with the fist-sized hibiscus I saw growing outside of the place where we stopped for smoothies.
On our walk out to Akaka Falls, I saw many flowers that looked like they were from some alien planet. Honestly, I just couldn't get over it. I'm Michigan born and bred, and have never lived in any other climate that's much different from that until now. While I have often been chided by my friends for a lack of love for the outdoors, it's not that I don't appreciate them. I just like my creature comforts. I am awed by the beauty of this earth, though. I don't know how anyone could not be moved by the wonders of Hawaii.
When I went to bed, there was a gecko on the wall. Now, I've seen geckos outside of houses on Maui. I've even heard them in my office. But I've never seen them inside. I have to admit that I was pretty freaked out by it. I hate creepy crawlies, mostly for two reasons: I can't stand the way they "scuttle" and I hate the thought that they might be crawling on me while I'm sleeping. I realize that geckos aren't creepy crawlies, but it did scuttle when it realized I saw it, and that's what freaked me out. I'm sure it found a safe place to hide as soon as I turned out the light. Later, in the morning, I was ashamed, and wished that I had taken a picture of it.
As I left, the air on the Big Island was hazy from the vog of an erupting volcano ("vog" is the local term for fog-like conditions created by volcanic ash). It was clear when I landed on Maui, but the vog rolled in later in the afternoon, the thickest I've seen it yet. Our view of the valley below and the mountain beyond it was completely obliterated. The vog stayed through this morning, when I took an eerie, blurry picture of the sun.
I really liked the Big Island and hope that I can go back some time for more exploration. So far, though, I'm glad that we ended up on Maui.