After dropping off Wendy at the airport, I took another trip to Ross and Target (my 2 favourite stores in America). Got a nice new "skirtini" (a bikini with bottoms in the shape of a skirt) and yet another lovely new dress from Ross. After a couple of hours of walking around the shops in a "gambling daze", I headed off towards Captain Cook to check back in to Manago's Hotel, where I "upgraded" myself to a top floor suite with sweeping, uninterrupted views of the bay below. I had the room all to myself for 2 nights - ah, the luxury of solitude! Don't get me wrong, it's great travelling with someone and meeting new people, but it's also important to have some "me time"!
I made my way down to the Annual Hawaiian Cultural Festival at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. Several volunteer groups from all around the island gather at the park every year to demonstrate traditional art and crafts to the general public. There were different stalls where you could weave baskets, learn to make leis, drum to Hawaiian songs and listen to mythological stories - all for free! I sat down for 30minutes with a group of weaver and made my own Apo Lima (bangle) made from Lauhala (leaves of the Hala plant). In the old days, Hawaiians used to weave mats for their homes and even for the sails on their canoes. There was a great vibe and I enjoyed the wonderful aloha spirit that Hawaiians are so famous for.
I went for a sunset swim again at the Kona Royal Resort lagoon/pond thing. Dinner was at Sam Choy's - a famous Hawaiian chef that has opened up a chain of restaurants. Complimentary green salad and corn chowder, edamame, and his award-winning seafood laulau - consisting of butterfish, prawns and clams steamed in Ti leaves. It has a lovely, warm, earthy flavour and reminds me a bit of food cooked in lotus leaf - as the Cambodians would say, "Same-same but different!". Couldn't miss out on dessert, especially as there was an award-winning Kai Lanai flourless chocolate cake! OMG, I was completely stuffed but very happy!