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On our last day on the Big Island, we took a drive, a Hawaii road trip, and veered off onto what the road signs appropriately called the "scenic route." After leaving Hilo, we stopped for a quick hike on Onomea Bay Trail. We visited the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. We visited Akaka Falls State Park and saw a giant waterfall. We looked out over Waipio Valley Overlook. For lunch we grabbed a plate lunch (an Asian-influenced food plate that typically consists of two scoops of white rice, macaroni salad, and an entrée) at a local hole in the wall. My plate...

I'm not sure if our car, or my lungs, would have made it safely to the summit that night. So we stayed close to the visitors center, and climbed a small hill to watch to sun set. I'm not sure I ever in my life imagined that I'd need to wear my winter coat in Hawaii. But it gets chilly on mountaintops. Wherever in the world they may be. I did see stars. Many of them. 400 though I lost count around 100. And Jupiter. I'm not sure I saw any invisible cows. But I'm pretty sure I did....

We spent three nights in Hilo on Big Island, Hawaii, mostly because it served as a good base to explore some of the other areas of the island: like the waterfalls, and the Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo, and the Mauna Kea mountain. But when planning for things to do in Hilo, Hawaii, itself, we found a few things to see in town as well: like a Japanese Garden (Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens), and banyan trees planted by people famous in the 1930s, and a waterfront. And food. Of course, food. Things to do in Hilo, Hawaii:   Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens...

When I pictured spending my 32nd birthday in Hawaii, I kind of imagined tanning on the beach, swimming in the ocean, eating raw fish, drinking fruity cocktails, and making out with a bleach blonde surfer. Instead, the night ended at 9:30pm passing out on a too-hard mattress and watching Food Network and HGTV. I'd spent most of the day in the car, and nothing in the small town we were sleeping in was open past 9pm. But let's forget about that part, shall we? Because, in the grand scheme of things, my birthday was kind of pretty awesome....

If there is one thing that an adolescent addiction to family sitcoms had taught me (and, lets face it, it taught me many things), it is that in Hawaii they hand out leis like they're going out of style. You arrive at the airport: you get a lei. You arrive at your hotel: you get a lei. You attend a luau on some deserted potato chip of an island: you get a lei. I was pretty sure they gave you one every time you left the bathroom. You get lei'd in Hawaii. The Bradys got leis. The Seavers got leis. The...

Some months ago, my friend Jen asked me if I wanted to come to Hawaii with her for her 30th birthday. Considering the fact that my birthday just happens to be the day after hers that meant that I too would then be spending my birthday in Hawaii. How could I say no to that? We spent the day of Jen's Big Island birthday on a whale watching tour, spotting many a whale off in the distance, splashing around. We couldn't get too close, because that is illegal. And, you know, dangerous. So my pictures are pretty bad (because I still...