12 June 2008

Macadamia nuts, cops, dead hippie

--Stopped at the Mauna Loa orchard/factory. 2500 acres of macadamia trees. about 22 hours ago from txt
--Richardson Ocean Park near Hilo: kids in surf can't resist that gigantic turtle. about 20 hours ago from txt
--Reeds Bay Park near Hilo: body of old man wahed up on beach at least 9 police cars on scene. about 20 hours ago from txt

We toured the Mauna Loa orchard and factory. Not much to see other than the gift shop, because the factory wasn't operating that day. But it was still fun. Drive through acres and acres of macadamia nut trees to get to the visitor buildings. Again, this is only a few miles from our home base, Wild Orchid House.

On our way to the airport, we stopped at a few of the beach parks in Hilo.

The "beach" is black lava rocks. The "sand" is ground up lava rocks. It hurts my bare feet. It's rough and coarse. Yes, I know I'm using the "" liberally. I'm trying to convey that the reality of what was there does not meet my schemata. It didn't fit with my brain's definitions.

We drove into the last beach park, Reeds Bay Park. 9 police cruisers were parked there in a clump.

"What's going on?" says Mike.

"Ah, I don't think we need to know," I said.

"I want to know what's going on."
"Mike, drive out. Just drive by and drive out."

"Baby doll, I want to know what's going on," kind of short-tempered now.

"Mike, please, just drive out. Just leave. It can't be good."

Mike steers STRAIGHT TOWARD a policeman who is interviewing some people. The officer is holding a clip board. Mike pulls right up beside (MY SIDE OF THE CAR, DAMMIT!), and Mike rolls down MY window and yells over me through my window "Officer, is there a problem here?"

OMG. Did he just say that? Did he just do that? Can I melt into my seat? Can I become invisible?

The officer takes a half-step toward my window. Can't see his eyes behind the shades. Steel face.

He leans in to my window (me, doing my wish-I-was-invisible trick) and says to Mike "Depends, sir. How long have you been in the park?"

This has turned a bad corner.

"Oh we're just leaving," says jovial Mike. He must be talking about the fact that we are on our way to the airport to leave the island, but that is NOT what it sounds like to shades-wearing steel-face clip-board-holding officer.

"No! That's not what he means," I blurt out. "We JUST DROVE IN to the park. He means we are leaving the island today.... I mean... we're on our way to the airport... I mean... we've been here on vacation and its our last day... we fly out today... that's what he meant. We just drove in to the park!!!!"

I see a tiny little lift at the corner of the policeman's mouth.

"How long have you been at the park?" he asks again.

"Less than a minute. We just drove in and saw all the police cars and were curious," I said, feeling embarrassed at my silly breakdown a moment before.

"Well, ok, because there's a dead body here, washed up on shore. I wouldn't want to think you folks were involved in that in any way. I'm just interviewing witnesses," he says, the corner of his mouth up a little more. "Are you witnesses?"

"No! We just drove in!" Mike said.

"OK, then move along now."

We drove past the body. Man. Wearing raggedy shorts. Leathery brown shins. Head covered in a bright print beach towel. Dreadlocks hanging out beyond the towel.

Was it one of the Hilo hippies who greeted us our first day on the big island with bongo drums and uninhibited dancing on the sidewalk?

We were quiet on the short trip to the airport. It was time to say good bye.

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