CruiseTrek -- Day 3
Day 3: Monday June 2, 2003. 6:30 AM HST
Off the coast of Hilo, Hawaii
As I type this, I am sitting on my verandah, looking out at the Hilo coastline. The sun is just risen, and is sitting between the sea and the clouds. The ocean is calm and the air is warm and humid. This truly is paradise.
I was very happy to leave Honolulu yesterday. While the beaches are beautiful, and the water is clean, warm, and placid, the entire city feels like Santa Monica or Venice, in California: there are homeless, panhandlers, and shifty-looking hustlers everywhere. There is graffiti on most of the buildings, and trash litters the gutters and doorways along most of the streets. There seems to be a great deal of poverty just a few blocks away from Hotel Row, and the whole place just reeks of desperation.
We're only in Hilo for a few hours today; our ship sets sail at 1:00 p.m. The plan is to rent a car and drive to the Volcano National Park. Anne and I rarely take traditional shore excursions through a cruise line. We prefer to rent a car, and use a map to make our own tour, or hire a local guide to drive us around. When we were in Alaska, we took a bus to the Mendenhall Glacier for 5 bucks . . . while our fellow passengers took the exact same trip on a cruise line organized bus for sixty-five!!