Solar City of Second Chances

One of the group looking at a half-size model of the big temple at Pu'uhonua o honaunau

(Erika, the blog title is for you.)

Sorry about not writing yesterday. I had a sort of meltdown that tends to happen about two weeks into trips I take when I get homesick and frustrated with where I am… Perhaps it’s something to do with my ADHD, but whatever. I’m back. You couldn’t get rid of me that easily.

Yesterday we had the chance to go visit the headquarters for the W.M. Keck Observatory in Kona. The observatory itself is on top of Mauna Kea (see previous entry), but where they see the images and control the telescopes is down in Kona. We got to see the control room as well as get a full lecture in their conference room on spectrography and how they are able to find new planets and stars and figure out their masses and what they’re made out of just using light. Isn’t that cool? Okay, I’m a nerd, but it’s really awesome.

After that we got to go to Puwawa Ranch, which is owned by Mr. Rogers. No, not the one in the little yellow house and King Friday, but the one who created Tetris. Yup. That one. He is having one of the buildings on his ranch converted into a mini solar power plant. This way he can power his ranch without having to be part of the island’s grid. Within three years he will start saving 44 cents per kilowatt hour. That’s not bad at all!

Canoes in the style of the ancient Hawai'ians... Apparently they knew I was coming, so they put up extra signs telling people not to get into the canoes

That was it for yesterday. Today we went to Pu’uhonua o honaunau, or the city of refuge outside of Kona. This is an old sacred site where one could go if they had broken the law and escape death. If you made it to the temple you could be absolved by the priest and not have to be put to death. This is also where defeated warriors could go to escape death at the hands of the winning army or women and children would go there during a war and couldn’t be touched.

This particular temple has been there for around 700 years and remains relatively untouched. An interesting story about it is as follows: When the earthquake happened in Japan last year, the tsunami reached Pu’uhonua o honaunau it ripped up the walls, took away all the sand and destroyed much of the vegetation, but it went around the temple and it didn’t even get wet. Weird, huh? I thought that was really interesting.

The front of The Painted Church... It was quite beautiful with a large, old cemetery along the side and a stations of the cross area behind it

We also got to go to The Painted Church, which is an old Catholic church that was painted all over in the inside by the priest who started it with depictions of different Biblical stories and ideas. The inside was quite beautiful, but I felt bad taking pictures in there as there were signs all over talking about trying to preserve it for future generations. So I took a picture of the entrance to the church, and that will have to suffice.

Well, that’s it for today and yesterday. I’m becoming increasingly short-winded as we go on because I’m trying to not repeat any information because I’ve received some complaints that I’m, unwittingly, rubbing my experience in some people’s faces, especially considering the current weather in the Pacific Northwest. Therefore, I’ll leave you there and go play a game of Balderdash, then go to bed. Tomorrow is church and our first snorkeling adventure!

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