We just fled Alaska for a few weeks of sunshine on the Big Island. In our funky, groovy, offbeat part of the island, called Puna, people have a whole different approach to life. Puna is home to spiritual seekers of all sorts, yoga-surf bums, Katsu massage therapists, organic ganja farmers, and a few runaway Alaskans like ourselves. If there were a Hawaiian Olympics, I would nominate these thirteen events -- all part of everyday life here in what’s known as "the Punaverse."
1. Fire dancing. While this is a spectacular marquee event, it does require extensive training. This particular competitor traveled from Japan to showcase her skill.
3. Jungle vine swinging. Kids tend to excel at this particular sport.
4. Tortoise racing. Not exactly fast-paced, but still a crowd favorite.
5. Competitive chips and salsa eating. Depending on the season, this may also involve massive amounts of guacamole.
6. Coconut hacking. Bring your own machete.
7. A challenging double event: rainbow-spotting while camping.
8. Sunrise watching. Even the teenagers will get up early for this one!
9. Fruit identifying. Breadfruit? Soursop? Relenia? Jackfruit? Who knows?
10. Mosquito repelling. We practice this event even in our sleep.
11. Scenery gazing. In this event, everyone wins.
12. Hot lava poking. This event depends on the mood of Pele, goddess of the volcano.
13. Hammock lounging. Needless to say, this one's my personal best.
As you can imagine, I plan to train hard for many of these events during our time here, although I may leave the fire dancing to the experts.
Aloha from the Punaverse,