We, like many people in Hilo, have been recovering from the very fun but extremely exhasting week of Merrie Monarch. Though the event is over, the town has remained busy with numerous cruise ship arrivals. One day two ships arrived; the Walmart parking lot was filled with cruise visitors taking the free bus to the store. Walmart is one of the dullest ways to spend time and money in Hilo.
MERRIE MONARCH PARADE
The Merrie Monarch parade is a well attended event in Hilo. After weeks of rain, it was wonderful to have a perfect sunny day for the parade. The parade photos and a video are here.
FRIDAY HULA AT 'IMILOA ASTRONOMY CENTER
'Imiloa Astronomy Center had a large crowd for their last day of Merrie Monarch activities. Ikebana by Katsuyo Iwase of the Shogetsudoh-Koryu School was on display in the lobby.
The crowd filled the room to watch the hula by Hälau o ke `A`ali`i Ku Makani.
MERRIE MONARCH HAPPENINGS AT 'IMILOA
There were so many events going on in Hilo this week, try as we might, we could not get to them all. The Ho'ike last night slowed us down today. But we made it to 'Imiloa Astronomy Center to see some of their events. They have been attracting a lot of visitors to their free music, dance, and culture events.
Owners of Kealopiko Designs in Honolulu, Jamie and Hina, talk about their Hawaiian inspired clothing.
Models showed off their clothing to the crowd.
WEDNESDAY DURING MERRIE MONARCH
Today was the Ho'ike at the Edith Kanaka'ole Multipurpose Stadium in Hilo. This year we were got in line at 3:15AM, 3 hours before the show, to make sure we got into the auditorium before the start of the program and got a decent seat. Though it was raining, there was an incredibly long line of eager people waiting to see the show.
Farmer's market in Hilo was busy this Saturday morning.
The burdock is huge. In Hilo it is usually referred to as gobo (牛蒡), its Japanese name.
The durian is in season now. Ah the smell. :)
There is always something delicious to buy at the market.
DR. WEST ASTROTALK
Dr. Michael West spoke at an Astrotalk, held at UHH, about the status of the telescopes in Chile. Dr. West is the Head of Science in Chile for ESO (European Southern Observatory). Paranal, run by ESO, has four 8-milimeter optical telescopes in the Atacama desert. Its recent major discovery was a super black hole in the middle of the Milky Way. Paranal was also the headquarters for the evil villain in the last James Bond movie. ESO's La Silla consists of 18 telescopes, the first built in 1969. The scopes will be decommissioned in 2010 leaving the world's largest telescope graveyard. Another interesting piece of information from the talk was finding out that ESO and other observatories give 10% of their observing time to Chilean astronomers (similar to the Mauna Kea set up with UH astronomers) and they give significant financial support to Chile, about $1M per major scope per year (Hawaii gets $1/year per telescope - a sad situation) and they provide substantial support to local astronomy groups and universities.
It sure would make a huge difference to Hilo and the Big Island if the funders of the 7 observatories with telescopes up on Mauna Kea gave financial support to the County like they do in Chile. It would likely greatly impact community support for the telescopes and proposed TMT (Thirty Millimeter Telescope) that are controversial issues on the Big Island.
AHI IN HILO
The fishermen hit the mother lode of Ahi today in Hilo. At $3 a pound (not cleaned) - the just caught fish are an amazing deal.
If you want it cleaned and cut up into steaks, it is a bit more pricey.
Ono is also in season - and it tastes fabulous.
APRIL is MERRIE MONARCH MONTH IN HILO
We are excited about the upcoming Merrie Monarch and plan to attend as many of the events as possible. Here is the schedule.