Ocean View Salon


This post is completely out of character for my blog, but it does tell you of one of our local businesses. About two years ago, I treated myself to a pedicure for the first time ever in my life! I always thought I had ugly toes and feet (I still worry about that), but I discovered that a good pedicure can do wonders! My ugly toes are gone forever! (Oops! See addendum below.)

Christie Gibson is well known beyond Ocean View for her unique designs and results. Check out her website to read more about her, to see photos of unique nails, articles by and about Christie, and much more. Click on the picture of the salon group on her website to see the entire staff.

If you enlarge that photo, Charlie (the one with the red streak in her hair) is the one who always does my pedicures. And Charlie learned from Christie, the very best. It’s fun to know that our little community of Ocean View is home to so much fame. Here is Christie at work on a customer.


There are so many colors and designs to choose from, even for the lowly toe!


The earrings are made by Marty, and I have bought several pair of the big ones, of course.


Here is a little photo story of my pedicure last week. While I relax in a vibrating massage chair, my tired feet get a good soaking. Gardening in lava is hard on feet!


Pictures cannot describe the delight of having your calluses sanded, followed by a lower leg massage. I got Charlie to stop concentrating on her work long enough to take her picture.


After nails and cuticles are trimmed, the painting process begins.


The color coat is brushed on in two layers. There were other things brushed on, too, but I’m not sure what they were for – perhaps to make sure the paint stayed on longer?


I usually get something in blues or purple, sometimes even green. This was the first time I opted for cherry red. I decided on little white footprints for my “nail art” this time. In the spring, I had tulips. You can see the footprints in the opening photo as one of many choices. Charlie is carefully painting them onto my big toes.


At last, here’s the finished product, waiting to dry before I head home.


As I left, I took a shot of the length of the salon from the front door. You’ll find this shop tucked in the strip of shops on the mauka (mountain) side of Ocean View, near Ace Hardware.


It’s a friendly, professional, and neighborly place to spend an hour or so. I try to get a pedicure with a new and different paint job every couple of months as a special treat for myself. I highly recommend it for anyone! This isn’t a salon for “women only,” by the way. Men come here for haircuts or for a pedicure to ease their tired and sore feet, also.

A hui hou!

Addendum: Two days after I had this pedicure, I stubbed my right toe and ripped the entire beautiful toenail right off! OUCH! It is wrapped in a bandaid now, while I’m hobbling around, wondering if I should see a podiatrist. All that fun with Charlie for naught!


Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Road Sights


The theme for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is “looking.” So I am always on the lookout for sights along our Hawaii roads that might not be typical in other parts of the world. The sight above is fairly normal on the Big Island – driving into the vog, sulfuric air resulting from our volcano.

As we drive into the area of Kilauea, the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, you can see the steam vents alongside the road.


Then take a look at this load of outriggers I was following not long ago. I think this is what they call a “wide load!”


A hui hou!

El Pachuco


When I lived in Tucson, I had a friend who was dating a Mexican girl. He went to her family’s home for Thanksgiving dinner where they had a turkey and all the trimmings that we’ve come to expect in the USA. In the middle of the table, however, was an enormous bowl of refried beans upstaging the turkey. As American as they thought they were, they still had to have their refried beans.

So instead of writing about a more traditional Thanksgiving meal, I thought it would be fun to I talk about one of my favorite places to eat at any time, including Thanksgiving.

If you are a visitor driving around the island, please stop at Evie’s El Pachuco for some wonderful Mexican food. You’ll find it on the corner of Tiki Lane and Highway 11. Watch for it on your left as you drive through Ocean View going from the Kona side to Hilo. They are open from 11 in the morning to 6 in the evening, Wednesday through Sunday. Tamales are available on the weekends only.


Here is a copy of her menu so you’ll know what to expect. There are also weekly specials that are not on the menu. She promised to make a mole soon.


Evie was just delivering two plates of chicken enchiladas with rice and beans to two customers when I walked in. I restrained myself from grabbing one of the plates.


Back in the kitchen, her husband, Jimi, let me take pictures of the food in the hot serving pans – chicken, pork, rice, beans. He was making an extra batch of beans because they were about to run out. He’s the strong arm around the place.


A little background on Evie and Jimi Gonzales: Jimi was originally a welder shipfitter/pipefitter building commercial fishing boats. Evie was a bookkeeper. In the 70s, Jimi bought an acre in Hawai`i Ocean View Estates (HOVE) with $50 down. They continued to work in California while they paid it off. Then during vacations, he began to build.

Like many HOVE residents, Evie and Jimi eventually moved to Hawai`i to get away from the air pollution in California and to provide a better environment in which to raise their young son (now a DJ on Oahu).

At first their new home was a simple shell with no walls, but it did have an outdoor shower and outdoor toilet. Using the talents of his trade, Jimi built an outdoor cooking area similar to a barbecue pit where Evie made their meals over a fire – including even baking cakes!

About 7 years ago, Evie brought her mother back from Arizona to live with them. She also brought back a thirty-pound block of masa, planning to use it a little bit at a time. When she got it to Hawai`i, it was frozen solid. She had to do something with all that masa, so she made a big bunch of tamales, sat on the side of the road on the back of her van to sell them. Within a couple hours, she had sold them all, and decided that might be a good way to make a little money.

The kind of masa Evie needed wasn’t available here so she started buying small bags of maseca to keep the tamales rolling. She found a distributor and now buys maseca for tamales made of white corn in fifty-pound bags.

I first met Evie when she catered for a Leadership Conference I attended a few years ago. It was some of the best food I’d tasted since I left Tucson – and I knew Ocean View had a gem. But I didn’t know where to get more of her food.

Then I discovered her again one day on my way to our Ace Hardware here in what many residents call “The View.” She was parked alongside the road, selling tamales and more out of her van. For several years, I would buy Evie’s tamales on my way to pick up those items a homeowner can’t live without.

Then she moved down to the parking area of Ka’u Outpost on the highway, just down the road from my house. Almost every day when I drove home from teaching, I saw her sitting patiently on the back of her van. If I had stopped to pick up something every time she was there, I wouldn’t have been able to get in the front door of my house! But I did stop as often as I dared.


They have now found an indoor home in one section of the Ka’u Outpost, with little tables where you can eat or wait for take-out. If you’re lucky, she may have some freshly baked brownies or other baked treats to tempt you, as well.


I started this post to help spread the word about this special little Mexican restaurant, but didn’t realize I’d get drawn into such an intriguing history lesson. When I asked “What does Pachuco mean?” I was taken to an entirely new adventure. Evie said “It’s the description of a certain kind of person,” and began to tell this story.

In the 30s and 40s, young Mexican-Americans formed their own subculture and were called “Pachucos,” or “Chukes.” I had no idea they were the original zoot suiters. For great pictures and an interesting commentary on this era, check out this article. Also, I recommend that you turn up your speakers and go to this site to get a flavor of the zoot suiter. I’m old enough to remember guys wearing the zoot suit! There was no zoot suit for Jimi today!


Jimi came from Chavez Ravine, which is now the site of the Dodgers Stadium. Originally, this area of Los Angeles was the home of Mexican-American families tending their small farms. In the early 50s, L.A. declared eminent domain over the land and the home owners were offered a paltry sum of money for their properties.

The next ten years were violent ones as the owners resisted being ousted to make way for the Stadium. The unfortunate and sad story can be found here. There is a reunion of the Pachucos from Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles every July.

The story of Chavez Ravine and the Pachucos come together because Jimi’s father and Evie’s father were both Pachucos. The logo for El Pachuco, our very own authentic Mexican restaurant, shows a “Day of the Dead” (“Día de los Muertos”) character in a Pachuco stance, wearing an aloha shirt and khaki shorts. I love it!


To read a recent account of the situation at Chavez Ravine, read this article.

A side story: Jimi was cooking in the kitchen as I sat at one of the little tables talking with Evie. I had placed my purse on the floor near a door in the kitchen, but Jimi came running in to say I should get my purse up off the floor immediately! He said that if you set your purse on the floor, all the money will run out of it and you’ll always be broke. This site gives a more complete answer to that saying. It’s a sign of respect for your hard-earned money not to put your purse on a dirty floor. I don’t think my purse would ever get dirty on the floor of Evie’s and Jimi’s kitchen!


A hui hou!

Black & White Night in Hilo

On November 6, 2009, Hilo held its 9th Annual Black & White celebration. My natural tendency is to avoid events like this. I much prefer to stay home and write or work in my garden. A colleague at the college convinced me that I needed to get out more. Being the “loner” I am, I begrudgingly agreed.

I’m so glad I went! Not only did it give me some good blogging material, but I actually had a good time!

She made reservations at Uncle Billy’s Hotel for us to stay over that night, rather than drive back to our homes several hours away. The hotel receptionist graciously agreed to use my camera to take these photos of the four gals. The background is the patio area of Uncle Billy’s Hotel.


While this picture was being made, 87 year-old Uncle Billy himself wandered by. When I first moved to the Big Island thirteen years ago, I often saw him on his bicycle cruising the main drag of Kona. You might enjoy reading this article about the award he received a couple years ago and learn a little more about Uncle Billy (William J. Kimi Jr).

On our way to start the evening with supper, we came across a panda person running down the street, a black and white dog, and a barker dressed in her black and white. Everyone was dressed in black and white – some fancy costuming and some rather plain, but fitting into the black and white theme.


We met a fifth friend at Puka Puka Kitchen, a little hole in the wall with outstanding food! I can hardly wait to go back. Each of us chose something different.


My plate was a falafel pita and like a pig, I could have eaten two plates of it! What a pleasure!


I tried to get a picture of the menu, but the flash kept getting in the way.


But I did manage to get a good shot out the door toward the street and ocean.


While we were there, I asked someone to take a picture of the newly formed “Black Hat Society” ladies. Need I tell you we attracted quite a lot of attention? (giggling) I’m the one on your left, in case you couldn’t tell.


All the stores were open, and most offered some sort of pupu (snack). We wandered in and out, enjoying the merchandise and art work. Here the fifth addition to our foursome is examining these beautiful hand-woven baskets.


Here are just a few of the paintings on display (and for sale).


There were dresses . . .


. . . shorts and more made from rice bags. . .


. . . and hand-painted shopping bags. . .


. . . and novelty items like coasters made to resemble “slippahs” . . .


. . . and lei scarves hand-painted by Maya . . .


. . . and turtle sculptures.


You could buy any kind of produce . . .


. . . and plenty of other homemade goodies that were for sale.


My favorite of all the attractions was the number of street musicians everywhere.


Believe it or not, this introvert intends to go back again next year! Maybe I’ll see you there? In the meantime, if you’d like to see all these pictures individually, plus others that didn’t make it to the post, check out this slideshow.

To see it in full size, click here .

A hui hou!

The Southernmost Market in the USA

The image people seem to have of Hawai`i is one of luxurious living that is mostly out of the reach of most mainlanders – not just to buy a home, but to even visit for a short vacation.

The truth is that much of Hawai`i would be considered more like a third world state by some standards. I remember asking my brother about getting something printed. He nonchalantly said, “Just take it down to Kinko’s.” When I said we have no Kinko’s, he was in utter shock.

What?? No Kinko’s?

It may come as a surprise to many of our friends on the mainland and in other parts of the world that until recently, we had no Borders, no Costco, no Kmart (and more). I hear we will be getting a Target sometime next year! There are new stop lights where none existed ten years ago. Many dirt roads are just now getting paved

When I was a pastor in Pahala and Na`alehu, two plantation villages near my present home, I invited a work team of students from a mainland university to come during Spring Break. They had no idea what they were running into, and people in their home towns scoffed at the notion of these students doing volunteer work for needy people in Hawai`i. Most thought they were coming over here to surf and have fun. A group of changed students carried a different message back home at the end of their week.

Things are different down in our isolated district of Ka’u (two syllables – Kah-oo). The area of Ka’u is larger than the county (island) of Oahu, and much of it is lava, just like my acre. Many people live “off the grid,” and have no electricity or phone service. I have already written about the need for living on catchment, which means catching our own rain water. That’s not an economic necessity, but just the way it is in this part of the island.

As a result, “buying locally” isn’t simply a trendy thing to do here. For us here it is another of those necessities. Take a walk with me down the paths between vendors and see what you can buy.

I don’t grow corn, but others bring corn to the market – so beautiful and delicious! I am eating one right now, as I write this blog. Don’t mind the butter dripping on your screen.

Albert and Lily Ledergerber have a stand here several times a month, but not this week. He came to do their week’s groceries, however, and he showed me the fresh corn

Another friend (Lorie Obra) grows, picks, processes and roasts her own coffee from her estate. Personally, I think that Ka’u grown coffee is much richer and more consistent than Kona coffee, but don’t tell anyone I said that.

The first stop I make at the market is to Lorie’s stand for a cup to sip while I do my shopping for the week’s vegetables and fruits. She always bakes some sort of pastry to accompany it.

The seasons vary but some things are available year-round.

You can buy local honey, Japanese eggplant, several varieties of lettuce, fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, homemade breads, local mac nuts (macadamia), and so much more.

One loaf of whole wheat bread was over $6.00 at one of the chain groceries in Kona this past week. Is it any wonder most of us either buy from “the breadman” or make our own?

I doubt if there are too many of these being sold in the mainland markets – Artocarpus heterophyllus. We call this “jackfruit.” They can get bigger than this, but here you can compare the fruit to the basket. Be sure to click on the link to see what it looks like inside.

There are too many good things to get pictures of them all. Eventually, I will feature more of the individual vendors. Today is just an overview

I do a lot of wishful thinking around the plants that are for sale

Artisans bring handmade garments, gourds and more

The jewelry here was all created by one woman. I plan to do a feature on her soon. She has made some of the most beautiful jewelery I’ve ever coveted. This shot is only one small end of what she displays on her table.

You can even buy locally made soaps and scents.

Marge and Dennis Elwell of Na`alehu Main Street said this market was begun with four farmers getting together in order to sell their produce. It has gradually grown to the size it is now. Marge and Dennis proudly wear their “Ka’u Farmers’ Market” t-shirts

The Na`alehu Farmer’s Market is held on the front lot of the Ace Hardware store every Wednesday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Saturdays from 8:00 am until to noon. At certain times of the year, the buying is more skimpy, but there is nearly always something to be found.

There are other farmer’s markets on the island, and bigger ones, but none has quite the hometown cozy feel of the one in Na`alehu. If there is someone you need to talk with, you can almost count on them being there

This is an area of the Big Island that most tourists know nothing about. If you are a visitor to our island and you just happen to be driving on Highway 11 through Na`alehu in the District of Ka’u, please stop and see what the excitement is about. You will be treated to some of our local fare

Here’s summer squash, fresh from our Na`alehu Farmers’ Market. I’ll have it for supper with a warm whole wheat tortilla I just made. Join me?