Up close and personal…We saw the lava!…Local stores clearing out and closing for the upcoming arrival of the lava…Link to Tom’s Irish Cream recipe…

There’s no part 2 from yesterday’s story. We had “bigger fish to fry” today regarding the lava

This is a photo I took of a photo of when the lava crossed Apa’a Street on October 25th. See this link for the news report.
Smoke rising from the lava.

It’s hard to believe that we are in Pahoa, Hawai’i as the lava approached on its mission to reach to the sea.  Here we sit at its final destination, expecting it to arrive in our area between February and March or sooner if another eruption sends a faster flow of lava.

Signs such as this are posted everywhere.
Apa’a Street was closed for months, other than for local traffic up until yesterday morning. It’s now open all the way to the Pahoa Transfer Station, where a viewing station had been set up for the public. The lava had crossed the road as shown in our other photos here today. Previously, this road had to be secured by National Guards, preventing anyone other than homeowners from approaching. It is down this road that a house was taken out weeks ago.

Yesterday, Sarah and I headed to the Longs Drug Store, quasi mini Target, that has everything imaginable, only to discover there was nowhere to park. What was going on with dozens of cars touring the huge parking lot for a spot?

To see the red hot lava between these lava rocks only required a bit of zoom.

We had no choice but to park in the Burger King parking lot where we noticed others doing the same, walking the distance to Longs. As it turned out, the entire store was on sale, much for 90% off. 

With the viewing area opened yesterday morning and without the announcement yet on the local news, the visitors were at a minimum to the lava viewing area.  We can only imagine the crowds over the next few weeks as visitors fly into Hawai’i for the sole purpose of lava viewing. We are grateful we had the opportunity to see it before the arrival of the huge crowds. The blue tent is a security area set up by police and National Guard.

We were too late. All the goodies were in carts of anxious shoppers in lines 20 people deep with regular-sized shopping carts overflowing with nary a one for our use, while we meandered about the store, filling our arms with food and supplies we could use while our family is here over the holidays.

Sarah and Jayden walking in front of us on the long walk down Apa’a Street toward the lava viewing area at the Pahoa Transfer Station.
A portion of the viewing area at the Pahoa Transfer Station where experts and guards were on hand to answer questions and show various photos.

Of course, the reason Longs Drugs was selling out their merchandise was clear. The lava is coming. Although, the drug store is a few blocks from the Pahoa Marketplace that was also evacuating (more on that shortly), apparently the drug store is closing as well to make way for the fast-approaching lava, only days away.

A secured main power pole built up to prevent the lava from taking out the electric power for the area which could impact all of us.
Information as to how to protect the power poles from the lava flow.

Sarah and I spent no less than 90 minutes waiting in line. Fortunately, the upside was that we had the amazing opportunity to speak to locals, one couple who didn’t have to evacuate and another whose house is across the road from us here, who moved out in the past month, in preparation for the lava’s eventual arrival in this neighborhood.

Some vegetation survived along the edges of the lava flow.

The kindly gentleman, my age, retired, explained he found a place to live in a safer area and had decided to pack up everything he owned and leave his house for safety. 

A barn or garage that survived the lava flow as it crawled down the road.

He explained that most insurance companies have canceled homeowner’s policies over the past few years, leaving him and thousands of others, uninsured. He’ll get nothing for his home when it burns to the ground as the lava envelopes it in days to come. 

The swirls in the lava are interesting to see firsthand.

It was heartbreaking to hear his story, as we’ve heard others over our past almost three weeks in this forsaken area; loss of homes, job, and security. Very sad. But, the amazing attitude of these people is a treasure to behold as this kindly gentleman wanted to hear more of our story than tell his. “You are doing what?” he asked when I continued to ask him to elaborate on how he made the decision to move out sooner rather than later.

Parts of this lava that had crossed Apa’a Street in October were still hot and flowing.

When he was gone, we spoke to a lovely woman and her husband who shared their cart with us, Mee Ling and John who have lived in the islands for decades, have 10 grown children, seven of which still live with them  To earn a living, Mee Ling is referred to as “The Jamming Lady,” making exquisite homemade jellies and jams using local produce, phone 808-965-9119 and John, owns a company, Hawaii’s House of Gold who sells and distribute health products.

Peeking into this spot I saw red hot lava as shown in the above photo.

As they showed us their bargains, they offered to give us several items in their cart they’d found before we’d arrived. Of course, we refused their kind offer. They needed every item for their big family as well. While Sarah held our place in line with Mee Ling, John showed me where to find many items including pretty Christmas paper plates and napkins at $.14 a package. I grabbed all that remained.

Jayden, in front of the lava.  In years to come, he’ll look back to this experience with wonder.

We hugged goodbye when they were checked out and ready to go. Who gets to hug people in a drugstore that we just met? How lucky can I get? The 90 minutes of waiting proved to be enjoyable especially when Mee Ling and John told us the Pahoa Transfer Station had opened that morning for lava viewing.

Tom, Nik, TJ, Sarah, and Jayden in front of a lava area.

No sooner did we load our stuff into the car, Sarah and I headed back to the house to unload, get the rest of the family, and head back to the Pahoa Transfer Station cameras in hand to take photos.

Tom, his new haircut, and me, in front of the fenced-off lava area.

Today, we share these photos with many more to come over the next several weeks. We’ll make every effort to get photos of the lava after it envelopes the shops of Pahoa, the gas station, and the grocery store.

More tomorrow on the last days of the Malama Grocery store in the Pahoa Marketplace, when we spent two hours shopping yesterday afternoon engaging in their 50% off sale of groceries. Unbelievable. Long lines.  Friendly people.

This beautiful orchid was growing only feet from the lava flow.

Wow!  What a great experience for our family! They will always remember their time in Hawai’i as the lava flow from Mount Kilauea came our way. 

We began the long trek back to our car, parked at quite a distance.

Back with more tomorrow. May your Thursday be a day of accomplishment and pleasure.  We’re striving for that!
                                           Photo from one year ago today, December 18, 2013:

It was one year ago today, that we posted Tom’s Irish Cream recipe which is at the end of the post.  Please click here for the recipe at the bottom of the page.

Comments and responses Up close and personal…We saw the lava!…Local stores clearing out and closing for the upcoming arrival of the lava…Link to Tom’s Irish Cream recipe…

  1. liz Reply

    Wow what photos! I can't imagine the heat!
    Your shopping trip puts the annual Christmas food shop into perspective! I love making connections with people. It is amazing the circumstances and lasting friendships that happen in the most unexpected moments.
    I am excited to be attending a friend's wedding tomorrow followed by mundane food shopping to prepare recipes to take to my in-laws for Christmas.
    Love Liz x

  2. Jessica Reply

    Liz, it's always so wonderful to hear from you. Often, I smile when I think of your two hour train ride from Bristol to London to meet us. That will always hold a special place in our hearts. You're so right about meeting people at the most unexpected moments. With your warmth and friendly nature, I'm sure this happens for you often. It's a rare gift to possess that type of kindness and compassion.

    Have a fantastic time at the wedding tomorrow and of course, the shopping and cooking for Christmas. As I wrote in today's post, we all manage to get through the responsibilities of the holidays with the love in our hearts as the reason.

    Much love,

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