Ella & The Hylocereus Undatus


Ella and I were on our way to breakfast.  We had dropped Amoeba off at work and were looking for a little local diner, not a tourist spot.  We headed off the beach strip and up into the hills.  The road was twisty and dense vegetation packed either side, but every other curve or so there was a pull-out and I caught glimpses of a shopping center on the ridge above us.   Just as I turned the last corner, Ella yelled for me to stop.

She was hopping all over the car, pointing out the window and jabbering a mile a minute.  I thought for certain she’d seen a dead body along side the road.  I wondered if I should call 911.  I pulled over and Ella shot out of the car and ran down the road as fast as her fat little elephant legs could move her.  I followed.

I am so glad I had enough sense to grab my camera.  Hylocereus Undatus is generally only seen at night.  Like a vampire, it cannot stand the light of day and withers away when sunlight hits it.

Hylocereus undatus

Thanks to the dense vegetation on either side of the road, the sun had barely made it to this patch, but this flower is already closing up.

Hylocereus undatus

Most of the flowers had 3 or 4 bees in them frantically working to gather the pollen before the blossom closed and wilted away.

Ella & Hylocereus undatus

I got Ella to pause here so I could take a picture of her, but for the most part she was climbing through the prickly cactus like she was on a mission. I asked her what she was looking for.

“Dragon fruit!” She told me. “This is the kind of cactus that produces Dragon fruit.”

Then we both looked, but we didn’t find any. Later I asked Amoeba about it. He said the chances of the Hylocereus undatus creating fruit were slim because there weren’t many fruit bats on Kona to pollinate the plants. I told him the plants were full of bees and asked why they couldn’t do the job.

Hylocereus undatus

Amoeba explained that the pollen is actually too far away from the stamen, which the bees never go near because they have no reason to. If Ella and I had known that, we probably would have hung out on the mountainside caressing flowers and tickling stamens — and I likely would have gotten stung for my trouble. Since I am allergic, it is probably best we didn’t know.

Please Don’t Eat the Orchids!


Of course when the plane landed in Kona the very first thing I did was retrieve Ella from baggage. She was quite refreshed after her nap and didn’t complain too much about the Macadamia Nut Pancakes she could smell all the way from first class.

From the airport we went immediately to collect our rental car.

Orange Mobile

Ella loved the orange color (trust me, it was orange, orange, much brighter than this picture shows). She thought it would be easy to spot in parking lots. However, since 3 different rental agencies bought fleets of the darn things, no matter where we went there was always at least one other identical car. In fact at one point, I deliberately parked between two of them. I do so wish it had occurred to me to snap that pic.

Once in our room, Ella went straight to the balcony. She had to see the view, then she had to have her picture taken for Melli.

Ella View

If you are at all concerned about the fact that I allowed Ella to sit unassisted on a 7th floor balcony, please rest assured that even though you can’t see it, there is a very big flower box behind her. She was in no danger of visiting the lobby head first.

After unpacking and checking out the amenities — no sleep number bed, Ella was sad — we headed for the lobby. We thought we’d explore a bit and see if we couldn’t find some eats.

Ella spotted a sign that got her all excited. She climbed atop it and was chattering a mile a minute. I thought for sure she wanted alcohol and told her no way. She got quite miffed and said she didn’t want the drink. She wanted a little pink umbrella to match her outfit.

Ella Umbrella

The bartender gave her a little pink umbrella and Ella was very gracious, but I could tell she was disappointed. I asked her what was the matter. She said she thought the umbrella would be bigger so she could use it for beach shade.  Even though it wasn’t what she wanted, I am glad she got the umbrella though. It helped us make our Punny Monday.

Since out Macadamia Nut Pancakes had long since worn off, Amoeba and I were quite hungry. We asked Ella what she had in mind for lunch and of course, since she is an elephant, she yelled, “Salad!” Then she hopped down from the sign, scrambled across the lanai, and climbed up on an occasional table in the lobby. It is astounding how fast that little elephant can move.

Ella Orchids

I had a heck of a time convincing her that this wasn’t a gourmet tropical salad, but was instead a center piece for looking at only. She thought that was a horrific waste of perfectly good food.

Finally we convinced her to walk down the block with us to an ocean-side cafe. We sat beneath a big umbrella in beach chairs on the sand and ordered our lunch from a swimsuit-clad waitress. Amoeba and I had Kalua pork. Ella had a tropical fruit salad and a goodly portion of my french fries.

There & Back Again


Our vacation didn’t start with a mysterious visit from a Wizard or a bunch of dwarfs popping in for lunch and breaking the crockery, but even so it was quite an adventure. How could it not be with Ella along?  We checked in at the Kenmore Air reservation desk in the Friday Harbor Airport.  Ella, of course, had to climb right up on the counter and get her picture taken.  She is one elephant that is mostly ham.

Ella at desk

After taking her photo I hustled Ella to the restroom.  The flight between Friday Harbor and Seattle is quick, but I knew Ella would be excited.  I didn’t want any elephant accidents on the airplane!  Then we hustled right out and climbed aboard.  Keeping up with an excited Ella can be a task, so I didn’t have chance to get a picture of our plane or catch the pilot’s name.  Happily, Ella got her own seat so I was free to snap a couple of in-flight pics.

View from plane

As you can see it was a beautiful day and Mt. Baker was out in all her glory. Ella appropriately ohhh-ed and awww-ed over the scenery (and so did we). This photo was taken when we were above the town of Friday Harbor right after take-off and before the pilot banked the plane and headed for Seattle.

Space Needle

Ella got really excited when she saw the Space Needle.  She knew that Thom, Susan, & the kids visited there when they were here in July, so naturally she wanted to visit it, too.  She was very disappointed to find out that there just wasn’t time.  We had a plane to catch to Hawaii.  Reminding her we were going to Kona did help take her mind off of Seattle.

Once in the airport hotel Ella found something else to keep her occupied.  The Radisson Hotel has Sleep Number beds.

Radisson bed

Amoeba and I prefer firm beds and are content with 100, but Ella likes sleeping on fluff and wanted a one.  After some arguing, Amoeba and I got both sides of the bed — set on 100 — and Ella slept on a pillow in the armchair.  Ella said she is going to report us to the ASPCSA (American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Stuffed Animals).

Seattle’s SeaTac Airport is huge and Ella complained about all the walking we had to do.  I don’t know why since I was carrying her.  I was the one wearing new slippers (flip-flops to those unfamiliar with Hawaiian lingo).  I developed a blister under the second toe of my right foot.  Then we got to baggage check-in.  Ella just about flipped when she realized that she was flying with the luggage and we were going first class.  She bellowed that it was totally unfair of us not to buy her a first class ticket, too and again threatened to call the ASPCSA.  I suggested that she get a job and pay her own way to Hawaii, and she quietly climbed into the suitcase without further complaint.

Our time in Hawaii was quite fun and we have many more adventures to share over the coming week, however as the title of this post suggests, I am also using this space to tell you about the flight home.  We left Hawaii at 1 p.m. Hawaiian time and arrived in Seattle at 10 p.m. Pacific Time.  The plane was crowded and there were no incredibly inexpensive upgrades offered, so we flew steerage coach.  The dry cookies and warm water offered us in coach was a far cry from the Macadamia Nut pancakes and Mai Tais we’d been served in first class on the way to Hawaii.  Ella was probably more comfortable in the suitcase.

Once back in Seattle we spent another night at the Radisson.  Before retiring Ella and I enjoyed a wonderful artichoke, pine nut and feta cheese salad while Amoeba munched on halibut fish & chips.  Then we went to bed because we had to be up and on the shuttle to the airport at 6:00 a.m. flight to catch the Kenmore Shuttle to Boeing Field and then our 7:30 a.m. flight home.  And, since we were acclimated to Hawaii time, all this was beginning at what our bodies thought was 3 a.m.  This time we got no complaints from Ella who wanted to stay nice and snugly asleep in the suitcase.

Seattle was gray and murky, so we weren’t terribly surprised to hear our flight would be delayed a bit due to fog.  Friday Harbor was socked in and the pilot wouldn’t be able to see to land the plane.  Simply because we were tired and wanted to return home, the fog didn’t lift until noon.  We finally got home about 1 p.m.

I wanted to go to the grocery store and pick up something for lunch, but Amoeba took me to our favorite fish & chips restaurant here in town — except we both ordered soup.  I was hungry, but I was also overly tired and cold and I didn’t want to have to contend with rich foods. When we finally arrived home we were greeted by the chirping of the smoke detector — if you recall our last post about the darn thing, it is on the 20 foot ceiling.  Amoeba got a ladder from the basement and climbed up only to discover that neither of us had any idea how the #@$%^! thing worked.  We called the landlords.  Happily, they came right over — new battery in hand — and showed us how to change the batteries.  It is stupid-complicated and needs to be taken totally apart (4 pieces) then reassembled.

Once the smoke detector was silenced, Amoeba — who slept at the Kenmore Airport — went off to work.  I went to bed and slept for 3.5 hours.  Ella is currently busily planning all of our posts this week before she heads off on her next adventure.  Her next victim hostess will be Amoeba’s sister-in-law, Nancy, who you know as Tilden of  Tilden Talks.

Ella Went Missing!

I woke up this morning and Ella was gone.  Boy was I scared!  I had no idea she could get out of our hotel room by herself, but she is a resourceful elephant.  I found a chair near the door.  She must have used it to get to the door knob.

A glance at the clock told me it was 6:30 a.m.  I figured Ella had gone to the lanai to see if there were dolphins.  I tossed on my clothes and charged out of the room.  I was a bit panicked.  I didn’t know if I should worry about somebody kidnapping Ella, or if I should worry more over what kind of havoc she could wreak on the poor unsuspecting hotel staff.

I charged from the elevator to the lanai — practically knocking over a half-dozen tourists and a couple of the hotel staff in my attempt to save them from Ella.  Imagine my shock and fear when she was no where in site.  This is a huge resort complex — and was she even still on the grounds?  How was I ever going to find her?  Bellowing, “Ella” at the top of my lungs at 6:30 a.m. didn’t seem like a really good idea.  Besides, she rarely comes when she’s called.

About that time one of the girls from the front desk approached me and asked if I was looking for my elephant friend.  Then she lead me to the Koi pond where I found Ella watching the fish.  She said if she couldn’t have dolphins, Koi would just have to do.

We will be flying home today. We land in Seattle very late tonight and will be spending a few short hours in an airport hotel before we catch our Kenmore flight back home. Ella and I have lots of vacation pics to share with you, but we think we’ll parse them out through next week. Be seeing you soon!

Ella is Sad

Our very first morning here a nice tourist man greeted Ella and I as we went down to breakfast.  He said to us, “Good morning.  You just missed the dolphins.  They are in the harbor every morning about 6:30 a.m., you should try to get here a little earlier.”

Of course you know Ella was downstairs at 5:45 a.m. the next morning waiting for the dolphins.   She climbed in a deck stair on the lanai and searched the far horizon for any sign of their approach.

Ella just couldn’t sit still. The thought of seeing dolphins was much too exciting and she just had to move, so she hopped out of the chair and jumped onto the breakfast table instead.

I knew she’d insisted on going down way too early, but once she’s decided to do something, there is no stopping her. We waited until after 7:00 a.m. Toward the end, Ella did move to a more comfy seat.

The dolphins never returned. Ella was so excited, and — because she does everything in such extremes — she is horribly sad.  I am afraid that all she is going to remember of this trip was the day she didn’t see the dolphins.