Monday, December 26 — This was our getting-acclimated, staying-local day. We drove along the long, long coastal road, Ali’i Drive that connects downtown Kona with its many many touristy restaurants and shops, to all these vacation rental complexes, and had breakfast overlooking the ocean at the Fish Hopper, took a brief stroll across the pier, and then got groceries at the local Safeway (in Hawai’i, that pretty much means not reading any price tags, but just getting what you’d normally get and expect to pay double or more–so very little is produced locally that you always have to assume that the groceries you buy have taken the same trip from the mainland you have, and at a similarly exorbitant cost). We walked out with breakfast food, and some backup for dinners and packed lunches (salad ingredients, bread, pasta) because we do get tired of restaurant food and love being a little more flexible than that. After getting ourselves set up, we took off for a long-ish (2.5 mile) walk to a beach south of us that was recommended for its swimmability–the many little public coastal access points get you to the water, but the rocks make it hard and also dangerous to get it. This beach (Magic Sand beach) was the classic white sand beach that’s a bit of a rarity on Hawai’i, but still with quite a number of rocks and those wonderful crashing waves. We splashed around (not really swimming because the surf made that difficult, and I am not experienced enough as an ocean swimmer to get past the surf and swim in the calm waters beyond it. We didn’t have bodyboards (that would have been fun, judging from the joy of many kids playing in the waves), but we did discover some in our place that we’ll throw in the car for future explorations. We walked home again after a couple of hours, now fairly hungry for some lunch, and had some lovely panini in the little coffee shop right outside of sea village. Since it’s a vacation, we hung out and napped for part of the afternoon, checked out the seawall (our friend, the owner of the rental, has a web cam that takes pictures of the area every 2 seconds, so we had fun seeing ourselves sitting on the seawall in one of his images! We took back off around dinnertime and walked the mile to downtown Kona to have a lovely dinner (fish burger with the catch of the day for me, hamburger for Mark, with very fresh veggies/fruit to go with it) and to walk through the shop-lined streets for a little bit. Not my favorite parts of traveling, but in the dark, with tacky Christmas & Hawai’i lighting and with live music and luaus as sound accompaniment emanating from every street corner, it was fun anyway. We were home around 8 pm, and I fell asleep at 8:45 to the sound of those awesome waves.