Previously: Points South (Part 1)
I was sufficiently caffeinated for the rest of the drive down the coast to South Point, the southernmost point in the United States. Once again, John Cleese had no idea where South Point was, so I simply instructed him to take us to a point on the map that was as close to South Point as I could get.
The exit from Highway 11 was clearly marked, but soon after the turn-off, the road turned from well-paved to bumpy to “are you sure this isn’t off-roading?” Down we went towards the ocean, past cows, giant windmills, more cows, driving along a one-lane road and barely seeing a single soul. John Cleese’s map showed a bunch of roads by the shore circling around each other as if in a housing development complex, so we kept our hopes up.
But there was no housing development. We stopped at the one man-made structure in the middle of the wilderness: a plaque in the middle of the grass marking the location of the “South Point Complex.” Either someone had planned on building something here (a lot of the structures — or pieces of structures, rather — looked somewhat military), or something had been built and then torn down. Either way, nobody was living here now.
According to the GPS, though, this plaque was not at the southernmost point, and we could tell with our own eyes, because we weren’t at the ocean yet. We decided to drive until we ran out of road…which happened fairly quickly, so we parked the car and started to walk to the water.
Using the GPS as a guide (John Cleese may not know where the streets and buildings are in Hawaii, but he does know where the land mass is), we walked along the cliffs to the southernmost point of the land, which was a rather unassuming beach…not really good for sunbathing, but with plenty of black lava and white coral for lava grafitti.
We left our own lava graffiti on the beach, of course, which I’m sure will wash away as soon as the tide comes in, but it made us feel good.
Since there really wasn’t much else to see, we made our way back to the car and drove 60 miles back to Kailua-Kona to find some dinner. We didn’t really know where to eat, so while we were driving, I leafed through my tourist brochures and pamphlets and suggested places to eat based on the price rating (which is completely useless in these pamphlets because they lump meals of $20 in the same category with meals of $50), location (how easy was it for John Cleese to find?), and name (did it sound like a good place to eat?).
We finally decided to eat at Bongo Ben’s. Located on Alii Drive in Kailua-Kona, it’s a part of the tourist area by the beach, but it seemed like a pretty informal place to eat, and our other comparable choices in the area were chains like Outback. We can go to Outback in NJ, so I didn’t see the point in going there in Hawaii.
They seated us in the back of the restaurant at our request, away from the highly amplified band, and I ordered my second fruity alcoholic beverage of the trip, although this one had barely any alcohol in it (I guess that’s what you get for ordering a drink in the tourist area). The food was decent — nothing exciting, but the atmosphere was fun and kitchy (a pretty girl wandered from table to table selling overpriced leis for under-romanticized couples) and we had a good time.
After dinner, we wandered around a little bit, doing a little window shopping and actual shopping until we got bored and took the long drive back to our hut in the north.
Next: Nutty Day