Interesting People, Interesting Conversations

Kailua-Kona, Travel
D The Driver, serving Hawaii Island

What does an Admiral of a British Royal Navy submarine, a South Korean car engineer, a billion-dollar real estate broker, and major recording artist have in common?   Me!  They have all rode with me (Not all at the same time. Although that would be interesting. Lol), while visiting the Kona-Kohala Coast! Lol.  I enjoy engaging in conversations with interesting people.  And to get paid while doing so is frosting on the cake.

Kailua-Kona transportation
Photo by Joel Collins.

It’s not lost on me that there are some people, at times, that are not interested in speaking during our 20-35 minute commute.  Whether they need to send emails, texts, or just catch a quick nap, it is incumbent on me, to identify those times and keep quiet.  But for the most part, people ARE interested in engaging.

I’m not a star-struck individual.  I believe people are people.     However, I am fascinated by all people.  Each of us has a journey, and each path is unique.  It’s these paths, and how we process the experiences, that differentiates our perspectives. Music and movie celebrities are interesting to me but no more interesting than any individual that has distinguished themselves in their respective field.  I guess I’m just curious about how different folks are navigating their life experience.  Each person that enters my vehicle is the sum total of their journey, thus far.  The work they choose, the way they view various events taking place in the world.  I feel enriched when people share their stories and perspectives.

Last week I had the honor of transporting a noted liver specialist.  “There are five major organs in the human body, how did you reach the decision to specialize in the liver?”  I asked the good Dr.  He lit up in his response.  Speaking of all the wonderful functions of the liver. From filtering toxins from our blood to the storage of vitamins “It’s a fascinating organ!”, he expressed.  Although he would not be as known as an entertainer or professional athlete, he and other professionals have reached a level of success that would make them “rock stars” in their respective industries.  I’m interested in everyone, but I know, generally, people want to know about “high profile” figures.

Have I driven celebrities? Yes. Do I broadcast who has ridden with me? No.
From time to time people ask me “What celebrities have I driven?”  I always answer “Everyone that rides with me are V.I.P!”.



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Lava Lava!

Yesterday, I transported two fun groups to the Hamakua Coast.  One young lady asked me some questions about the distinction between the two lava types and why do they form so differently…  She gave me the idea for this weeks blog 😀

When exiting the Ellison Onizuka Kona International  Airport At Keahole, heading North, you’ll see amazing fields of black and brown lava rock. These rocks are the result of the two main types of lava flows;  Pāhoehoe  (pronounced ‘paw-hoey-hoey”) and A’a  (pronounced “ah-ah”).

Both names are from the Hawai’ian language (they have no meaning other than the lava types) and adopted by the scientific community as the “official” names of these lava flows and their molten rock.

To me, Pāhoehoe looks like a pan of brownies that have stayed in the oven a little too long.  With cracks and crevices atop of a smooth or “ropy” surface.  A’a  (pronounced “ah-ah”) looks like taco meat crumbles. Typically brown or reddish-brown in color, A’a is much rougher in comparison to Pāhoehoe.

Lava Rock
Pahoehoe lava field

 Pahoehoe forms when lava flows more slowly. Under these circumstances, a well-developed skin can form which inhibits heat loss. When a tear in the skin does form, it is readily healed.

Pāhoehoe Lava in Hawai'i
Pāhoehoe’s Distinctive “Rope-Like” Patterns Being formed.

A’a forms when lava flows rapidly. When this happens, the heat escapes quickly resulting in an increase in viscosity. When the surface crust breaks by differential flow, the lava that is below is unable to move fast enough to seal the break. The crust then forms chunks.

A'a lava
The surface of the A’a flow consists of free chunks of very angular pieces of lava
a'a lava
Step on a’a barefoot, and you’re to remember its name. Lol

It’s all about the flow dynamics that will determine the type of lava that will form.  Think: slow-flowing lava= Pāhoehoe, and for quick-lava= A’a.

There is a third type of flow that takes place on the ocean floor.  It’s called Pillow Lava due to the pillow like shape that forms from cooling off so quickly underwater.

Lava on the ocean floor
Pillow Lava on The Ocean Floor

If you catch a ride with me from the airport, ask me to point out the different lava rocks.  Unfortunately, without scuba gear, I’ll be unable to show you the Pillow Lava:)

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Your Ride from The Kona Airport.

Kona International Airport Taxi
Your trusted ride from the Kona International Airport.

So your flight just landed, and you make your way off the plane and out into the open air terminal.  Beautiful Kona sunshine warms your face.  “Aloha!  Welcome to Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (I know. It’s a mouth full.)!”   After you locate and secure your luggage, you’ll make your way to the curb to meet your ride.  If you don’t have a family member or friend picking you up, perhaps you would like to rent a vehicle.  Cross the street to the center island.  You can catch a shuttle bus that will bring you to any of the major rental car agencies.  Housed just a couple of minutes up the road,  you’ll find companies such as Budget and Enterprise.  If you’re not getting picked up, and you are not interested in renting a car, then a taxi ride to your destination is your best option.

“Where do I catch a taxi cab?”, you may ask.  Outside of  baggage carousel B2, on the Hawaiian Air and Delta arrivals side, you should see a person holding a sign that reads “Taxi” or “Taxi Dispatch”.  Approach that man or woman, and let them know that you’re in need of a taxi.  They will, in turn, radio in to the network of mixed independent taxis that are standing by.  This is a good quick transportation solution.  For those of you that like to have things in place before you arrive, prearranged transportation is the way to go!

When you book your transportation, with D The Driver, I, or another driver, will be waiting for you when you emerge from the gate. We will have a sign that has your name on it!  With our six-passenger van, the fare will be the standard taxi rate (Initial $3.00 and $.40 per 1/8 mi).  If you need a luxury sedan or SUV, you can state that in your booking details (see those rates here*), and we will take care of you!  So go ahead and book your ride today!

*Subject to Availability


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The New Name of Kona’s Airport.

KOA's New Sign
Kona International Airport is now ELLISON ONIZUKA Kona International Airport at Keahole.

Upon entering the Kona International Airport (KOA), you’ll notice an addition to the signage.  It now reads Ellison Onizuka Kona International  Airport At Keahole.

I had no idea who Ellison Onizuka is/was and why his name now appears  on the airport’s entrance.  “Who is Ellison Onizuka?” a few of my taxi guests have asked me.  “I don’t know.  They recently placed the name on the sign.”, I would reply.  Being that I am one of the first individuals that visitors interact with, upon arrival, I felt compelled to find out the answer.  After a quick Google search, his photo popped up in the almost 70,000 search results.  I realized I WAS familiar with who Ellison Onizuka is.  I knew his face.  I knew of his service as one of the seven members of the tragic Space Shuttle Challenger.  What I did not know was his name or his background.

Ellison Shoji Onizuka was an American pilot turned astronaut, of Japanese descent.  He was also one of Kona’s own!  From Kealakekua, Onizuka, recognized as the first person of Japanese Ancestry to visit space- Space Shuttle Discovery on January 24, 1985.

ESO in space

On January 28, 1986, along with six other crew members, Ellison Onizuka was on the Space Shuttle Challenger.  To the horror of the millions of TV viewers, and NASA launch personnel, The craft exploded on take off.

Challenger crew
The Crew Members Of The Space Shuttle Challenger.

Although the sign was recently modified, to reflect the name change, Governor Ige made the dedication official, by signing it into law on July 12th, 2016- with the effective date of January 1st of 2017. 

So…  The Kona International Airport is now  Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole!  What a great way to honor the Big Island Man that has, not only dedicated his life, but gave his life to space exploration and discovery!

Ellison Shoji Onizuka, American Astronaut
Ellison Shoji Onizuka, 鬼塚 承次 Onizuka Shōji, June 24, 1946 – January 28, 1986

Book your Kona Airport taxi cab with D The Driver, today!

IRONMAN 2017 Descends on Kona-Kohala!

Kailua-Kona and the Kohala Coast is all a buzz!

Up and down the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway, you’ll see cyclists preparing for this Saturday’s (October 14th) big event- The IRONMAN 2017 World Championship!

Ironman 2017 prep
Cyclists preparing for this Saturday’s 2017 IRONMAN Championship.

Approximately 2000 individuals will be here to take part in this year’s competition.  Hat’s off to each one of these athletes!  I’m fascinated by the intestinal fortitude and courage it takes to participate in such grueling challenge.  No, the IRONMAN competition is not for the weekend runner.  This is for world-class athletes!  These people, from all over the world, have agreed to push their bodies to the limits of their capacity- physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Not only are they going to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles, but do it all under the sweltering Kona sun!  Whether you come in 1st or 2000th place, you are all champions, in my book.

So…  To all you brave men and women, participating in IRONMAN 2017, I raise my beer to you!  When it’s all said and done, and your legs are wobbly, and you find yourself in need of a taxi-cab back to the Kona International Airport, to return to your respective homes, feel free to give me a call.   Call D The Driver if you need a Kona Taxi ride to or from the Kona International Airport!

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