Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Hike in the Haleakala National Park

                                                         Us at one of the many waterfalls to the top

                                                   Walking into the beginning of the bamboo forest
                                                                     The 400 foot Waimoku Fall

Today we took a beautiful hike in the Haleakala National Park. It’s a two mile hike up a foothill of the Halekala Volcano with the destination being the 400 foot Waimoka Falls. There are so many waterfalls here in Maui, it’s easy to say, oh, look, another waterfall, but today’s was exceptional.
One of the highlights was walking through a mile of bamboo rain forest. A rain forest or jungle –what’s the difference?  We looked it up: a rainforest doesn’t have much dense growth on the ground because the trees make it too dark. A jungle grows when the trees are cleared or cut back and thick foliage grows on the ground.)  So, by this definition, it was definitely a rain forest.
            The bamboo is straight up, none being more than a baseball bat’s width and close together. We couldn’t see farther than ten feet in. And when the breeze blew, it was a hundred wind chimes above.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Not all of the fruit is found freely on the ground. For this papaya I paid 2 bucks.

We are gorging on fruit. It’s all around: avocados (I could go outside and pick up 50 if I wanted. So many just end up rotting.) limes, bananas, papayas, lilikois.
Our next house, which we move in to this weekend and which isn’t as nice as the one we’ve been staying at, does have one nice feature: more fruit. The grapefruit tree in front has more hanging grapefruits than I can count, and like most of the fruits, it doesn’t have a season. Every day is “in” season.  There are also many tangerine and coconut trees. We’re told that not all coconuts are edible. We will learn this shortly.  

Monday, December 26, 2011

This last weekend we took a trip to the other side of the island, to the town of Lahaina.  Maui is a small island, but it has such contrasts from here in Hana.
First, the land: unlike eastern Hana, which is a lush, green rainforest, the western part of Maui is dry. Although palm trees still abound, much of the plant life is like sagebrush, the mountains brown, the sun usually shining.  
But the biggest difference is the people.  Unlike Hana which is 80% native Hawaiians, Lahaina is clearly a tourist town. It reminded us of the coastal towns of Key West and Provincetown and Venice Beach, but without the blatant debauchery.

It’s a family tourist town, rife with whaling expeditions, charter fishing boats, jet ski rentals, and surfing lessons (although

the waves are not anywhere near the size of those on the north shore).  And everyone is white. We wondered if the

natives felt resentment that they had been deposed, pushed off of what had once been their piece of the beach.

The experience in Lahaina was not much different from being in the “states”, in that, it was all imported, all for show.  And we joined the show: bought our “authentic” gifts for the folks back home to give them a taste of Hawaii.
I don’t mean to sound caustic. It was, in fact, a great experience and one we enjoyed very much, but it felt good to come “home”, back to Hana, back to where it seems so much more real and true, without the consumerism, without the show.  

                       Looking across at the island of Lanai from Lahaina

Sunday, December 25, 2011

                               Christmas Morning
Today on Christmas morning we went to a local beach called Red Sand Beach. It's treacherous to get to, but worth the danger. It has a natural rock wall which creates pools behind. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

                      A lilikoi plant in the wild. Fruit in the bush is abundant.
This is called a Monkey tree. I don't know why; there aren't any monkeys -or snakes

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Bananas grow wild
                                            Still doin' crosswords
                                                    African Tulip tree
                 This beautiful flower is from the non-indigenous African Tulip tree. It is invasive and has a similar histoy to the kudzu (sp?) of North Carolina
                                                   Lilikoi fruit
            The top-most mountains of Kahuhli Bay in perpetual rain forest
                                             Amy and some coconuts
                                                    Hamoa Beach
                                        Kids practicing the long boat

Monday, December 19, 2011

            What an adventure we have begun!  We have entered into a world that we have never known. It began when we flew into Kahului on Maui and stayed for the night on the Kahului Bay. Even though it was beautiful where we were, the dark clouds over the near mountains never left.  It seemed a perpetual rain forest. That's part of our story: rain.  It comes in torrents, at any time, but mostly at night, and then it goes, just as quickly. Everything is lush. It’s reminiscent of a few Ray Bradbury short stories: “The Sun Dome” and “There Will Come Soft Rains”. It feels like in the WWII movies in Borneo. A machete could cut a path, and then look behind and the path is gone.
            The next day, Peter, our clinic guide took us to the local SafeWay for supplies before we headed to Hana. Talk about sticker shock! Just about everything was at least twice as expensive as what we pay at home. But we were told to stock up, because once we get to Hana, it’ll really cost you.
            Then the trip. If you have ever heard of the
Hana Highway
and its experience, it is no lie. It hugs the coast, often single file and hairpin turns, for over 50 miles. It’s the only road in and the only road out. A trip to town seems a monthly concept. 
            There is, to be sure, a feeling of being cut off from the world. Fortunately, we do have the internet, and can get the local paper, albeit, it’s the next day’s. If the road washes out or a tree falls across, just hang loose. Everything goes at a slower pace.
            So we settled in to a sweet half house for the next two weeks, a stone's throw from the Hana Bay and the dormant Haleakala volcano behind us. Then will move over to a “cottage” by the water. Hana is a very small community of about 600 of mostly locals and one luxury hotel of the transient rich. It’s easy to spot the difference.
Amy has started today as the doctor in the Hana Clinic, and it seems she is just one step down from God because of this. The fact that I’m her husband doesn’t seem to carry much weight.
Our diet is a healthy one: fresh vegetables (Amy's clinic runs the local farmers' market); fresh fish, which comes in almost daily; and fruit. Much of the fruit we don't have to buy; it just grows here. On the ground avocados abound -it's guacamole heaven; outside our "home" is a lime tree, banana tree, and coconut tree. The papaya and star fruit are especially tasty, but there are many fruits and foods we have yet to experience.  Everywhere are lilikois (passion fruit). Alex and Kelcey named our granddaughter Lilikoi (Lili) after these (Alex had stayed on Maui many years before). The fruit is sharp and sweet. Is this a metaphor for our little girl?

Here we are in Maui on Hamoa Beach