January 1, 2012

Adventures in Maui 2: East Side

After flying in to Kahului, Maui airport around 3pm, we began the famous drive on the road to Hana. Twisty, turvy, often one lane, we crawled along at 15 miles per hour taking almost 3 hours to complete the sixty mile stretch. I tried to take pics of waterfalls as we went by, but soon got car sick and instead sat and breathed the humid air while feasting my eyes on the rich greens of the rain forest.

We arrived at our destination, Tutus house, a lovely cottage duplex that was to be home for the next five days. After unpacking we sauntered up to the old Hotel Hana, now called Traavasa, ate an incredibly delicious, expensive meal of steamed mahimahi with bok choy while making friends with the hotel cat, Mama.

The next day we set out looking for breakfast, ending up at the illustrious Uncle Bills, a shack like no other, filled with tacky decorations and served coffee in a penis mug (I kid you not) by the colorful queen of bacon fried in yesterday's drippings, Phyllis. One of the only places with Internet access, other customers chained smoked hand rolled cigarettes while we watched the local police arrive to question Phyllis about who knows what.

After checking emails and polishing off our coffee, we walked down to Hana Bay and hiked out along the point, discovering a placard to Queen Wainapanapa who had been brutally murdered by her husband. So much for aloha. Afterwards we stocked up on supplies at the Hasegawa General Store, got stamps at the post office, then had the most amazing meal at Braddah Hutts, a sumptuous shrimp pasta easily big enough for two, served and cooked outdoors under a few tarps. This was a super friendly place, soon to become one of our favorites.

On Thursday we went Power Hang Gliding with Armin Engert, an outstanding experience not to be missed. After a brief lesson, I pulled on my flight suit, climbed aboard, said some prayers and we launched into the sky. Armin took me out across the water, showing me how to control the glider, but after awhile I was quite content to hand back the controls as we zoomed along the coast line, up into the mountains to see amazing waterfalls, and even further until we were flying in a cloud. Armin was an excellent host and instructor, clearly someone who loved his work, his enthusiasm was quite contagious.

Later we drove up to the Nahiku marketplace for tea, fish tacos and coconut candy, continuing on to  Wainapanapa Park, also known as black sand beach. We watched eager teenagers climb the cliffs and jump into the waters, found the blow hole, and hiked down to where their are sea caves.  We went into a Lava Tube that was under the earth and walked for about half a mile through this huge cave/tunnel that was completely pitch dark and drippy wet. It was a self guided tour, they just hand you flash lights, and you follow this railing with little info placards on it every dozen feet or so. It was super cool and trippy, the ceiling high enough (like the living room) that I didn't feel claustrophobic. When we got to the end, before we turned around, we turned off our flashlights. It was beyond dark! Couldn't tell if my eyes were open or closed, really super creepy.  It was chock full of stalactites and stalagmites and an underground bacteria that looked like gold glitter everywhere.

Outside of the lava tube was a maze made out of Ti, a local red plant, but as we wound our way through there were tons and tons of spider webs crossing our path. We used our flashlights to combat them, but after a few minutes of wandering around and feeling lost, we went back to the beginning to get out of spider hell.

Speaking of bacteria, just before leaving i got diagnosed with Lyme disease. Unfortunately I am on heavy duty antibiotics and cannot go into the sun, a huge bummer on this trip, so everyday have dressed in long sleeves and a floppy hat, forsaking any romping in the bay. Despite slathering myself with sunscreen, my hands have broken out in hives, and consistent headaches have plagued me this trip, as well as morning nausea. I look forward to returning in a time when I can play more.

Saturday, Christmas eve, we hiked the Oheo gorge along the Seven Sacred Pools, a series of waterfalls in Haleakala. It would start raining every twenty minutes or so, and the trail was muddy beyond belief. I was only wearing sandals, so the mud was squishishing between my toes, making it super slick and I almost fell on my ass more than once. Luckily Chip had brought hiking sticks, so I could move slowly along like some old lady. We took the secret forbidden path to the Infinity Pool, but didn't go swimming as there was warnings of some bacteria in the water that causes meningitis and I already have bacteria a plenty from ye olde tick bite. It was extremely beautiful, but you know me, I hate the rain and was quite relieved to turn back to the car. I saw more waterfalls today than maybe in my entire life. While my partner puttered around playing professional photographer, I found a comfortable rock to sit upon and meditate. I cast a circle and found myself infused with memories of songs. I found myself singing and singing, watching the aura of trees and feling deeply connected to the earth, the sky, the waters. I prayed to walk a healers path and for my own healing to be complete, healing my mind, healing my body. There are no words for what I felt in those long moments, yet I know them to be a resource I will draw upon for the rest of my life.

Christmas day was a transition time, and we left our pleasant cottage to move into the yurt at Luana Spa, which was truly awesome. Cozy, comfy, with spectacular views, an outside shower, and just the yummiest feeling, I felt deeply blessed to move into this hummy moon suite. After unpacking we hiked down to Red Sand Beach at Kaihalulu, where the waves were quite fierce and the ocean the most incredible shade of clear turquoise blue.

The first night, I went to go to use the outside bathroom and Chip followed me to brush his teeth. We heard a click and realized we had locked ourselves out! No door key, no car key, no cell phone, Chip in a bathrobe, the rain just starting...

First we tried to take the hinges off the door, but to no avail. We walked around trying to find a pay phone that worked, ending up at the beach, and finally able to call 911 who were no help whatsoever. We didn't know the owners name so couldn't call them either. All of this was on Christmas day, well, Christmas night by now.

We walked back to the yurt and realized that the keys were hanging right by the door. We found a plastic stool to stand on and could unhook the top plastic hooks that attach the yurt wall to it's ceiling tarp. The wall literally fell away, revealing the keys! Yay!

Then, the next day we had scheduled a private massage lesson with the owner, whose name turned out to be Nancy Plenty. She set us up in the haolo, a grassy hut overlooking the ocean. First I lay down and she instructed Chip on basic Swedish massage. I turned over and asked for a tissue as I got all cloggy. The Kleenex box was empty, so Chip fetched the one from our bathroom. I pulled out a rather tattered tissue, then a second one, when this HUGE RAT jumped out of the box, onto my belly, and scampered off the table and into the bushes. both Chip and Nancy screamed but I just laughed. Rat medicine...
Cunning rat of silent creeping,
Friend of Ganesha, lord of might,
Guide me through mazes by your foresight,
For all good things are mine by right.

The next day was our last in Hana. After packing up our stuff into the convertible, we headed off to the Sacred temple and botanical gardens in Kahanu. Situated in the storied land of Honomā`ele, Kahanu Garden is the home to Pi`ilanihale, a massive lava-rock structure that is believed to be the largest ancient place of worship (heiau) in Polynesia. This awe-inspiring cultural site is registered as a National Historic Landmark. Again I found myself singing, "Where I walk is holy
Holy is the ground,
Listen to the rhythm,
listen to the sound,
Great Spirit circle all around me..."

After a few hours we once again drove the famous Hana Highway, stopping for lunch in Piilani, the amount of people feeling overwhelming after the remoteness of Hana. We drove on to the west side of the isle to Kaanapali, where the second half our adventures awaited...