Monday, December 07, 2009

Maui, Day Two

Maui is reminding us, in a good way, of India.

Scenes of beauty. Scenes of things falling apart. That sense, when you come off the airplane and get to the baggage area, of heavy humid air, warmth when you're accustomed to feeling cold, people suddenly wearing flowers and shorts and sandals and seeming both ready to tackle challenges (one mom pushing a GIANT pile of luggage on a cart with one hand and a stroller with a toddler with the other, back and forth, a little forward with the luggage, then a little forward with the baby) and people happy to just hang out. High-end living. Places where the houses are tiny.

Yesterday we drove west from our condominium to check out some of the beaches and snorkeling areas. This is Secret Cove: a tiny, lava-rock beach where many come for weddings or pictures. I saw a young woman in a beautiful, long white hippie-style dress having her photo taken. And the water and the rocks, just beautiful, too.

It' is amusing me to see houseplants from Chicago living at full force in this climate. Below, philodendron. A LOT of it. Leaves, very, very big. Perhaps the kudzu grass of Maui?
And the colors of the flowers. You could spend years just photographing the flowers. I definitely saw orchids today, but they are very shy, and no matter how I tried, it seemed that the blooms were turning away from the camera. Also, re the philodendron and the flowers and what looked like the pencil cactus that my aunt grows (even though she has a very green thumb, hers are nothing on these tree-sized specimens.) My favorite: a giant, peach colored, trumpet-shaped blossom hanging with the opening facing toward the ground on a tree-sized plant. No idea why it would have developed that way: perhaps birds flying upward from a nest on the ground?

A banyan tree. Another friend from India.
Other people seek out gardens. Or shopping. Or eco-tourism. We seem to find ourselves, over and over, in collections of indigenous houses. Williamsburg-Around-the-World. This place is called Kepaniwai Park and Heritage Gardens: a collection of structures that pay tribute to the many different ethnic groups that came to the Islands over the last two centuries. Below, a shrine decorated with tributes, part of the Portuguese area.
There was an incredible, wood-burning beehive oven in this section, which made me wonder if the Portuguese helped give Hawaii its sweet, egg bread or if it was the other way around?

The missionary house. Of course.

But before this, our destination was the 'Iao Valley and the 'Iao Needle. Created, according to myth, when Maui forbade his daughter 'Iao, who he had sheltered away in a beautiful, mountainous valley, to become involved with a half-man, half-merman. When 'Iao swore that she could not live without her love, Maui consented to turn him into a needle of stone so that she might always have him with her. This is the Lonely Planets version. At the park itself, it notes that the Needle is a phallic form - which is, again, reminiscent of India, where lingam, or phallic forms, commemorate the various gods. (The Needle is the first picture in my post.)
It was misting and raining as we walked the steep path, almost up into the fog. And then, a rainbow came out. Not just your average rainbow, but one with very distinct ribbons of color. And, unlike most rainbows that you see at home, with this rainbow, we could see both the beginning AND the end of the rainbow.
And the day started with snorkeling at Ulua Beach. No pictures of that, but definitely on the top of my list of Things to Do. You can put on your flippers and mask and snorkel and walk right into the water (backwards, so that your big, clown-feet flippers don't trip you onto your nose), and immediately, you are over a coral reef and seeing black, spiny sea urchins and very long, very thin, blue needlefish with a neon stripe and bandtailed goatfish (my favorite, wide stripes of green, blue and orange), and raccoon butterfly fish and an eel and lots more. You lay on your belly, breathe through the snorkel, and just stare down into this beautiful ocean. I even dove down a few times to get closer, because I had a hard time convincing my mind that I was actually a hand's distance away from all of this.











2 comments:

Molly said...

Beautiful! And my scarf came in the mail a few days ago, thanks.

Rachael said...

Your rugs are gorgeous. I think I equated rag rugs with braided rag rugs, which I also like, but I had know idea they could look like this.