A Travellerspoint blog

Saturday Morning in Makawao

Obama surfs

sunny 26 °C
View retirement roundabout on tomstrick1's travel map.

When my friend Jan, who now has resided on Maui for over 25 years and works in the tourism industry in Lahaina , is asked by the tourists where one can find the native Hawaiians, her answer is drug court and the rodeo. Jan’s daughter Thea is our god daughter and together with Thea I attended the monthly rodeo competion last Saturday in Makawao to see her son Kalewa compete. Mind you, this was my very first rodeo ever even after having lived in Arkansas for 30 years and I was not prepared for the encounter. I was the only tourist out in the up-country rodeo arena and easily identified by not wearing wrangler jeans, checkered , pearl button longsleeved shirts and a cowboy hat. The morning competion involved the age group K-2nd grade and I was surprised at their competence on big horses. Rodeo is a family affair on Maui, a passion handed down through generations and whole families, from great-grandparents to aunties and uncles are there, encouraging and cheering on these little tikes who are galloping and racing around barrels on horses who tower over my six feet. I have no idea how they stayed on since their short legs did not reach the stirrups. Each event displayed a skill. For the very young Kindergarteners the goat roping meant racing in the arena, jumping off the large horse and running to a goat who, while tied to a rope staked in the sand still moves pretty frantically, and pull a red ribbon of the end of the goat’s tail. Reversed pin the tail on the donkey? The task intensefied a bit for the older first and second graders who had to knock the goat down and tie up its legs. I was somewhat astounded by the cruelty , even more when the next event involved young calves being wrestled down by two little cowboys/girls. This event was called double muggers, since it involved team work. Leave it to me to hear the announcement “ All mothers report in the arena” and wonder out loud why Kalewa’s mother Thea does not enter. She clarifies what was said and I see first hand what muggers do.
Years ago I learned that one should not ever make an Elvis joke at Graceland. The same holds for bemoaning out loud at a Makawao rodeo the sad life of the goats and calves whose daily task involves being wrestled down by pint size cowboys and trussed like turkeys. I wonder if life would be simpler for the calves if they just fall down, roll over and hold up their hooves when the little cowboys come galloping down the field. My goddaughter Thea hushed me to silence while nervously looking around to make sure no one had heard Kalewa’s tourist friend mention the sad lives of the island’s goats and calves. I was told that the calves are called rubbernecks, that they survive it just fine, it is their lot in life and that rodeo is all about the horses and cowboys. In between events I watched a young Hawaiian man teach the children the art of roping on a dummy, a wire calf with horns and hooves. What impressed me was the diligence and patience he portrayed and the lessons taught, well beyond the act of roping. I witnessed the teachings of perseverance, diligence, patience, respect and tradition.
We are all called to teach our children well. The art of living is handed down from generation to generation and here it was through sharing a Saturday morning rodeo. Not much different really from soccer or baseball tournaments, or an all day swim or gymnastics-meet. We spent time with our children through sharing acivities we already have a passion for.
Lunch at the rodeo involved Cowboy Church . Munching on Spam musubi ( rice and yes Spam rolled in seaweed) while listening to a wonderful, prayerful glorifying of the day's togetherness and holding safe the little competitors. I added a quiet, small prayer for the safety and well being of the young goats and calves who were also taking a well-deserved break.
Tom and I enjoy spending time away from the tourist area and are integrating more with the natural Hawaiian life. That includes shopping for groceries and preparing our meals. Prices are high on the island especially staples needed for every day living. In a Kahului Safeway store I bought Philidelphia cream cheese on sale(?) for $3.50 and paid $9.99 for a box of Velveeta cheese and almost 3 bucks for a can of Rotel-tomatoes, all needed to make a pan of chicken/cheese enchiladas. I have been told before that the prices are high due to the fact that everything has to be shipped here. How can that logic stand though when I see a $9.00 price tag on a pine apple which may have been picked of the field next door? Or how does one explain then paying $4.99 for a bottle of Australian Yellow Tail Chardonnay at the local Wal-Mart, at least 50% less than the mainland price. Is danger not created when one pays considerably more for a gallon of milk than a six pack of Heineken? While the gasoline we purchased to fill up our car yesterday at the price of $2.47 a gallon is quite down from the almost $5.00 we paid here last year, it is still a lot more than the $1.27 we paid for a gallon of gas last month in Conway, Arkansas. Overall I find the local Hawaiians nicer , friendlier, they smile more. I attribute this to the excitement and promise of hope their native, favorite son Barrack Obama has generated. All over the island one can find shirts proclaiming their rightful pride in a native Honolulu man. “ Obama surfs!” “ Obama is Hawaiian”. He is a Honolulu kid and the Hawaiians are proud of his growth. We are thrilled to be present here on the island when Barrack Obama is inaugurated as the next president of the United States. I plan to forego my regular fish-tacos when eating next Tuesday at the Fish- market in Paia and instead feast on the latest addition to their menu, the Obama burger, made with Ono fish and spiced up with wasabi. We are enjoying our time greatly, daily learning that the plans we made will go awry due to elements beyond our control and letting the day unfold.
Pictures were posted to our site and we hope all can access these. Tom and Els

Posted by tomstrick1 16:07 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Lay of the land

Moon rising

Aloha from Maui on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Our original plan this morning was to observe the sunrise on top of the Haleakala Crater before venturing inside this " house of the sun". Today the crater did not live up to this name, a storm was brewing on top and after we drove half way up and rain was still coming strong we turned around for this day and save the hike for another day when the sun can be seen and felt.
Good day for catching up on laundrey, phone calls with our children , share more of our travels and hopefully upload more than the two pictures I so far have been able to succesfully post.
I am looking at the map of Maui and attempting to describe the lay out of the island. Envision this. The balloon man blows air in an oblong balloon and gently squeezes the balloon about two third up , creating a narrowed neck. Tilt the balloon (island) over to the left side somewhat and name the smaller head the West Maui Mountains and the larger body the Haleakala Crater. The narrow, flat neck is the road which connects the North shore with the South shore. Currently we are staying Haleakala up-country on the North shore side, close to Haiku and Makawao. When we leave each morning for a swim in the ocean we first venture downward to the main high way which circles the whole island and is passable around the whole island once in a while. It is called Hwy 36 and better known as the Hana Highway. Most days we turn left and go West and look for the rainbows and windsurfers on Hookipa Bay. In winter, yes it is called winter here even with an average daily temperature of 80 degrees year around, Hookipa Bay is the surf capital of the world. It is a great place to sit, be, and watch board surfers, wind and kite surfers and their great attemts to conquer the winter waves. Past the bay is the small town of Paia, an old plantation town.. If you have ever wondered where all the hippies went, they live happily in and near Paia. I feel right at home here and it is one of my favorite places to wander. It has become very popular though and now it is a pain to find a parking spot and shop at Mana groceries for our daily picnic supplies. Past Paia is Baldwin Beach. One of the beaches more visited by the local people. I am not sure why though. More often than not one gets windblasted there and body surfing is totally out. No gently belly glide on the beach at Baldwin instead a pounding head first by brutal waves. Still, I stop there often since it also can include a great beach walk , all the way into Paia harbour and back to baby beach, so called for a gentle pool created by a reef where children can play safely, protected from the surf.
Next on the road is the town of Kahului where the aiport lays and all the tourist land. It is the commercial town of Maui where the only Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Home Depot etc. can be found. In this town there are no tall condo's or resorts and the tallest lights visible at night come from the cruise ship which comes daily and stays overnight. It is in Kahului where one can turn and take the bottle neck road which connects with the South side, much more frequented by the tourists. Throughout these drives , there are spectacular views of the West Mountains and the crater. Crossing over to the southside one can either go West towards Ma'alea harbour and on to Lahaina or East towards Kihei , Wailea and eventually Big or Little Beach at Makena. We usually head East. There is a great beach walk that connects Kehei with Ma'alea and is a gentle 5 mile walk over a flat, sandy beach. However, when finished with this walk, realisation sets in. The car is now 5 miles away so we turn around and head back for another 5 mile beach walk. Lenghty yes, but what a view. Whales will be breeching and cooling of with a jump in the water is done often. If we do end up sitting on the white sand of a Lahaina Beach, we can see the islands of Lanai and Molokai. From little Beach Makena we can see the outside of the crater rim of Molokini. Molikini is shaped like a moon in its last quarter and we see the outside while inside, it is a very popular snorkel and dive destination. The waves of Little Makena Beach are shaped by the corral reef a short distance of the beach which also creates a haven for fish and turtles. While Tom has already encountered two huge but gentle sea turtles on his snorkling trips I am still waiting for those but have spent many hours chasing multi colored fish over their homes and found myself very far away from the beach in smooth waters enjoying every minute.
Often we stay at the beach until the sun sets an throws its rays. These past couple of days immediately afterwards we saw the full moon rising over the crater. In a couple of days we head for a camping trip in Ohe'o Gulch, past Hana , on the back side of the crater where the seeting sun will fall in the crater and the moon rises out of the ocean. From there all that is seen is the great vastness of water with only the promise of New Zealand.

We have done more though than only hanging loose on beaches with friends. We bring them home:) I spent time with my friend Maha from Conway whom I encountered last week on my daily valley walk and met Michael and Marielies from Vienna who created master pieces of edible art called sushi for us and in detail described where we need to go in May when we plan on being in Austria for a couple of days.

I made it to my very first rodeo ever, a very popular Hawaian sport and past- time and deserving of a story on its own. later
Today after our initial Haleakal hiking plan fell south due to the weather, we started looking for waterfalls on the road to Hana. About half way out we pulled over at a place called Ke'anae landing, not very well known on this famous highway and stopped for lunch. Eating sandwiches intended for a hike we sat by a thrashing, wild churning ocean and observed flippers. The flippers proved to belong to a huge Hawaiian monk seal who landed and pulled herself up on the rocky, lava shore. Over 6 feet long and probably 350 lbs or more she was, as well as cranky and fast. I learned this quick, when I found out that she had no intent to humor me with the socializing I had in mind, my picture taken with this huge black seal. Growls,. spits and fast manouvers from both of us but I understood and granted her the peace she was after and deserving of.
Lots of pictures from Sammy the seal are forthcoming.

Adventures daily, encounters daily.
We are learning to upload the pictures, two are up, with the pictures from this past week following soon.

There is so much to see and do daily and not enough time to record it correctly and do it justice. Bear with us while we are learning.
We love your feedback.

Tom and Els

Posted by tomstrick1 19:02 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Daily encounters

"no rain, no rainbows"

semi-overcast 26 °C
View retirement roundabout on tomstrick1's travel map.

We are settling down in a somewhat routine even without an agenda. Our friends Dave and Uma live up-country outside of the small town of Haiku. Maui is very appropiately called the valley isle and their house is nestled in one of these.
Early each morning I awake to the wonderful sound of very soft falling rain. It is the great gift of rain which enables the greeness and abundance of the valley and the origin of the rainbows which can be seen at least once a day. On our drive out of the rain this morning, heading to my favorite town of Paia for Ono eggs Benedict at Charley's we were rewarded for the morning rain with a dazzling rainbow which appeared out of the ocean. The colors first blended in the waters before spouting upward. Great way to start the day.

There are other daily encounters I look forward to. On my morning walk I am greeted first by two horses who live in a pasture down the road. They share space with a large pig who has not stirred yet these past three mornings even with my " whoo Pig Soie" yell. Later on I meet up with two goats who prefer to stand on top of their shed. There are toads here the size I have never seen before and this is from someone who attends Toad Suck Daze annually. Twice now I have passed a woman out walking her dog. She wears a cap pulled low over her brow and a kerchief pulled up so high that only eyes are left. It leaves a very sinister appearance , even with the answered reply to my morning greeting. Masked bandit comes to mind and when I question my friends about this encounter and wonder about a possible facial disfiguration I learn of this woman's Japanese origin and following culture of covering up while outdoors.
Still I wonder, why then the bare legs and arms?
Encounters, daily, which I am looking forward to.

Now for the most amazing encounter of all. After my walk yesterday I wanted to show Tom my route and treasures and drove my walking route on the way to town. Walking on the road was a woman whom I thought looked amazinly like my friend Maha who joins me monthly in a learning circle. It was Maha. Neither one of us knew of the other's visit to Maui and here we found each other on a small, wet and isolated valley road. The car was stopped and hugs exchanged. What an addition to daily encounters to meet a friend from home , there where least expected.

I have a co-worker named Kat who joined the CASA office staff last fall. She has mentioned a couple of times now, my always knowing or running into people where ever I am. After yesterday's encounter and again today's I am starting to wonder if maybe Kat is correct and that I will run into a neigbor when stepping outside the Taj Mahal . Today, while walking around in Lahaina, an old whaler/tourist town on the other side of Maui I literally ran into the owners of the Conway EM store. Roger and Liz. Their son Nicholas, now 18, was one of my Tumble Bus students 15 years ago. Again, it was a brief encounter which I enjoyed tremendously and both their greetings and Maha's hugs made me feel so home.

Yesterday marked the end of the Christmas season. This is a first for us to be in a place of sunshine and beach while Christmas lights are twinkling. In a way almost disturbing the lack of snow and ice and "winterscenes". It was on Makena beach that I saw first hand that the Christmas spirit here is not so different from the one I celebrate and honor. Each year part of our tradition is to make cookies and share them with friends and neighbors. This past Monday, while sitting on the beach, a man came by with a tray of Christmas cookies . Not a stitch of clothing he had on but with a generous heart and smile the cookies were shared freely with all his neighbors on the beach.

Daily I look forward to a view and spotting of the whales .
The first couple of days I saw none and became a bit worried.
Tourism is way down in Maui due to the economic state world wide.
Surely the recession had not caused a pod meeting for the whales and a decision to not travel this year and stay in Alaska?
It is early in the year for the whale viewing but today, they were seen.
Two large whales, frolicking a mere 100 feet out, spouting high and lifting a greeting tail before heading down for the night.

We are ready to settle down for the night, waiting for the rain and tomorrow's encounters.

Tom and Els

Posted by tomstrick1 22:16 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)


Taking leave

sunny 26 °C
View retirement roundabout on tomstrick1's travel map.

Happy New Year and Aloha from Maui where today the sky is blue and all are awaiting a great swell which will keep the surfers happy.
This being my very first blog and entry I am learning while I write. Later today Tom will try and post the few pictures we have taken so far.
I do want to reflect on what late December was like. Waiting truly is an anticipation of that what is not yet real and for me the waiting and anticipation of taking leave was very difficult. It does not matter on how leaving is seen or done, it is a change and changes are different from the norms and therefore causes effects. For Tom and I it meant saying good-bye to pets we grew close to and a" Tot Ziens" (until we see you again) to our children, friends and good neigbors. Removing ones self. even willingly , from a place where you know who you are and enjoy the beauty of the life you live is difficult .

Before leaving was the packing. So many of you asked" How does one pack for 6 months?". Well, we did not. While we will be gone for six months, most of the time we carry the six months on our backs while hiking,so it has to be light plus the airlines do not grand one even 1 pack more than 50 pounds. We packed about a weeks' worth with at least one day for every weather/living extreme. Day for hot, cold, dry, wet, church/museum, windy, naked Makena beach. We took a picture of what was packed. As you can see, Tom is carrying the heavier load. Els has a Tom-Tom:)
There are many gifts we are carrying on our travels from our friends. One is a tiny silver heart which makes me remember daily that we travel with love, God's greates gift to us both and all of us.

On January first we landed in Denver and spent two great days with my sister Marianne and her family. We are forever indebted to Marianne who [planned and developed our itenary around the world. No, do not contact her since she mentioned that she will never do another around the world trip again. It was good spending time with Marianne and Bob and seeing that even with grief and the pain of missing son Ben in their hearts, there is so much room and love for the new addition in their lives. My sister's first grand child, baby boy Benjamin, was born in October and both Tom and I loved holding Benjamin in our arms while visiting with his mother Audrey (Els' niece) and father Phil.
We all shared a fabulous Christmas dinner on January 2. Both mornings in Colorado I rose early and made a long walk through the neigborhood. I was fortunate that on my first morning there, while turning the corner the early sunrays lit up the distant Rockies with a color so fierce and intense that the only name suitable for description which came to mind was "earthen". The next morning, before another leave taking, Marianne joined me on the sunrise walk and while the overcast clouds interfered with another "Rocky Color" throwing, I treasured the time spent with my older sister. Outside in her garden there is a sign with the following words.
" When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure".
Yes, indeed.

On January 3 we landed on Maui. The flight was about 7 hours and even a good book cannnot offset the boredom and urge to want to move around. Next to us a baby traveled in his mother's arms and the last minutes of the flight he protested loudly about the lenght of the flight. Even holding him against the window where the plane was making a last circle of the island with all the beaches in sight, he cied loudly. Untill the very bumpy landing to which the baby reacted with a loud and continuing belly laugh. Wonderful to hear !

Our friends Dave Francisco and Uma Silbey met us at the Maui airport and immediately took us up-country to their home where we are relaxing today. They live in a wonderful, green overgrown valley which I circled this morning during my daily sunrise walk. No Rocky Mountains , instead in the distance, only visible early in the day, the sharply etched outline of the Haleakala Crater. Later in the mornings clouds roll in and shroud the view.
It was a grateful walk, surrounded by trees and exotic flowers. How amazing that the daily sun we all share can arouse such amazing different beauty on this earth.

Tom is cracking Macademia nuts outside which grow in abundance on Dave and Uma's property together with advocado's, banana's. papaya's , oranges, limes and lemons.
We will feast on those before heading back to Makena Beach where the surfers are awating a great swell today coming in from either Japan or New Zealand, on that I am not clear.
It is good to be back on this tiny, colorful island where so many of our friends live and with whom we connected already back on our first day through crashing Dave Miller's 60th birtday party in a local Haiku restaurant.

I miss all of you while enjoying a new life. We will stay in touch but for now the surf is calling.

Love, Tom and Els

Posted by tomstrick1 13:10 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

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