we bought (and found/picked from trees) quite a bit of fresh fruit. we ate several really good pineapples, had a few guavas, a mango, some apple bananas, and a lot of passion fruit (called lilikoi there). it was all good, but we became especially fond of the passion fruit. one night we each ate about 7 passion fruits, and they were good. we even had some that tasted just like paw paws, which was a delightful surprise. we've never tasted anything (other than a paw paw) that tasted just like a paw paw.
we tried longans for the first time; they taste a lot like rambutans and leeches. then, the wierdest fruit we tried was a noni. we found one on the ground below a noni tree and smelled it (we were told it smelled/tasted like a pungent cheese) and then proceeded to try a little. it was true that it smelled and tasted like a pungent cheese, which in our opinions isn't a bad thing. that bad thing, though, was that noni's have antiseptic properties so our mouths felt a bit weird for awhile.
the luauwe decided to go to a luau when we could get some cheap tickets ($19/ticket rather than $110/ticket). we had to agree to go to a time share presentation to get the discounted price, but we felt like it was worth it (and it was: the time share presentation only took about an hour--they quickly decided we weren't their kind of people and they weren't our kind of business). so the luau was fun. we got to eat lots of great hawaiian food (kalua pork with poi, mahi mahi, some really good purple sweet potatos, coconut pudding, etc) and we got to watch some good hula and other polynesian-style dancing. there was also fire dancing at the end, which was really amazing.
when we were driving through paia, we saw a buddhist temple that looked really festive--so we pulled over to check it out. it turned out they were having their annual obon festival (a festival that honors their past loved ones in the belief that those who have passed help them with their harvest). we decided to stay and attend the festivities.
it started with a more serious religious service inside their temple. there was a sermon, gong/drum playing, chanting, and then everyone got to come up and light some incense in honor of a loved one who has passed. unfortunately, i was really tired, and i fell asleep for awhile during the sermon. b told me it dealt with the idea that nothing is really ours, and we don't need to feel possessive about "things" in our lives.
the inside of the temple. the table in the front is where the incense was.
after the service, we stepped outside and found there were a lot of people there. in the service, it had been a small group of people, mostly old japanese hawaiians. but outside, it was crawling with people. we got in line and bought some chow fun, mango pie (a slice), and a piece of spam musubi. it was all new to us and tasty. then the japanese-style drumming started (called taiko). that was neat. there were some really great arrangements and pieces they played on these big drums (made from old wine barrels).
once the music was over, the dancing started. the leader of the mission announced that the first 100 in the inner circle would receive a free towel. we weren't sure what any of this meant, but we decided to give it a try. who can pass up a free towel? anyway, we made it in the inner circle with our towels and saw that the thing to do was tie them around our necks. they started playing (i assume) traditional japanese songs and the dancing in the inner circle commenced. of course, b and i had no idea what we were doing, but there were plenty of folks dressed up in traditional japanese attire that did know what they were doing. so we just watched them and tried to follow along. it was fun, but after 4 songs we decided to bow out and leave the inner circle. that dancing was going to go on for another 1.5 hours, and we didn't think we could last that long.
the second taiko group playing under the paper lanterns. the paper lanterns were a very interesting part of the whole event. it was so windy the entire time that the little paper hanging from the end was constantly flapping. with all of the paper lanterns, that made quite a bit of noise. but, as b said, that just added to ambiance.
the mission is set right on the ocean--it's right behind the building. and there was a cemetary right off to the side too. it was a very pretty setting.
our good buddy, the gecko
almost every time we returned to or left from our condo, a little gecko was outside our door. b said geckos only like to be out at night, but we saw this one a lot in the daytime too. he was a cute little guy, and i always got excited as we approached the doorway to see if he'd be there. lucky for us, he almost always was.
haleakala national park
we wih the two peaks in the background. being up at the top here was the only time b wore his jacket.we drove up to haleakala national park one day and explored around up there a little bit. we saw some nenes (an endangered hawaiian goose) and enjoyed the view from the top. all the way at 10,000 feet we could see the two highest points on the island of hawaii. it was a nice respite from the heat up there too--we got in to about 57 degree weather.
as we were driving down from haleakala, we got a bit lost and stopped at a convenience store that had a truck with several dogs penned up in the back. on top of their pens was this dead boar. very interesting indeed.
iao state park
a taro patch. this area of the island used to be very significant to the hawaiians who lived on the island. it's easy to see why: there's lots of fresh water and it's cooler.
a nice shot b took when he went down to the river. wai means fresh water in hawaiian, and you can see that word used a lot in names of towns. the town closest to the park is wailuku.
me next to some ginger. it's not native to hawaii, but it very striking. we learned that the pineapple people of hawaii sent georgia o'keefe to hawaii to paint some pictures of how beautiful it is (especially of how nice pineapples look), but she ended up painting other things she liked, like a crab and ginger. eventually, she gave them the picture they wanted, but i thought that was funny.
after the state park, we saw another park that honored hawaii's immigrants. they had a section of the park that celebrated the korean, chinese, japanese, portuguese, filipino, and us american immigrants. it was an interesting little park that we enjoyed looking at.
b in the japanese pond area.
b walking around the chinese koi pond.
n and b in the korean part of the park. i especially like that picture of b.
church and sunday dinner
we happened to meet a lot of church members on our trip. one day while we were in lahaina, we met a really neat woman named iuni who was mormon. she is tongan and mentioned that she and her family went to a tongan ward. we had planned on going to the english-speaking ward while we were there, but in thinking about iuni and our fascination with nearly all things polynesian, we decided to go to the later tongan ward. and it was such a great experience. i had never attended church when i absolutely couldn't understand the language. i know spanish well enough to do pretty well in spanish-speaking wards, but tongan is a different ball game. there was a translator, who actually turned out to be iuni, which made it possible for us to follow what happened in sacrament meeting (there was also a talk in english). then we went to an english sunday school class. we were 2 of the 4 class attendees. the lesson was interesting--the teacher put an interesting spin on things. then in rs, for me, there was a translator. it was a really neat lesson on missionary work. for b, he went with an english group.
one of the fun things for us, was that we were able to sing the hymns in tongan. the vowels in tongan and hawaiian are pronounced the same ways as they are in spanish. so we could easily and happily sing along and not have any idea what exactly we were saying.
we both really loved attending church there. it was very clear that they were a group of people who loved the gospel and wanted to share it with their neighbors.
east side of the island
on our penultimate day, we went over to the east side of the island. we got up early and headed out on the road since we knew it was going to be a long, crazy drive. and it was. the first part was fine, but then you got into the two-lane road that very frequently turned in to a one-lane road. there were extreme drop-offs to the side at times, and there were some blind curves. generally, we could only go about 20 mph. to my relief, though, b was the driver on this trip. i think i would have had a massive headache from trying to concentrate to hard on the road if i'd been driving. for as crazy as the road was, though, the scenery was amazing. it was lush with dense green growth. there were lots of waterfalls and dramatic views of the ocean.
after about 3 hours of driving we got to the most southern part of haleakala national park and went on a 4 mile hike up to a 400 foot waterfall. we were extremely hot at parts of the hike, but it was a really neat hike. the views were beautiful, and the waterfall at the end was really nice. during the hike, i had a 12 inch worm friend wrap itself around my ankle. of course it wasn't a big deal, but brian got so disgusted by it that it freaked me out some. he got it off me (since at that point i thought maybe it was poisonous), and we looked at it for awhile. it was gross, and if we'd known at the time that it was non-native, we would have killed it. but who can know such things?
during the hike we went through a bamboo forest (which, again, isn't native) that was cool temperature wise and neat to walk through.
after we finished the hike we walked along the oheo gulch pools, which on regular days are open for swimming. these are pools of fresh water that run down into the ocean. the ocean is too rough to swim in there, but the pools are generally open. swimming was closed the day we were there due to the rainy weather, but we hadn't really been planning on going in anyway. the water, unfrotunately, has that type of bacteria that if ingested or comes in via a wound can cause flu-like symptoms and in extreme cases death. needless to say, we weren't too interested in dealing with either of those outcomes.
the nonis in the jars are fermented. we found thse along our way to hana. you could pay $1 to drink the fermented noni. i wonder it it would have tasted like really pungent cheese.
i love how the water turned bright white.
a nice three-shot montage of b having fun with black rocks/sand.
me in the cave right next to the black sand beach. the white area is an opening to the ocean. i know that the water couldn't really come in and sweep me out to sea, but i have to admit i was nervous having my back to it!the waves crashing up on the lave rocks surrounding the beach. the water was rough the day we were there.
this shot is near the blow holes and doesn't do the landscape justice. it was so beautiful, and the green of the plants was so vibrant.
it's now late, and i'm tired of writing. if i think of additional things that need to be mentioned, i'll have to add another post later. we had a great time in maui and would enjoy going back some day with w and s.