Sunday, June 23, 2019

Hawaii: Three Islands, Three States of Mind


The first reaction on landing on Kauai is euphoria. The hotel welcoming van whisks us along the Eastern shore of the island. Sea, mountains, and the ocean air lift our spirits. Our room opens to a balcony with a view of the beach and ocean, opens to sound and wind that signify healing, healing the soul, tired from hours of flight and whatever annoyances we have left behind. The euphoria comes again with the sunrise of our first full day. This is the time of recovery from jet lag, of acclimation, and of appreciation of the new environment.
The second day brought the additional joy of meeting friends again, giving hem welcoming leis of real, fragrant flowers, and heading to our new abode on the Western shore of Kauai.

Our shared cottage on the shore of Waimea.

 Black Sand Beach

The Na Pali Coast from land and sea.

The Big Island (Nostalgia)

After the two part flight to Hawaii from Kauai via Oahu, a flight right over Diamond Head, we acquired a car in Hilo, bought groceries at Safeway, and made the drive to Nihole, the town where our new home was. The house was an estate, gorgeous gardens, a wonderful view of the ocean, and a pool with a sign saying "closed." The house must have been a palace once, a luxurious mansion on the cliffs above the sea. Now it is deteriorating, left poorly cared for, as was the pool which had been one of its drawing points for us. The house had a gorgeous kitchen, three bedrooms, and all the necessities well supplied. For the closed, non-maintained pool, we got a one day refund. 
The Big Island has always been a magical place for me, the nights of singing, Caribbean  Coquí frogs, the two high mountains, the hot, living lava, and especially Kalani. Our friend Tiki, once the manager of Kalani, met us at the Hilo Bay Cafe for lunch, and we were all three: Tiki, Darryl, and myself, filled with nostalgia for all the time we have spent here. Nostalgia was the dominant emotion for me as I recalled times on the peak of Mauna Kea, the view of the stars, the nude beach near Kalani, and all the times I stayed there. Everything we did, even eating at Merriman's,  reminded me of past stays, including seeing the Waipio Valley.

Waipio Valley Overlook

Our Estate 

Hapuna Beach

Mauna Kea

Maui (Ataraxia)

The flight to and over Maui was easy and stunning. The drive to the Makena area where our B&B was located was also easy. The doors to our respective rooms were open and welcoming. The pool and gardens were a delight to behold and enjoy. Our hostess, filling in for the owning gay couple (Mark and Steve) did all she could to make us feel at home, including a demonstration poolside of how to carve and eat mangoes. The house and the subsequent visits to Lahaina for music, and a visit to the Buddha, Haleakala for splendor and a hike in the Hosmer Grove cloud forest, and Makena Beach, Big and Little, where I joined the drum circle and swam naked in the Pacific, all provided a rich sense of transcendence and tranquility. 

Iao Needle

Makena Beach


Buddha of Maui



Thursday, April 18, 2019

Hawaii X 8

The Islands of Hawaii

My first experience of Hawaii was in the 1980s when I joined my brother who was house-sitting for a friend in a spacious home looking down on Diamond Head. Not only was it a good time for bonding with John, it was also a time for shedding all my hackneyed preconceptions about Hawaii as a mere tourist destination The Big Island gave me a gut wrenching awareness of another reality. 

John on Oahu

I spent several weeks there over Christmas vacation. John and I flew over to the Big Island and stayed at the Volcano House overlooking Kilauea Volcano. I got sick from the rich food at the lodge or possibly from the fumes I breathed emerging from the steam vents. Perhaps Pele, herself, was initiating me. I have never gotten ill in all the subsequent visits to Hawaii, Hawaii. 

The second trip was in 1991 with Steve and David Killian as a stopover on our trip to Australia. The nice Northwest Airlines agent in Honolulu upgraded Steve and me to first class all the way to Sydney. That was one of the bygone days of flying as a wondrous adventure and a delight. We spent only a few days on Oahu going and returning; but had an enjoyable time on Waikiki. 

The next 5 trips to Hawaii were with Darryl--Four times to the Big Island and once to Maui. Starr joined us for one of our stays on the BI to celebrate her 50th Birthday. The stay in 2008 was transformative and enlightening. Darryl had volunteered at Kalani for 7 weeks and we both had the privilege of experiencing that magical place, together.

The Zen Swing at Kalani

Our 7th Stay was in 2010 when Darryl volunteered at Kalani for 3 months and I joined him at the end of his term.  It was as if this could be our home.

Below are glimpses of our stays in Hawaii over the seven times we were there.  We are now on the eve of our 8th stay on three islands with dear friends Wolfgang and Sebastian...

Big I- Akaka Falls

Our Tree-house Party

Starr over Honolulu

Dar and Starr in the Tree House.

Buddha, Maui

How I Loved nights, floating naked in the Kalani Pool, looking at the Milky Way and all the stars. 

Hapuna Beach, BI

Hiking Haleakala.

The Kalani Pool

Makena Beach, Maui

Sunset and shadow
Mauna Kea, BI

 Gift for Pele

Dar volunteers for the Kitchen

Hapuna Beach