You Know You Live in Hawaii When….

Aloha!

You know you live in Hawaii when….

The wedding reception you attend for your coworker likely takes place in a backyard, and involves a goat on a spit and a karaoke machine. Saying no to singing is not an option.

No matter how old the workers in your office are, they call their supervisors Auntie or Uncle.

You never leave home without a cooler in your trunk in case you decide to stop at the store. It’s so hot, the food is history otherwise.

You know they burn sugarcane February through December and that’s been the schedule for well over 130 years.

You hear word of a dock strike and immediately head to Costco to stock up on toilet paper and rice.

You give directions by saying “mauka” (mountain) or “makai” (water).

You serve both potatoes and rice at a dinner party because someone might get offended if there’s no rice.

When you’re invited to someone’s home you take food, and lots of it, even if they tell you not to.

You wouldn’t dream of entering someone’s home with your shoes on.

You know what an opihi picker does, and why it’s dangerous.

You’ve seen a Moonbow and can explain what it is.

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Aloha, Jamaica

Last Ride

Aloha!

When I was still thinking about moving to Hawaii, I was curious to know everything about the lives of people who lived here. What did the inside of their homes look like? What was Christmas like? Other life events?

One life event that has happened much too often for us lately is a funeral, both here and on the mainland. The mainland funerals (for young and old alike) are somber affairs, held in churches or mortuaries, and everyone dresses up in their best black.

On Maui, we’ve been to two funerals in two years. One was a rodeo. (Upcountry, of course.) They strapped the cremated remains to a bull, slapped it on the rump, and off it went, bucking… “Bully’s last ride.”

This week, another. He died while enjoying an extreme sport. These adrenaline-junkie guys (and Mike is one of them), would rather go out doing what they love, than any other way. The service was held outside on a dreary, crisp day at an Upcountry property, with a number of white tents set up. The attendees, most between the ages of 25 and 35, also extreme-sport addicts, talked of their own near-misses. A funeral is sobering that way.

These bronzed, gorgeous Adonis’s and goddesses, every one of them with ripped, perfectly toned bodies– milled about, including two lactating mothers, who kept pulling out the feeding stations (with no coverage.) The women all had that just-rolled-out-of-bed- but-still-looks-perfect long hair. Their clothing was hippie-chic, and many were barefoot, even in the chill. Those who weren’t, tended toward the kind of hand-tooled leather boots one could find only in Italy. The guys wore tone-on-tone Tommy Bahama silk shirts. (The Hawaiian floral shirt is so over.)

Many in the young crowd looked as though they might have Trust funds and subsist on seaweed and fresh Alaskan salmon; the ultimate picture of health, except for the copious amounts of alcohol being consumed.

The pastor arrived two hours late–on Maui time. (Plenty of time to drink before the food could be blessed.) People stood around as Pastor blew the conch shell, gave a short talk, and then played the ukulele, as a few sang “Hawaii Aloha.” It was a perfect example of old-timers versus newcomers. Only the people who had grown up in Hawaii, like Mike, and had learned this song in school, knew the words. The rest of us stood silent. No, “Please get out your hymnal and turn to page 131” here.

A makeshift altar held the box with the ashes, draped with fragrant leis:

image

The buffet table offered lomi-lomi salmon, sashimi, fish, and pulled pork for lettuce cups. And all that alcohol.

The day grew colder and the clouds enveloped us. It’s an eerie feeling to stand inside the clouds Upcountry. Gray, moist, and heavy, they fall over you like a blanket.

It was time to head back down the mountain. To sunshine and warmth and home.

Together.

A hui hou. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

You Know You Live in Hawaii When…

Aloha!

You know you live in Hawaii when…

It’s warm enough to swim in the ocean every single day. (But beware: by the third year your blood has thinned and you don’t think that anymore…in the same way you look for a jacket if it dips below 70 degrees).

You know what Saimin, Shoyu and go-aheads are (noodle dish, soy sauce and rubbah slippahs).

You have never seen so many feral cats in your life.

It seems that every single dog up for adoption at the Humane Society is a Pitbull.

About the time you get really attached to a new restaurant, it’s already out of business.

Chickens live at the beach.

It’s too hot to turn the oven on to make a turkey on Thanksgiving, so you dig an imu pit in the backyard.

There’s a cockroach floating in the chicken soup you’re making…and you only turned your back for a second!

You know what apple bananas are. And now you won’t eat the other kind.

Your turn…what says “Hawaii” to you? Please share!

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button in the bottom right corner of the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

How for speak Pidgin

Aloha!

As I get settled back into the way of life on Maui after being gone for so long, I thought I would share with you one of the major differences between the mainland and here. It’s a funny and very true depiction of speaking pidgin.

If you’re trying to keep up while watching it, think, that’s how it would be if you lived in Hawaii!

Enjoy!
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GLmfQSR3EI0&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DGLmfQSR3EI0

Aloha, Jamaica

43 Days of Vog and Counting

ImageImage

43 Days of Vog and Counting

Aloha!

I have written about Vog before–it’s an acronym for Volcanic Organic Gas, and it’s sulfur, so it’s a poison. It is also a particulate which lodges in the lungs. This gas escapes from the volcano on the Big Island, and when our trade winds are working the way they’re supposed to, they keep that nasty stuff over on the Big Island.

Lately, though, the winds have died more often than they’ve blown (climate change?) and we have major Vog here on Maui. 43 days with nary a let-up, but who’s counting? Just because I don’t go outside except to go to the grocery store, and I live in Paradise? I have asthma, and I can’t breathe from it, but it’s more than that. Being a poisonous gas, it causes a variety of problems such as burning, itchy eyes; sore throat, concentration problems, and achiness like the flu. 

Above is a photo of the valley with Vog, and under it a  photo of the valley with no Vog. It’s difficult to photograph because, well, it’s a gas. The most telling feature of this photo is the direction the smoke is blowing from the smokestacks at the Puunene sugar mill. If the smoke were blowing to the left, the winds would be coming from the east. But they are blowing “backwards,” from the south. We call this Kona winds, and they didn’t use to be that big a deal, it blew that way for just a month or two in the wintertime. In fact, winter was known as Kona season.

However, it is no longer “winter” here, it is past Easter, and I am quite distressed. This has been going on for a few years now, ever since a new vent opened in the volcano. The shelf (rim) of the volcano has been a collapsing at the rate of the size of a Volkswagen bus per day. When the shelf hits bottom it goes “pooff” and out comes the gas. Oh, joy.

43 days of being cooped up in the house, and I live  in Paradise. But who’s counting?

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page.

Aloha, Jamaica

 

Because Suze Orman Said So

Aloha!

Many of you have written to me saying you’re planning to move to Maui this June… must be something in the air. And of course the price of Paradise always enters the conversation when people plan to move here.

I never had facts and figures to back up how much more expensive Paradise is, until now. In the recent Oprah Magazine a woman wrote to financial guru Suze Orman to talk about budgeting, and she is living in Hawaii. Suze wrote back to question the wisdom of living in a place that is 55% higher than the mainland for necessities like gas, groceries, and utilities.

So there you have it. Paradise is 55% higher because Suze Orman said so. Now we can all quit wondering.

I spent this winter in northern California, taking care of my mother’s estate after she passed away. There were three people living in the house. And California was having the coldest winter anyone could remember for ages, which meant I was running the furnace all the time.

The  utility bill in California (for three people) was $310 per month cheaper than my house in Maui (for four people), with no furnace running.

And then there are the groceries. In California, I fairly skip down the grocery aisles, tossing things into my cart with abandon. Everything is about one third, to half the price, as Maui. It’s all relative, whatever you are used to. I’m sure the people in California don’t think their groceries are cheap.

The price of paradise is steep. The difference is, I did not get to wake up to blinding sunshine every single day in California like I do in Maui.

It really is all relative…

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the homepage.


Aloha, Jamaica

Fall for Maui

Fall for Maui

Aloha!

It doesn’t seem like there would be much change in seasons in Hawaii, and it’s very subtle, but it is there. Especially in Upcountry Maui. On the mainland I always enjoyed the change of seasons… Getting out all of the fall decorations, the Halloween decorations, the Thanksgiving decorations… And the places to buy them were of course, endless.

Not so on Maui. Stores such as Walmart or Kmart only bring so much in to the island per season, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. So if you go to Ben Franklin Crafts and see something you like, you’d better buy it now. You also learn to improvise with what nature provides on Maui. In the same way that I might have gathered Fall-colored leaves in California, here I gather Fall-colored shells to make my dining room table centerpiece:

Our mango tree in the backyard also provides a clue that fall is here on Maui. If you look closely in this photo you’ll see that we have older yellow leaves dropping, healthy older dark green leaves, light green brand-new leaves coming in, and to top it all off: it’s flowering with new fruit (that’s the brown  fuzzy-stuff).

Mango Tree on Maui

What this means is there’s never a good time to prune a tree in Hawaii. Our citrus tree in the front yard does the same thing. It’s a tree that’s been grafted with tangerines, tangelos, and oranges on the same tree. The tree has become enormous because there is constantly a cycle of new leaves and new fruit. When the heck do you prune, without losing fruit?

It’s also a season of harvest here. We have more apple bananas (the very sweet ones that taste more like a pear) than we know what to do with. This morning I grilled bananas on the griddle when I made the french toast. Every morning we have smoothies with two bananas in them. We hang the bunch from a rafter in the garage to keep the rats out of them:

And why yes, that IS a surfboard hanging there in the rafters too. Thanks for asking. And that second refrigerator in the background is not a “beer frig”, because in Maui almost all dry goods have to be refrigerated or use lose them to bugs. So that frig has flour, sugar, bread crumbs, bread, cornmeal, etc. in it. If you don’t refrigerate your bread, it can mold in a day or two.

The other bounty we can barely keep up with is the lilikois (also known as passion fruit). Here is a few days’ worth that have been gathered:

It doesn’t help to call my friends and ask if they’d like some fruit, because they have the same problem. So I’ve taken to hauling fruit to Kahului when I go down the hill, and giving it away. Yesterday a doctor got eight apple bananas in a brown bag. He is a fierce Korean guy who pretty much scares me spitless. I gave him the bananas and he lit up. As he was leaving the room he said “This will be my lunch” and I teased him and said, “Hey, I know you have children!” and he just laughed, because those kids weren’t getting any of those bananas. That’s the first time I’ve heard him laugh! Food, the universal language.

Here’s a recipe for Lilikoi Martinis. My thanks to Shel and Clay Simpson for turning us on to these intoxicating gems.

Lilikoi Martini

1 ounce (a shot-glass) of lilikoi juice

1 ounce of Vanilla Vodka (I’m a wuss and use half that amount)

Fill a glass with ice. Shake the above two ingredients together, add to glass, then top it off with ice-cold water.

I get creative and substitute out recipes that involve lemon juice, such as a Lemontini or Lemon Drop. So, to the above recipe I will also add a little St. Germain (YUM) and substitute club soda or seltzer water for the plain water.

Next time you get your hands on some lilikoi juice, enjoy a martini. You can possibly find the Perfect Puree of Napa Valley lilkoi puree in your gourmet grocer’s freezer section. And if anyone has figured out a fool-proof method for pruning the ever-flowering fruit trees in Hawaii, give a shout.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Luau Feet

Luau Feet

Aloha!

Do you know what luau feet are? It’s the term used in Hawaii to describe flat feet caused from wearing rubber slippers (“rubbah slippahs” in pidgin, thongs or flip-flops on the mainland.) Mike has flat feet. Until he saw my feet with their impossibly high arch, he didn’t even know feet were supposed to have an arch. And the first time I heard someone local refer to slippahs, I was confused and thought they meant house shoes. Slippers. This gives you just a tiny peek into the confusion that reigns supreme in our household.

Right now I am in mourning. I lost one of my best rubbah slippahs. And I had only worn them twice! I had been looking for this pair for about five years. “Reef” makes a certain type of very cushioned flip-flop with a soft fabric band between the toes. They became very hard to find… and I was even more specifically looking for BROWN ones. I finally found them in a tiny shop on the North Shore of Oahu. I was as excited as if someone had given me a diamond ring. Then the proprietor told me the bad news: Reef was discontinuing these! How could this be? They’re so comfortable.

I read that podiatrists say if you’re going to wear rubber slippers, that it should be these cushioned Reefs. I could walk all day in them and my feet don’t hurt. Podiatrists are not fans of flip-flops. Besides leaving your feet vulnerable to injury from stepping on sharp objects or getting stepped on themselves, flip-flops offers little support, slip off easily while walking, and can actually affect your gait–making you vulnerable to potential heel, arch, and back pain, plus putting you at higher risk for fractures. If you’re going to wear them at all, foot doctors caution, you should not wear flip-flops for long periods of time.

Like Jimmy Buffett mourning his blown-out flip-flop in “Margaritaville”, I feel the loss of my brown Reef. The crazy thing is, I cleaned out my closet and suddenly it was gone. Just ONE of them! (Another instance of getting organized and then not being able to find anything. Does this happen to you, too?) Reefs aren’t cheap, plus now these are discontinued. I don’t know how I’m going to replace this thing.

There was a time in my life when I would’ve been coveting the latest fall shoes in October. Instead here I am, just wanting a good rubber slipper.

Some funny stories we have had with rubber slippers: I always take my shoes off in the car. One time we got to a store and when I looked on the floor, one of my slippers was missing. They’re so light, I must’ve kicked it out at the last stop. So back we drove to the Ross parking lot, circled around a couple of times, and there it was. Mike stopped, and I jumped out and retrieved my rubber slipper. This explains why you see so many orphaned rubber slippers in the road and on the sidewalks in Hawaii.

Another time Mike was surfing in Lahaina and left his slippers on the shore as he paddled out. When he came back in, his nice rubber slippers were missing and had been replaced with a pair of “Locals” a very cheap rubber slipper from Longs. To add insult to injury, the end of the slipper had been chopped off with a pair of scissors, like it had been too big for the wearer. Possibly a hand-me-down from an older brother! Mike was not a happy camper.

Then we were at a party on Oahu, and the people had a new dog. Out of the whole pile of slippahs left by the door (removed when entering the house, local-style),the dog chose to chew Mike’s rubber slipper, which happened to be new. But what can you do, besides laugh!

So, how often do you wear flip-flops? Have you had foot problems related to them? Let us know in the comments section.

A hui hou! If you’d like to have this blog delivered to your in-box, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

On Men and Muumuus

On Men and Muumuus

Aloha!
Yesterday It was 92° Upcountry. Get out! It’s never that hot Upcountry. (That means it had to be like 109 in Lahaina). In heat like that I don’t even want to get dressed. I prefer nudity, but it seems to be against the law. So I was in First Hawaiian Bank Upcountry and saw a lady about 75 years old who was wearing a muumuu and a big hat. Pretty typical of older ladies in Hawaii. I’ve thought about it, and I actually look forward to the time when I get to wear wear a muumuu. They cover the flabby arms, big belly and spider veins that everyone gets as they get older… But the best part is they’re cool and loose. I was looking at her muumuu with envy on this 92° in the shade day.

Fast-forward four hours. I have been to the pharmacy, the library, and two grocery stores. I am standing in Costco and I see a hat out of the corner of my eye and glance up from the rosemary bread. There’s the same lady in her hat and muumuu. When you live on Maui you constantly hear “it’s a small island,” and that means everywhere you go you run into the same people. Even four hours and four stops later. Sometimes they’re even on the same track as you, and you see them at all four stops. This always makes me laugh… It’s a small island, but it’s not like it’s a small town in the middle of nowhere. Or is it? I once heard that an Island resort is nothing more than a provincial small town with thousands of tourists thrown in. That makes sense.

It also means you see the same people week after week as you run your errands. When I went to the library yesterday I had 22 books on hold. Seriously. At the counter I said apologetically, “I’ve had a few books come in'” and the librarian, a big, jovial Chinese lady said, “A FEW?!” She is used to this now and gives me a hard time. I’m a writer, I do research. In fact, after about the third time this happened she said, “Let me guess, you’re a writer.” Guilty as charged. Though I did hit a new personal best this month: I found out that when you have 27 books on hold in the system they cut you off on the library website (www.librarieshawaii.org) I was crushed! Hauling a stack of books home from the library is like Christmas for me, especially since they closed our Borders store. When I saw my doctor recently, she asked, as usual, what I was reading, because I always have a book with me . She said, “I miss Borders! I miss being able to browse by actually opening a book and paging through it.” It’s just not the same thing on Amazon, so we commiserated together.

Anyway, as we ended our day yesterday, Mike and I were talking about the unusual heat and I mentioned having seen the lady in the muumuu twice. (We were eating Mexican food at our favorite place: Fernando’s in the Kau-Kau marketplace. He commented that he’d also seen the guy at the next table in Costco. See what I mean? It’s a small island). Mike then said, “So why don’t you just wear a muumuu?”

It was loud in there. I was sure I hadn’t heard him right. “Did you say wear a muumuu? At my age?” (I’m thinking, isn’t that only for ladies over the age of 75? Isn’t that something only the workers at the hotels wear?) He said “Sure. Why not?”( Let’s not forget, this guy grew up in Hawaii.) But my head is reeling… You mean I can stop trying to find pants that fit my nonexistent bum? I can stop thinking about fashion or having any kind of style at all and just drift off to muumuu land? Men probably don’t understand this, because they are ALWAYS comfortable, but a muumuu is like a get out of jail free card. And then Mike shrugged and said, “I don’t know why you haven’t done it sooner.”

The earth tilted further on its axis. The man will never cease to amaze me. Muumuus are like the fanny pack of fashion… They mean, “I give up, I’m gonna just let it all hang out.” Right? If you’ve ever watched the new version of Hawaii 5-0, moving to Hawaii and all the confusion it entails is embodied in almost everything Dano says. He’s always a half step behind. And here I am, after 13 years, finding out I could’ve been wearing a muumuu all this time.

That’s me, late to the party. At least they are legal, unlike nudity. Unless, of course, I get arrested by the Fashion Police.

So tell me honestly, if you’re a woman would you wear a muumuu in Hawaii on a regular basis? And if you’re a guy, what do you think about women under the age of 75 in muumuus?

A hui hou! If you’d like to have this blog delivered to your inbox, please click the “Follow” button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

The Paradox of Paradise

Hawaii Weather Today: High 86, Low 71

The Paradox of Paradise

(Thanks for today’s title, Marianne!)

Aloha!

Last Sunday The Maui News http://mauinews.com/ ran an article about how the country of France has decided its people are too rude. They have begun a billboard campaign in bus and train stations to encourage people to be more courteous. It cited the statistic that France is the world’s most visited country (I didn’t know that, did you?) and the French needed to step up their game with the tourists. We just happened to have French friends staying here. I asked Maxim what he thought. He said he agreed with the article and that basically it was a sad commentary on their nation.

At least the French know they have a problem, and they are, afterall, mostly French. Here in Hawaii the lines are blurred, in that it’s a melting-pot of cultures, with each being represented at roughly ten percent. I didn’t know that before I moved here. Did you?

Today I was at Kaiser for a doctors appointment. I have a wicked tennis elbow and in fact can barely type anymore. (I got an I-Pad and am learning to dictate to it, so there’s hope for this blog). Anyway, as the nurse’s aide was taking my vitals she looked me up and down and said in pidgin, “So where you from…Wailea?”

Well. You have to live here to know how rude that was. She might just as well have said, “How much money you got, Haole lady?” And the silly part was I was wearing a $29 dress off a sale rack that was missing it’s belt, and a pair of $22 sandals from Marshall’s. I had on no jewelry, no usual markers of wealth or status, (though it’s normal to see local girls/women with 3-5 gold bracelets piled up their arms, with Hawaiian words carved into them…words like kuuipo; sweetheart). Because I am haole and I’m not in shorts and a tank top, the aide assumes I’m prosperous. She thinks I live in Wailea, also known as Haolewood. But I just smile, because she doesn’t even realize how rude it is.

This is part of the paradox, this type of racism. After all these years, it still catches me by surprise. If a Filipino lady had come in with her Chanel bag and large diamond the question never would have been asked. Case in point: the “local” lady in a blue silk dress and high heels at Taco Bell today. No one is ever going to ask her if she’s from Wailea. (If you haven’t been to Maui, Wailea is the chi-chi area. Except I can’t really say that, because in Hawaii chi-chi means “to go potty”.) Go figure.

Until you have lived in Hawaii these nuances are hard to fathom. People think they know what it’s like here because they vacation here. But until you live it day to day, year after year, and experience the many, many layers, and realize it’s pretty much a foreign country, it’s hard to explain to someone else. Just like anywhere I suppose, except I don’t think a New Yorker is going to say to every Black person, “So you live in Harlem right?”

I was in LA one time and a waiter in a coffee shop said he could tell I wasn’t from there. How? Because I had short hair at the time and wasn’t carrying a $1,200 bag? Elsewhere, it’s considered wise to always look your best. For a haole in Maui, it’s a minefield…if you’re not careful you’ll be taken for a tourist, or worse, a realtor!

And if luck is really against you, you’ll be accused of being from Wailea. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really nice place. I have done lots of interior design work there in high-end homes. Clint Eastwood has a home on the beach there. It’s that kind of place.

In her book “The Descendants,” set in Hawaii, Kaui Hart Hemmings describes an encounter between the main character and a Chinese gift shop owner. It says, “A Chinese woman enters the shop and stands behind the register…She is wearing a muumuu over navy polyester pants. She looks like she has escaped from an insane asylum.”

With what seems like about nineteen cultures represented in full force in Hawaii,  it’s hard to know what’s considered normal for each culture. A neighbor girl moved here from the Phillipines and plied me with questions about daily life in Maui. She made this observation about Maui: “No one dresses here when they leave the house. They all look like slobs. Where I’m from, you have clothes you wear at home and clothes you wear out. Why don’t they do that here?” I couldn’t answer her question, but apparently, a cotton dress and sandals were too much for this haole girl’s doctor’s appointment.

Silly me!

A hui hou (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

North Shore Oahu

Aloha!

Today this blog is coming to you from the North Shore of Oahu:

Ke’Iki Beach, North Shore

Always when we get to Mike’s Mom’s North Shore house, I am struck by how moldy everything is. When a house is a half-block from the beach, there is salt spray, then dirt and mold grows on top of that .Also, the house sits in the trees

North Shore House

which keeps it cool, but the mold likes that even better. If no one has been here in months it can take a week to clean it all, easy (the geckos think they own the place, and gecko poop is like cement) but the beauty of having the beach a half block away usually makes it all worth it. I love this beach because it has trees that overhang it.

Ke’Iki Beach. North Shore

Someone told me when I first moved to Hawaii that Hawaii is best done in the shade. I thought they were crazy. Now I crave the shade, especially after having a suspicious spot removed twice from my nose. One friend calls living in Hawaii the “20 year skin-cancer plan.”

Last night there was a wedding at the beach. The groomsmen all wore long-sleeved white dress shirts with khaki pants which they rolled up to keep them out of the surf and sand. The bridesmaids all wore bright yellow sundresses. The ringbearer, who was about three years old, also had a white long sleeve shirt, khaki pants and a teeny tiny yellow tie that matched the sundresses. It appeared to be a destination wedding but where were the parents? There were no parents or grandparents in evidence. To me that is not a wedding.

One of the things I love about the North Shore is a hike in the mountains where I rarely see anyone else. A problem on Maui at times is that it has become so overrun with tourists. When you vacation on Maui it is not so obvious, but when you live here and have guests and want to take them hiking, it’s frustrating.

In the same way that Maui has many different personalities each island has a distinct personality. So within Oahu are many different personalities also. The North Shore is determined to retain its laid-back charm. The motto here is “Keep the Country country.” Currently there are plans to build an old-style hotel in downtown Haliewa. If you Google photos of Haliewa, the old hotel on the river was spectacular. Andy Anderson wants to re-create that, however the locals want a Beachpark and restrooms. I don’t live here; who am I to say who is right or wrong?
It is easy to get worked up about issues like this on Maui but as a tourist to a Oahu, it doesn’t affect my day-to-day life. Isn’t this true no matter where you live?

I would say in all the years I’ve been coming to the North Shore, the biggest change has been the traffic, it used to feel like the Country, and the traffic was in “town.” But that was BTB: “Before The Book” that changed everything. In Maui, it was “Maui Revealed“, then the other islands got their own versions. At my job we called it “that damn book”, because it gave every last secret away…every hiking spot, every waterfall. It made the locals crazy, there was no place left for just us. On Oahu they must have written about the turtles on the North Shore, because the tourists swarm the spot on the highway where the turtles are on the beach, darting across the highway at every point helter-skelter, and tying up traffic into an irritating snarl. What should be a ten-minute trip into Haleiwa Town becomes 30 minutes or an hour…just what we want to do on vacation. Then winter comes with the big swells, and more traffic from the surf contests. There is no escaping it now
I am here, resting and playing and hiking…and sitting in traffic. Not the North Shore we all used to know.

Thought for the day: All intellectual improvement arises from leisure.

A hui hou (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page.

Aloha, Jamaica

Name that Wind

Aloha!

Many people write to tell me they want to move to Maui. One of the ways to be sure where you want to live is to sleep around (the island, that is). I have friends who came to Maui on vacation numerous times and each time stayed on a different part of the island to get a feel for where they would want to live. Seemed like a good plan. When I met them, they said they had ruled out Pukalani because it has “wind like a freight train.” I just wish I’d met them before I moved to Pukalani.

The Italians have eight words for wind. Vento is one of them. Then there is the French mistral. What we need is a name like that just for the Pukalani wind. Pukalani means “hole in the sky” or literally, beautiful hole in the sky…which means we get lots of sunshine, as opposed to Kula and Olinda (up the mountain) which are often shrouded in the clouds, and I love that about Pukalani. When I met Mike he owned a house in Kula and when you opened the windows up there, the clouds literally blew right through the house. It was beautiful to watch them. The downside to that was that everything he had smelled like mold, and he had bronchitis repeatedly. I said no thank you.

When we built our house in Pukalani, we lived first in a rental, and it was a mile away. Talk about micro-climates…I didn’t know Pukalani had the wind (please name that wind) because the rental was one mile up, toward Kula. (There is also a  wind line in Kaanapali, right at the stoplight at Kai Ala drive. Anything north of there means wind. Like Kapalua.) So we built, and one of the guys we hired to help work on the house casually mentioned the wind. As in “It’s gonna blow every single day because of the convection effect with the mountain.” Seems that the mountain literally pulls the wind up, my guess is from Maalaea (which deserves it’s own special name for wind down there, whatever Hawaiian words that mean “wind from hell’.) I just didn’t realize this was going to be a daily occurance, I thought it was a fluke type of thing.

My next door neighbor said it blew so long one time he thought he was going to lose his mind. I understand now, having lived here since 2002. If I known I would have positioned the overhead garage door differently, it’s just a big open invitation to red dirt every time we open it. That goes for our front door as well as the kitchen door…each time they’re opened everything on the kitchen table, on the counter, on the desk, blows all over tarnation. It’s a paper chase to pin things down, paper weight them. It’s like a sitcom where the same thing happens over and over. And if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, I guess I’m insane.

Or need to stop going in and out of my house.

A hui hou, (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page.

Aloha, Jamaica