Sunday, February 22, 2015

Roadtrip to Maui

Sometimes, not enough happens in Paradise, existentially speaking, to warrant a post with lofty contemplations. Thus so, maybe it is time to take a couple of months to ponder nothing and just live in the permanent now, because, well, you can. So I present pics, note and comment on these winter months on the Big Island.

Actually, this time, it is not the Big Island at all, but a road trip to Maui.

Specifically, Honolua Bay. Like O'ahu's famed North Shore, Honolua Bay is a surfer's dream, It too, faces northwest and when it catches the winter swells, it has some of the gnarliest surfing anywhere in the world.

The land fronting Honolua Bay is owned by Maui Land and Pineapple Company and quite a bit of sugarcane is still grown, as in the background to the beach.

Which leads to the various claims on the Hawaii Islands as to who owns exactly what. Surfing and tourism continue on though.

I have really tried to like Hawaiian derivative music. I have been to Uncle Robert's where they have live Hawaiian music every Wednesday and a few music festivals with white people interpreting the music in their own way. Sad to say for me, it never kills it. Maybe it is the limitations of the ukulele. Starting with bluegrass festivals in high school, spoiled on the iconic bands of the early 70's, and continuing to attend jambased music festivals well into my fifties, I require bands to kill it.

So when fellow chefs, Jaime, Brenden and I heard that Read about Leftover Salmon here: was playing 4 nights in a row, we decided to take a 26 minute road/ flight trip to Maui and get our fix of shredding. Drew Emmitt plays an electric mandolin, sometimes like a mandolin, sometimes like a fiddle and sometimes like an electric guitar. Add in the rest of the band and Bill Payne of Little Feat on keyboards and you have a slamgrass shred nonpareil.

 Looking back over the past 25 years of rootsy, string based music, the impact of Leftover Salmon is hard to deny. Formed in Boulder at the end of 1989, these Colorado slamgrass pioneers took their form of aggressive bluegrass to rock and roll bars at a time when it wasn't so common, helping Salmon become a pillar of the jam band scene and unwilling architects of the slamgrass genre.
Today Leftover Salmon is: Vince Herman (vocals acoustic guitar, washboard) Drew Emmitt (vocals, electric and acoustic mandolin, electric guitar, fiddle) Andy Thorn (vocals, acoustic and electric banjo) Greg Garrison (vocals, acoustic and electric bass) Alwyn Robinson (drums) Bill Payne (vocals, keyboards).

Salmon played 4 nights in a row, two at a small bar in Pa'ia and two at the tropical plantation/destination venue, the Mill Room in Waikapu. The bar, Charley's is owned by Willie Nelson and his son Lukas, a talented musician in his own right Read about Lukas Nelson Here I was talking to a friend of Lukas' who related how Lukas dealt with growing up with "OMG, Willie Nelson is your dad?" He went on to say that when you have a famous parent, one can either reject it, as if it were not so, or embrace it. "All's I know, that when I was young, people like Waylon Jennings were stopping by the house to jam". He embraced it and went on to uncannily channel his dad doing "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain", then in the final set, a few of his own songs and then more than holding his own rocking out with a final Salmon jam covering Neil Young.

So we checked into the North Shore Hostel in Kahului. Here I snapped a picture of them on the balcony while I was waiting for them in the parking lot.

Unbeknownst to me they snapped one of me from their vantage point. We later deemed it a photo of the loneliest man in the world. Maybe even the loneliest HOMELESS man in the world

We met this Trouble with a capital T duo at Charley's. They had flown in from Nebraska specifically for the shows and were a source of constant amusement. I am not sure they slept the whole time until they got back on the plane to return to fly-over country.

This was the Old Mill Room, a venue more accustomed to swanky destination weddings, where we went to the Sunday afternoon show. Strategically placed photo-ops were everywhere. Yes, I know that I wore the same shirt to all three of the shows.

Back in Puna we refer to 10:00 PM as Puna midnight. Because it is such an active lifestyle and the weather and all, sometimes we go to bed at 8:00 PM. So, as these shows started at 10:00 PM we had to make a few adjustments to our late night schedule. Above I am making one of those adjustments on Malu'aka Beach after a bedtime the night before at 3:30 AM. A tough adjustment for sure, but tough it out we did.

Even while taking that little breather at Malu'aka Beach, I managed to snap this photo of the island of Kaho'olawe, the sacred but uninhabited island that has been central to the Hawaiian-rights movement. Many consider the island a living spiritual entity, a pu'uhonua (refuge) and wahi pana (sacred place).

For nearly 50 years, from WW11 to 1990, the U.S. military used Kaho'olawe as a bombing range. After Pearl Harbor, the military used it to practice invasions for the Pacific theatre; in addition to ship to shore and aerial bombing, it tested submarine torpedos by firing them at shoreline cliffs. It is estimated that of all the fighting that took place in the Pacific, Kaho'olawe was the most bombed island in the Pacific.

Beginning in the 70's, liberating the island from the military became a rallying point for a larger resurgence of Native Hawaiian pride and an expression of Native Hawaiian sovereignty. The navy is gone but left a lot of unexploded ordinance.

The island of Lana'i is also visible at a beach near here.

So after two nights of Salmon we decided to take a break, have some real dinner, make the drive to the road to Hana and camp in the Haleakala National Park near Kipahulu. Check out that brand new Mustang that we sported around in. The road to Hana is to experience the most ravishingly beautiful drive in Hawaii. The serpentine Hana Highway delivers one jaw dropping view after the other as it winds between jungly valleys and towering cliffs. Along the way 54 one lane bridges mark nearly as many waterfalls.

The Pipiwai Trail runs up this way to a whole series of waterfalls. Suffering from 90 proof flu, we decided to make the seven mile hike another time.

While waiting for the shows to start...~7:00 PM-10:00 PM we ate at the Pa'ia Fish Market Restaurant, which is all about the fish: fresh, local and affordable served on several picnic tables. On our night off we splurged and ate at Mama's Fish House. The island caught fish is so fresh that your server tells you WHO caught it! Above is poke with three types of local tuna. The front bowl is poi, prepared taro root, which is ho-hum even if you do like serious carbs.

For more than a century, the Ko'olau Ditch has been carrying 450 million gallons of water a day through 75 miles of flumes and tunnels from Maui's rainy interior to the dry central planes. A short hike up this stream you will see water flowing through a hand hewn stone block section of the ditch. Bet the sugarcane or pineapple industry had something to do with this way back in the day.

A coffee shop near Kaupo that we stopped in to take a break from taking a break.
An anonymous beach where we stopped following the untamed Pi'ilani Highway that follows 25 miles of ruggedly scenic miles skirting the southern flank of Haleakala.

There are arguments to where to see the best sunrise. Most swear by the summit of Haleakala volcano, others by Big Beach. Our campsite was somewhere in there. Pretty sweet either way.

So we bid adieu to our new showfriends and said we would see them on the road somewhere soon: and as they prepared for flights as long as 17 hours back to various points on the mainland, we were grateful and considered ourselves blessed and lucky that we were taking a 26 minute flight to, of all places, Hawai'i.

Thanks for stopping by

Friday, December 12, 2014

Green Sands Beach and the Christmas Parade

Merry Christmas from the Pahoa Parade! Despite two lava flows brushing up against one of the main streets, the show must go on. Those Noni leaves on my shoulders are going to cure something but I forget what.

LJ, our general manager at Kalani, helps prepare our float.

You have met Jaimie many times on this blog and meet her new friend Brenden, 34, originally from Dallas and most recently a chef in the molecular cooking world of Manhattan, as they wait for the festivities to begin. We are all flying together to Maui on January 8 to see Leftover Salmon, who are playing four days in a row at a coffee plantation there. Anyone want to join us? Details here:  Leftover Salmon Maui

Having been to the Big Island's black and white sand beaches, it was time for a green sand beach.
Across Nebraska again to South Point. (gotta love the grass fed beef here in Hawaii).

The hike across these hills of ancient eroded volcano ash from Mauna Loa from South Point is 2.8 miles and resembles the Badlands of South Dakota, with not a bit of shade in sight. And there is the matter of the 2.8 return trip, which after an afternoon at a beach with no shade, is something to consider as well.

So along comes Tommy, who offered a ride out there for $15 each round trip. He kindly waited patiently as long as we wanted, before returning us from the beach.

Kind of a bitch of a hike down to the beach though. The layered rock you see here is the inside of a littoral cone, which was formed far from the eruptive events at Mauna Loa. As the lava pours into the ocean, it explodes into billowing clouds of steam and debris. The expanding steam rips the lava into billions of cinders which pie up in mounds or cones. Geologically speaking they are not long lived and the waves rapidly wash them away.

Green Sands Beach owes it unusual color to the mineral olivine. The basaltic lava flow from ancient eruptions that formed this cone, named Pu'u o Mahana, was loaded with gobs of the stuff. Then the ocean went to work and has dismantled half of it.

Olivine can contain semi-precious gems, but most of the gems are sand sized and we looked for about a minute, unsuccessfully, for a giant nugget.

Onward and Upward. Down Highway 11, past South Point. At milepost 76 we turn right into a "subdivision" known as HOVE.

We passed this open pit cinder, sand and gravel pit at ~4000 feet. Lucky you gentle reader, as I had my trusty Roadside Geology of Hawaii book near by and you will learn the providence of it. The red part is iron oxide cinders and above it, is volcanic black sand. Both were blown here from ancient erosion processes from nearby volcanoes over the eons.

I have sung the praises of Air B & B before, but are you guys sure this was the right turn off?
Not Kidding:
This is the actual pathway to the B & B across this giant 1906 lava flow. Thank God the owner told us that coming at night was not allowed. I mean, are you sure there is even a cabin out here?

Earlier we had passed this tiny Catholic Mission confessional booth. Maybe we should have stopped.
Finally we saw it up on the slope. This whole area is known as Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, locally HOVE. About 11,000 one acre parcels are spread out on a vast system of roads on this harsh a'a lava. An oil company built the subdivision in the 60's with the dream of creating a new community. Prospective buyers were lured by photos of palm tree backed Pohue Bay, which is distant, private and not reachable.There was also the bait of the HOVE Yacht Club, which never existed. The majority of the lots remained unbuilt and electricity is rare.

What people did pluck down $995 thirty, forty years ago have formed a tight knit community and seem happy as they can be with their location.

Streets have lovely sounding names like Paradise Parkway and Ferntree Avenue, bur after driving around, you'd expect names like Rocky Road and Lava Lane. Sometimes you build it and nobody comes. 

By the way, the view from this pit toilet, during morning constitutionals, was maybe the best I have yet to encounter. I guess when I think about it, it is the only view from a pit toilet I have experienced. You can't buy such gifts.
As were driving around this vast unfinished subdivision that was kind or eerie and lifeless, we were reminded that the Big Island is often rumored to be one of the largest repositories of people from the FEDERAL WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM. What a perfect place to lose oneself.

I have been to really quiet places in Hawaii, but this was absolute silence. Not a peep from a bird, nothing. Kinda cool to live in that kind of silence for several days. Read, digested and discussed  "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz, which was one of the few books there. The Four Agreements
Be that as it may,
Good God man, after all that, let's open the bar early.

Red Road takes us back to our hales.

That yellow smoke in the background is the June 27 lava flow approaching Pahoa. This jungle area is about 1.4 miles from "downtown" Pahoa, right smack in the middle of where those parade shots were taken.

Debris still blocking the road from Hurricane Iselle neak Pohoiki.

I mentioned several posts ago that several years ago my right hip was starting to bother me, especially after massive catering jobs.I surmise that carrying those million or so catering tables for decades eventually pulled my right hip out of alignment. I saw someone in Charlottesville and words like "titanium implants" were bantered about. I was gonna be goddamned if someone was going to cut into those muscles in some kind of exploratory surgery to have a look around. Someone suggested yoga and after a year or so of practice, happily, it was 95% resolved.

Things were fine until the kitchen here was moved to an outdoor building and quite a bit of extra walking and schlepping was added to a life that already included lots of daily walking anyway. I had seen acupuncture in various Asian countries that I bummed around in in my twenties and was always curious about it. Bone up on acupuncture here:  Acupuncture

I knew that it promised to treat a whole host of problems and now wished I had tried it earlier for things like high blood pressure. On the mainland anyway, the acupuncture offices were inevitably in slightly shabby strip malls, wedged between dirty Chinese restaurants selling greasy General Tao's chicken and the Happy Ending Vietnamese Massage Parlor. How legit could they be?

Then I moved to a place that had its own Acupuncture clinic, whose director I counted as a colleague. If not here then where?

Micheal Ceraso Read more about Michael Here  practices Traditional Oriental medicine through acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Thai massage and energy work and is the director of the Acupuncture Clinic here at Kalani. I had three treatments over six weeks with Michael. I definitely could feel Qi traveling from my hip down a line in my hip. I was also very tired after each session, so some dark energy went somewhere. He used a combination of aggressive acupuncture, Chinese heat, herbs and ointments Combined with some specific massages offered at the clinic as well and specific yoga asanas, also quite conveniently offered right here as well, I am "re-aligned" and the hip feels 100% better, if fact I don't even notice there ever was a problem.

I was taking some pictures near milepost 17 on Red Road and must have punched some kind of button on the camera that resulted in this one retro postcard look. Wish I could find out what button it was.

Have a great Christmas season, family, friends, allies and ohana!

Thanks for stopping by