Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hurricane Iselle, Massage and Air B&B

On August 7, Hurricane Iselle, the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall on the Big Island of Hawaii in recorded history, well, made landfall. We had had plenty of warning and Kalani was ready. All tents and tarps were struck, water and generators were trucked in. Soon the power went out and would stay out for another two weeks. It made for a surreal two days, since we basically live outside and all, with torrential rains, howling winds, falling trees and giant waves in the ocean. As a result of this community's preparation, it really ended up being no worse for us than hurricanes on the East Coast. Great food continued to be served by generator on time. Above, we wake up to begin to inspect the neighborhood.
My old tentsite with the hatches battened down. 
Brien 21, from Brisbane, OZ and Alyssa 20, from Long Island and two of my chess partners, checkout a tent in the early AM. There was widespread tree damage on the island, mostly from the introduced and invasive Albizia trash tree, also known as the tree that ate Puna. Power was out in some parts of Puna for almost two months.
Because of our preparedness, the only lasting effect on us was making our already rustic way of life, a little more rustic. The Civil Defense used the property as a staging area to give out ice and water to locals. 
I chanced upon this free water and soft drink depot while doing laundry in town. I didn't need the water but had two of the free hot dogs they were also giving away. My first dog in months.... awesome un-asked for snackatizer!
Jim, from near Culpepper, Virginia, former and current comedian, author, and psychic Read More about Jim Here  Kana, a gifted musician from Japan and Mitch, a gifted banjo player, chef with me and hailing from another podunk town in Wisconsin that no one has ever heard about, wait out our turn at the laundry mat in Pahoa. After two weeks with no power, we were not the only people with that idea. In an otherwise mirthless place, Kana's drumming seemed to lighten the mood somewhat.
 We also subsidized meals for the community at large.
These guys seemed to have weathered the hurricane quite nicely, one even gave birth to a colt. 

Hawaii School of Massage  One of the benefits of life here is subsidized one and a half hour massages given for $40 by students at the Hawaii School of Massage at Kalani.


JarRed's Massage and Yoga Classes The other benefit is that every imaginable kind of yoga class is offered for free. I have tried them all and settled on Jared's Vinyassa yoga. They range from Yin yoga, which emphasizes resting restorative poses that last for long periods of time, usually laying on the floor, to Power yoga which is way too many calisthenics and leg lifts for me.Vinyassa is a continuous flow practice that holds the poses for about three minutes.

In my working life, I helped carry catering tables, maybe a million or so, for a couple of decades. Our standard way to carry these tables was to have two people on the left side of the table with both of our right hands on the upended lip of the table. As a result, my hips re-aligned slightly to the right and was beginning to cause me problems. I saw a doctor and words like titanium implants were bandied about. I thought that there was no way in hell I was going to let someone cut those muscles, hell I would just as soon live with the inconvenience. Then someone suggested yoga. I am happy to report that yoga, specifically Jared's Vinyassa classes for the last 14 months have 97% cured the problem. Nothing like having an end of the semester re-alignment.You can check out Jared's services, classes, workshops at his website. Mahalo Jared!

One of my favorite masseuses, Hanna, 21, prepares her massage table on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. It really doesn't get any better. Hanna specializes in deep tissue and lomi lomi styles.

Samantha specializes in intuitive massage. When she encounters a problem area in your body, a bone in her leg starts to crackle, sort of like a Geiger counter. She reports that she has had this gift since she was a child and it intuitively lets her zero in on the problem area.

One of the keys to successfully adventuring long term here is doing so without spending much money. When we travel about the island, we use AirB&B  I have used them about five times and have really stumbled on to some remote and beautiful spots. The house/B & B above was in Kona and a private room was $107 per day.

We had access to this living room, full kitchen and the beautiful pool out in the yard.
This one was over looking the Waip'io Valley . Just sitting in these chairs, it was ineffably difficult to absorb if this view was even real.
This was one of the bed rooms in the cabin where five of us stayed. Get a group of game people together and the cost is minimal.
with this view on one side

and this view out front

and morning flowers like these...for a split $227 a night and we never even saw the owner...she just left us the key.
This is the view from the backdoor street entrance of Hulihe'e Palace in Kailua, Kona, looking through the front door ocean view, which I thought was kind of cool. Built in1838 by Governor Kuakini, it quickly became the house of choice for vacationing Hawaiian Royalty until 1914 and now is maintained as a museum by the Daughters of Hawai'i.
Uh, Ted mate, your cruise ship is in the other direction.

The last bit of news for this time is our new outdoor kitchen. There was some problem with the fire suppression system and to solve the issue, this camp kitchen was quickly and professionally built. Although it added about three extra miles of walking per shift, 109 steps at a time, it moved us from four walls inside to this coop with a view. Another added bonus is that guests and volunteers going about their quotidian routines can stop by for chats with Ted and see what's cooking.
Random vignettes are painted during a shift. Here I watch Kana weeding the Cuban Oregano in the "YUM", play on "OM",kitchen garden, while I stir the bouillabaisse.
Enough of the Hurricane news. Out next post will follow the slow motion lava flow that is threatening Pahoa. They predict that the flow is going to pass through the middle of town in ~12 days, probably setting it on fire, like it did in Kapaho in 1960 and Kalapana in 1992, the two towns on either side of us. We are 9 miles south of the flow, so our biggest concern is the cutting off of the road. There is an alternative road, and they are building another one, so our biggest concern is re-supply, which would make the 15 minute trip into Pahoa morph into an hour and half one. The effect on guests' plans remains unclear.
One can follow the progress of the flow's most recent progress by going to this site and clicking the most recent update.
 Charles recently sent this article Pahoa-living in a state of emergency

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Reiki, Saffron and Staph Infection

In the center, is Mary, 55, from Auburn, Maine. Mary is a physical therapist by profession, but by vocation is a Zero Balance practitioner and  Reiki energy worker. Maleah on the left, 19, an architectural student and Lindsay, 32, a second grade math teacher, accompanied us on this quest.
 Mary and her visiting friend from the mainland, approached me a while ago and emphatically insisted that their treatment was mandatory for me. Unsolicited, they had felt something adrift in my auras. Since "energy" work is so ubiquitous here, why not take advantage of a session with people that had 30 years of experience in such matters? After all, my Christian indoctrination  as a young man taught about holy ghosts, halos/auras, visiting sprits in the form of angels, both good and bad, Jesus/God as light, and that if one prayed hard enough, one could feel His "energy". Isn't prayer really just a form of meditation?
After all, in Mr. Shelor's  10th grade introductory chemistry class at Episcopal High School, didn't he present atoms with their attendant electrons, protons and neutrons, as the primal, immutable, original  universal energy not dissimilar to OM? Why not check it out?
So I went to an isolated massage tent in the jungle one afternoon and lay down on the massage table. Mary was at my head taking out stale, useless energy with Reiki and her friend was putting fresh, absorbable energy back in with zero balancing. Mary told me that I could sleep or do whatever I wanted. They were hands placed on various energy centers and plenty of straight ahead massage. Folks, being that I have always been a competitive napper, having the talent of being able to catch twenty winks just about anytime, anywhere, this was not an obstacle.
One thing that has vexed me here, both in serious massage and energy work, is when the practitioner is finished, sometimes they will just silently leave the room. I am usually in a kind of coma state but in my mind I am kind of anxious of when exactly has enough time  passed that I can politely open my eyes? Usually, when I do come to, there is no one in the room.
 In this case, after about an hour and a half,  I sensed that they had finished and waited for what I thought was the appropriate amount of time and opened my eyes. They were sitting in chairs where they had started, silently watching me. Mary said "welcome were gone a long time".
There were dreams and colors. Was it the treatment or was it a run of the mill Ted nap? Mary said I would know in about three weeks.
Since Mary and I worked in the kitchen together, she would check on me from time to time, asking how I felt. For a number of reasons, I feel great, so I couldn't really give her a definitive answer. Mary then reported that sadly, my chakras were "sodered" shut. Yes gentle reader, the decades of stress had caused the motherfuckers to be welded shut like a bank vault. Drastic action was required. lava.
Mary said she needed some live lava. She would then act as a conduit, pulling the energy from the lava through her and into my apparently permanently sealed chakras. Being an amateur geologist I said I would do some research and get back to her. After going to a few US Government Geological sites, I found some live lava had flowed out of Pu'u O'o vent as recently as July 29. A crack on the side of the larger Kilauea cauldron, Pu'u O'o was the source of the lava that buried Kalapana in 1992.   
Everything I read on line said that both choices of hikes to the vent were extremely dangerous, due to the cauldron continuously melting and collapsing on itself, as well as the capricious shifting of poisonous gases. Just hiking on the above creviced and buckled lava flow is precarious enough and it was a 16 mile round trip. If fact the whole area had been closed for several years. If you went in there and got into trouble, no one was coming a looking.
Nah, take a pass on that one.

Instead, I suggested that we go to where the 1992 flow repaved Red Road, known locally as the end of the road and wander and ponder until something happened. We walked for a while and came upon this house. A man stirred from within and came out to check us out. He was not a rightfully angry Hawaiian, pissed about some haoles trespassing on his land; he was not a hermetic poet. HE WAS GARY SLEIK, A LAVA EXPERT AND REIKI MASTER. What are the chances?
Gary agreed about the safety of our hike, and pointed to some palm trees in the distance, that marked the site of a four year old lava river. He should know because it burned his house down. We all agreed that, at least in geological time, four year old lava would have retained enough energy to safely satisfy our energy needs.
I quizzed Gary for a while about volcanos and he quizzed Mary about her Reiki training. Everyone satisfied, he provided us with towels to protect us from the lava glass that was everywhere and hats for the ladies and off we went. Mahalo Gary for your hospitality!
What is left of Gary's house; this was the fresh water catchment. 
     blah blah blah
The treatment begins. 
Here is Mary with her OM tuning fork driving the OM  primal vibration into Ted's heart chakra. The energy in this tuning fork was channeled by Edna Doane, a sound healer from Maine to this Hawaiian lava field. This channeling, all the way from Maine to Hawaii and who knew, is creating healing energy by sound and vibration in the old boy.
Here, notice gentle reader, that I am holding two spherical crystals, in contrast to the pyramid quartz that is under the tuning fork on my heart chakra, that have been blessed by a Cherokee Chief outside of Ashville, NC. These crystals were soaked by the Chief from healing waters throughout the world including Lourdes. The pyramid quartz on my chest was from Paris, Maine, and differs from the spherical ones in my hands because it directs the rainbow spectrum into concentrated beams creating prisms of light throughout the body. 
After who knows how long, I come to. 

and pretty much ready to carpe diem. 
We then went to town and had lunch and then hiked to this beach. Mary captured me a ponderin': was it a nap or was it the Reiki?
Recently, I hosted a cooking class for guests and volunteers. 

I of course chose to make my perennial stand by, paella. I first learned how to make this in 1978 while attending the University of Valencia, the reputed birthplace of paella. I considered my 40 year relationship with saffron. Was was it Donovan that sang "I'm just mad about saffron, she's just mad about me...they call me mellow yellow?" Paella was a big seller at Chef Ted Catering and my voice mail greeting sounded as follows: "Thank you for calling Chef Ted. Sorry we are back in the kitchen, checking the bouillabaisse...ah looks like it needs a little more saffron. Please leave a message. Some would leave a message back :"checking the bouillabaisse...dude you ain't out of bed yet".
My treatment on the history of azafran, seems to be a source of amusement to Chris, 24, a world traveler. 
Guests and volunteers get with the cooking. Notice the $230 bag of saffron in the foreground.
Kenny, 30, and a kitchen manager, is helped by Leigh 32; she is charged with maintaining the integrity of the Sangria bowl. You met Kenny in one of my first Hawaiian posts.
The final product is coming along. 
While Corey left, 29, a family therapist in Boston, Leslie, the HR manager for Kalani and from Oahu and Jenn, 29, in grad school in speech and language pathology, help with the final garnishes. 
Decade after decade....perfect paella. 
Leigh on the right, who you have met before, was under strict and probationary orders to maintain integrity of the sangria bowl. I ran into her an hour or two after the cooking class and kinda surmised how it had gone.
A special shout out to Bob Girard, the provider of these t-shirts. I followed Bob's band at the time he was known as Johnny Sportcoat while attending The University of Virginia in the late 1970's. We kept in touch, as he continued to make music as recently as the time I left for Hawaii, and our paths crossed at many catered events. He also made my t-shirts for many years. Each order/gig of course, may have included a excursus on existential despair over a plate of BBQ.

Bob recently saw his handy-work modeled by Leigh, 32, who you met earlier as a horse trainer and Meredith, 19, a special-ed college student. Bob reports that he wants to be these t-shirt's.
How often does Emil, 38, a tree surgeon from Oahu, show up to the back door of the kitchen, with fresh coconut water for the whole ohana?
I recently burned myself in the kitchen and it just did not heal. Eventually this staph infection developed. Staph is not uncommon in this damp environment.
The time for Noni leaves had long passed and a trip to the Hilo clinic was scheduled.
We made a day of it and hung out at various beaches a while. 
Hawaiian boys growing up a lot different than most of us did. 
and the Hawaiian doctor, resplendent in his silver ponytail and Hawaiian shirt, solved the problem with a massive ant-biotic bombardment. 
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