April 19th, 2006


Late Update From Hawaii; Storms, Sewage Spills, Pele, Hi'iaka, Obake, Heiaus and Centipedes

Hi Everyone, I've been back for a week now, and have just been trying to catch up. Thank you so so much for your wonderful, friendly comments and support. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your taking the time to read my journal and post comments. I read all of them and enjoy you all so much, I'm just trying to find the time to respond.

I have so many new stories to share, but the old ones are cueing up and I've got to log them in before I can share any of the new ones. I'm going to try to share some of my Hawaii/Maui writing and pictures before they're too out of date. Here are some more of the stories that one of the massage therapists at the hotel shared with me.

This is a shot I took of our beach, the beach that is just steps away from our rooms. I love this beach so much and no matter how much time I get to spend here, it's never enough. The skies cleared up long enough to take this picture but you can still see the wind in the palm trees. The water looks really good but it's still full of particles. It was all brown yesterday but luckily the tides are strong and pull a lot of it away from the shore fairly quickly.

Raw sewage spill largest in 20 years.
Man dies from sewage spill, seals, fish and turtles at risk.

The weather has been insane here, rain every day, rain, thunder, and sometimes lightning, but the rain here, ever when it comes down hard, is somehow gentle and warm. It feels good to be out in the rain. This is supposedly the worst series of storms they've had here since the late fifties. The sad thing about these storms, the storms of the last five weeks, is that they have been so persistent and heavy that they are carrying toxic runoff from upcountry and dumping this poisonous sludge into the ocean. I don't know why farmers are allowed to use dangerous pesticides that can end up in the waters, but it seems that they are, and this muddy brown runoff that courses into the ocean is loaded with it. I feel sorry for the turtles, dolphins, fish and sea creatures who will be affected by this. We can get out of or stay away from the water but they can't. I also feel sorry for people who spend years saving up in order to be able to come here for the first time, for just a few days, and find themselves unable to do some of the many things that make Maui so spectacular.

Everything here revolves around the sea and it really sucks when you can't snorkel because you can't even see your hands in front of your face. It also makes it just a wee bit scary out there because you don't know what's swimming around you. I've seen sea snakes and eels up close but never a shark. As unlikely as this is, I wouldn't want to bump into any of these creatures by mistake.

The worst news by far is the sewage spill in Waikiki. I don't understand how they could have allowed this to happen when they knew they needed to repair their main sewage line over two years ago and had set aside one hundred and forty million dollars to do it. The beaches were officially closed on Oahu but no one has bothered to tell the tourists and some of them are still swimming in the water. That is so wrong, criminally reprehensible really, as people could get super sick from swimming with all of that bacteria.

Oh nooooo, I just found this link when I was hunting around looking for links to share with you. Beau, Scott, and I have all had headaches and sinus infections. Mine started before I got to Hawaii but even with antibiotics it hasn't gone away. Now it's hitting me like a brick that, duh, we were swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, skim boarding, and surfing in that super dirty run off water, not the poop water in Oahu, but it was definitely brown in Maui. Oh crap. Literally.

These pictures weren't taken at the same time as the writing so they'll be a little out of order and context. I took this picture later in the trip when it was sunnier. These little girls were so cute in their pastel play clothes that I just had to take pictures of them to share with you, but I did feel a little bit like a stalker.

I'm trying to remember some of the other stories my friendly massage therapist told me. Oh yeah, there was a great story about Pele's sister she recounted; this is a super condensed version as all of these wonderful ancient Hawaiian stories are loaded with complex mythology. First of all, I LOVE Pele stories. She has just got to be one of the sexiest, wildest, naughtiest, nastiest, most powerful fire goddesses around. Which reminds me I need to get some gin for her, seriously.

Anyway, Pele had a favorite little sister. Her sister's name was Hi'iaka and she is the goddess of the hula and also takes care of the sacred Lehua trees and ferns. She has groves of them on the big island that she looks after. Pele had a Hawaiian dream lover, (Pele's had lots of lovers, that why I like her, she's hot, literally, Beau just asked me if Pele is bisexual, too funny, where does he get this from?), a handsome chief named Lohi'au, that she had fallen in love with in a dream trance. Worried about the length of time Pele had been sleeping her sister called her spirit back to her body. When she awoke she missed her lover and wanted him back, so she asked Hi'iaka to go out, find him, and bring him back to her.

Hi'iaka didn't want to leave her beloved Lehua groves but Pele promised to take care of them, so she mounted an expedition and went out in search of this man. It took her ages to find him, she had to fight all kinds of monsters, and go on all sorts of adventures. She was gone for a long time and Pele grew impatient waiting. Finally Hi'iaka found the man on Kauai but he was dead so she had to bring him back to life. She forced his spirit back into his body through his toes and when he came back to life Hi'iaka told him that her sister wanted him back.

Hi'iaka was very beautiful and naturally he was attracted to her. Hi'iaka wasn't interested in him she just wanted to get back to her beloved Lehua groves. So Lohi'au got into her canoe and came back with her, but when they approached the big island they could see from a distance that Pele, having waited so long for her sister to bring her lover back to her, had lost her temper and erupted lava was flowing down the mountain side and had burnt poor Hi'iaka's Lehua groves. Seeing this Hi'iaka decided that she would get even with her sister, so she seduced the man and made love to him right there in the open on the boat so that everyone could see she had taken her sisters lover. Then brought him to the shore, and left him for Pele.

These are the kind of legends a gal like me can get behind; powerful, sexual women doing whatever they like with men. Nothing against men, God knows I love them, but it's just nice when the women get to be the warriors in charge for a change.

This is the birthday card that Beau made for me. I love it so much! I kept it on my dresser and looked at it everyday wishing that we really did have a house in Maui.

There were two more stories she told me that were interesting; (I'm telling you, if you don't ask people for their stories, you're really missing out, I just recently asked a security guard what the weirdest thing he'd ever seen anyone try to bring in to a court through the metal x-ray scanner was and he said, "A snake,") when she was a younger woman and her children were babies she lived for a long time on Oahu near one of the bloodiest and most sacred Heiaus. A Heiau was like a temple or a church to the ancient Hawaiians and these were dedicated to various gods. There were Heiau devoted to all types of things like war, birthing, agriculture, fishing, etc. Heiau's were tied in to the Hawaiian Kapu system and it was common for many people to be sacrificed at some of these sites. Chiefs would round up groups of people and have them buried alive. The Heiau that my massage therapist lived near was famous and well known for having been devoted to war.

One night, shortly after she had moved in to her new house, as she was sitting in bed -- I think I recall her saying that she was pregnant -- she suddenly felt a presence in the room. The presence manifested itself in ways that she could feel but not see. It poked and prodded her and the strong and clear feeling that she got from it, or from them, was that she didn't need to be afraid and that "they" were just checking her out. They told her telepathically that, "If she was cool then she could stay."

When these spirits stopped touching her she got out of bed and went to check the house. When she got to the living room she saw three balls of light or orbs. They were about the size of a flashlight beam, but they were completely round -- not made by a flashlight -- they moved around the room for a while and then suddenly disappeared.

Another cute little birdie walking by.

Now you might wonder about this story if you're not as open to Obake or talking story as I am -- I've been collecting stories forever, all kinds, and I know what to look for in the person who is telling them. I won't recount stories told be people who I think are fabricating them, or if they're really interesting I'll make a note that they seemed embellished or faked. But this woman was massaging my naked body while she was telling me these stories, I could feel her energy, her earnest centeredness, and she was over sixty years old, with four grown children. I had to coach these stories out of her, I'm lucky in that this is just one of the gifts I've been blessed with, the ability to get people to open up, to tell me the stories they might be too shy to tell other people, and I believed her.

Beau and I went out and took pictures of the sunset. We took so many pictures of this canoe or kayak going by.

I know I'm supposed to be relaxing while I get a massage, some therapists prefer that you remain quiet, but connecting and communicating with people is relaxing for me. Whenever I travel, or whenever I have a chance to meet someone new, I ask lots of questions because there is always so much to learn. Beau once saw a wild, crazy-colored, poisonous centipede when we were in Maui. I wish I'd seen it and have been curious about them ever since so I asked this nice woman if she'd ever seen one and she told me that she'd actually been bit by one; she was sleeping in her bed at night when she suddenly felt something on her mouth. She felt this burning feeling on her lip and when she reached up to touch her mouth she felt the centipede.

She said she knew what it was immediately and flung it across the bed. There was blood all over her mouth and her lips began to swell. She called the hospital and they said that she would be in pain for a few days but that unless she was allergic to them, the way someone might be allergic to a bee-sting, that she should be okay. They told her to call and come in if she had trouble breathing, basically if she started to go into anaphylactic shock, great.

She looked in her bed, found the centipede and flushed it down the toilet. I'm so nuts about all living creatures, even scary poisonous ones, that if I'd been the one bitten, despite the pain and fear, I would have caught it, taken it outside and let it go, somewhere away from people and pets. Anyway her lips swelled so badly that she thought they would pop and she was in terrible pain, but after a few days the swelling went down and she got better.

Here's a funny story about a guy getting bit several times on the crotch by one of these critters, he's kind of anti-Hawaii in a cowardly white guy sort of way, but it's still a funny story.

And here's a link to a cool bug identification website, this link is for the centipedes but you can just remove the centipede stuff off of the end of the url if you want to see the whole site.

Here's another shot of the sunset. The sunsets are so spectacular here but I'm usually so busy that I forget to take pictures of them.

Earthquakes, Skateboarding, Another Ghost Story, Swearing at Mosquitoes, Golf Clubs and Lightning

I always take a picture of this sign in Lahaina. Maybe it's the Catholic in me, but there's something about it that I like. It seems witty and ironic yet sweet and hopeful somehow. I love the sacred mixed with the profane because I'm king of like this. All you'd have to do is read any journal entry of mine to know this, there's rarely an entry where I don't say God several times and then swear for good measure, so it makes sense that I would like this; a big huge neon billboard advertising the imminent arrival of Jesus.

I don't know when this was, if it was our first Thursday in Maui, or our second. All it says on the file is Thursday so I'm going to guess it was the day after my birthday when it was still raining pretty hard and we had another week before Scott would get there.

I've been pushing myself to edit these entries and photos so that they won't end up sitting around, waiting in a long line of entries saved here on my computer. I honestly have about fifty entries or more from the last several months that I've just never gotten around to putting up. I want to share them, that's one of the main reasons for my having written them, but sometimes it's hard to keep up.

Yesterday was the one hundredth year anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake and I wanted to write about it -- tell you why I feel so connected to this earthquake, again, because my Grandmother was there at the time staying at The Palace Hotel when it happened, but when am I going to find the time, argh, and my Mom just told me about her experience with my Grandmother getting gas in the thirties when The Long Beach Earthquake hit.

She never told me this story before. I didn't even know there was a big earthquake here in the thirties. Mom was getting gas with my Granny and there were these boys who were gathering around the car flirting with her. She was always a man magnet with her big blue eyes, natural platinum blonde hair, and that gorgeous body. So these boys were hassling her, grouping around the car when suddenly the car began to bounce. She thought the kids were doing it but then she heard this large explosion. She looked around and saw everything moving and shaking. Things were falling. She panicked and bolted from the car. She said the sidewalk lifted up and was undulating towards her like waves in the ocean.

I think this happened late in the afternoon, around five. My Grandfather, who handled the business end of things for my Grandmother, was still at their factory in downtown LA. He was on the seventh floor. The building began to sway from side to side. All of the big heavy metal desks and tables started to slide towards him. This heavy commercial grade furniture and machinery, that wasn't bolted down, was sliding back and forth across the room. He was afraid he would be crushed, and spent a few frightening moments dodging desks, cutting tables, filing cabinets, and sewing machines.

A couple days later Grandpa drove Mom and Granny all the way to Long Beach so that they could see the worst of the damage. This was before freeways so it must have taken them hours, and Mom remembers seeing all of these crumbled buildings, some of them still standing but their facades had fallen into the streets. She said she was shocked that she could look into all of these people's rooms the way you'd look into a doll house.

I went skateboarding today. Yep, with my stiff aging knees, I actually got out my cute red cruiser board with the sparkly black grip tape and made myself skateboard. I bought it a couple of months ago when I took Beau and his friend Eric to this cool old skate shop in Santa Monica. I used to skate a lot when I was little. I loved it so much and I miss it so I bought myself a board too. I thought it would be easier to get back into, or onto, than it was.

When we all got home that day I realized that it wasn't going to be easy at all. It was actually pretty scary. I tried to get up a few times but the board would move away from me so quickly that I would lose my balance before I could lift up the leg I was using to push off with. I've had messed up knees since high school. I have a lot of arthritis and they're super stiff. I was just so afraid that I'd wipe out, so I gave up pretty quickly, thinking I'd come back to it another day.

Well, today was the day. I put on jeans and a long sleeve tee-shirt to protect my skin because I figured I'd be falling, a lot. The boys were in Beau's room playing with his X-Box 360 so I thought I'd go outside without them and practice without anyone watching me. At first I thought there was no way I was going to be able to do it. I'd put one foot on the board and get scared. Then suddenly I was able to lift up my back foot and move just the littlest bit. I whooped out loud when I got up the first time and then I just kept trying until I was able to travel a little ways. Eventually I felt brave enough to push off a bit faster and then I could travel a ways and push myself along with my back foot so that I could keep going.

When I thought I was doing pretty well I got the boys to come outside to skate with me. Of course they're so much better than I am, Eric is amazing, he's been skating for nine years and can do pretty much every trick you can think of. It's like watching Fred Astaire dance. He can spin the board, walk it in circles, flip it several times and land on it, stand on the side of it and flip it up, turn it several times and land on it, lean way back and drag his hands along the ground, you name it he can do it. So yeah I felt like the big fat geek Mom when I was skating with them, but God it felt good to take a risk and learn that I can still do some things. The cutest thing they do is this little dance tango thing they do where they align their boards and skate together holding each other like dance partners turning their heads back and forth every few steps. It's so cute. I wish I could show it to you. Afterwards I took the boys, or guys, out for a driving lesson in the convertible. Then Scott called and we talked for a while on our cell phones while he was driving home from work.

I wanted to wish my oldest online friend a happy birthday, wanted to make her a great card and post it like she did for me on her birthday, which was yesterday, but despite my earnest intention I just didn't get around to it. It's okay though because she's out of contact for the first time in ages -- she's on a creative spiritual journey -- and I was able to go over to her journal and website and put up a little note there. I've fallen way behind on wishing my Live Journal friends happy birthdays, way behind, and then there's Art Bell's sudden marriage to a young woman from the Philippines...I have plenty to say about that, but oh well, maybe I'll catch up with myself soon, I can always hope.


I had a facial today from this sweetheart of an aesthetician. I liked her so much I came back and got a bikini wax. The weather's been so bad that everyone is looking for indoor things to do. I don't have my man here with me so I figure I might as well get ready for him ; )

Of course I was going to gather some stories while I was getting work done. The sweet young woman who did my face and wax had a few interesting stories. She was really nice and fun to talk to. She said she was from San Francisco, had moved to Maui a few years ago, and was sharing a house in Lahaina with a lot of people. I think that's the only way people who aren't multimillionaires can afford to live here, if they split the rent. She has this great house, the rent is three thousand whopping dollars a month, and there are six people all bunking in different parts of the house. They have a big front porch and a nice yard. I would love to live here.

Here's her ghost story; she told me that when she was a little girl someone would come into her bedroom at night and sit on her bed with her -- someone invisible. This spirit, or entity, or whatever or whoever it was, would come in and shake the bed as it sat down. It would also leave a dent in the covers, a kind of mark where it had been. But the interesting and somewhat sad thing was that she didn't feel safe enough to share this with her parents. This went on for years and she never told them. I think that's so sad, to have something that scary going on and not be able to talk to your parents about it. I don't think she was really scared and I wonder if it wasn't a benevolent presence that simply wanted to watch over her or keep her company at night.

I've been soooo paranoid about the mosquitoes here because I normally get really torn up by them, but it's been pretty mosquito free, so far, probably because of the rain. I saw my first mosquito in bathroom at massage therapy center today. I was in this little bathroom and I head that telltale mosquito buzzy sound, then I spotted it, jumped out of the way and shouted at it. I said, "Oh no, you're not gonna get me. Fucker!" I thought I as alone but when I came out of the bathroom my aesthetician was standing right there. I laughed because I was embarrassed about being caught talking to what might have seemed like myself, but I probably made it worse when I said, "I, uh, I was talking to a mosquito."

This view lifts my heart because I know Napili and Kapalua are right around the corner, and I'm always so happy when I'm driving along this highway, except when there's heavy traffic, and even then I'm pretty cheerful, especially when I'm listening to a local radio station.

We spend a lot of time running back and forth between the market and our hotel. I've been living on Odwalla green Superfood drinks.

On my way back from the massage center I got caught in a heavy downpour. Most of the rain had been pretty gentle up until then. This was torrential and I've never experienced anything like this in Hawaii before. The skies were grey, the water was pounding down, making drumbeats on all of the leaves. I looked over towards the little beach snack shack where we get out towels and drinks and things and a big lightning bolt cracked the sky right over them. It was so loud and so close. I love lightning and thunder. I find it exhilarating and kind of sexy fun. But, there's a putting green here just on the other side of the pool and there was a dad out in the middle of this electrical storm with three little boys. Golf clubs and lightning don't mix, they just don't. I thought everyone knew this, it's kind of like we all know you shouldn't stick a fork in an electrical socket.

Another rainbow...

It blew me away that this macho golf happy dad wouldn't take his kids inside out of the storm, that he was just gonna play through damnit, not gonna let a little rain get in his way. Well, Gladys Kravitz that I am, I had to go and say something, nicely, because you know I'm always going to start of nice. I had to pass by them so I stopped and said, "Ummm, isn't it kind of risky to be playing with golf clubs in a lightning storm?" The poor drenched kids looked so relieved, but dad sure didn't. I thought he was gonna hit me. He put his hand up in this hard stop gesture and said something dismissive like, "I've got this under control lady, go away." So I did.

Tonight is half price sushi and bad karaoke night at Sansei, the best sushi restaurant on the island, and it's right next door at Kapalua, but it doesn't start until after ten and Beau can't go because it's an over twenty-one bar scene. Maybe I can go next week when Scott comes. I really miss my Scotty I can't wait until he gets here : )

...and another sunset.