It Belongs in a Museum

This guy has my vote

We tried had to not do a damn thing after returning from Hana. Probably a banana bread coma or something. We had planned a day up at the beach, but there was a high surf advisory, so we stayed at the condo instead. It was too much to snorkel, but just enough to play around and even do a little boogie boarding. I actually got a few decent runs in, and got smashed around by the waves enough have a good time.

Yulia and Sasha went off to get their nails done at a local place. Which gave me a bit of time to go around myself. I immediately put the theme from Magnum P.I. on the radio, and drove around with the top down. I had a morbid curiosity, and went over to the Sugar Cane Train station. I had confirmed with a local that it quit running about two years ago, and more than that, the entire sugar industry in Maui was ending at the end of this year. Maui is historically tied to sugar production, so this is really bothering some locals. I think the greater concern is what will happen to the land. When Sugar Cane fields disappeared from Lahaina, most were still zoned as Agricultural, so they either are unused, or have moved into Fruit or Coffee production. But Lahaina is a pretty small, isolated area. The center of Maui is BIG. If it turns from Agricultural to Commercial or Residential, Maui as we know it disappears.

When I drove up, the train station by us was pretty much gone. There were three stops, the one north of Ka’anapali, The central Ka’anapali Station, and Lahaina. I could see that the Lahaina station was intact when we drove by. The engine was still in the turn-around at this station, on display. But the station near us had the times board, a bench, and a ticket booth. There was a setup to run an open market, but it was abandoned. without the station as an anchor, there were better places for the markets to setup. Nothing was maintained, which told me the train isn’t coming back. I imagine the other stations will be gone in a few years. The train is going the same way as the sugar itself, apparently. Everything ends up in a museum in the end.

The girls came back pissed off that they had a bad nail job done. I was shocked that picking a random nail salon in a random strip mall on a tropical island didn’t work out. After much nodding and agreement that people just don’t take pride in other people’s toenails, we broke for lunch.

I found the local Duke’s Fish House was nearby. My friend Henry turned me onto Duke’s (not to mention the Buffet song, Duke’s on Sunday) so we had to check it out. It was in the middle of a resort, right on the beach. The place was really beautiful, but the resort was one of those new places that looks great on first glance, but is completely for sale once you notice. Everything is a damn time share, and you can see the sales sharks circle as you walk through. I wasn’t interested in that, I wanted tacos. The fish tacos were great. We had some Calamari as well, and the girls went for Korean Fish Bowls. We keep eating a lot of fish while we are here, it’s hard not to when it is in everything, and really fresh. Everything we had was amazing. We took a little walk and went back for a bit more swimming and rest. Much power napping was done.

We had reservations that evening at Fleetwood’s on Front St. The food looked good on the menu, but we were really up to hear some live music. Their main restaurant and stage were on the rooftop, with a view of everything, including the sunset. Apparently they also had a Sunset Ceremony. I presumed that this would include blowing a conch shell or something. I made sure that our reservations were for before sundown so we could catch this. We arrived, and were given a table right on the edge of the roof, near the stage. We got our drinks orders in, and listened to the band do their sound check for a bit. It was pretty close to sundown, so they wrapped things up just as our drinks arrived.

With drinks on the table, I could hear the conch shell. It blew, and we heard a man chanting as he walked up the stairs. A Hawaiian man in native garb and headdress  walked out chanting with the conch in his hand. He went to each side of the roof, and blew the shell. We went up on the stage, blew the shell again, and finished his chant. We thought that was going to be it, but then he Introduced himself as a local friend of Mick’s, and talked with us a bit about Hawaii. He gave a couple of short stories about the demigod Maui, an little bit about Hawaiians sailing the islands, then he talked about himself.

He worked at a fish farm, using traditional techniques to raise fish. He would have groups of local kids come out to learn a bit about fishing and farming (he also grew traditional Taro). He said it didn’t matter if kids were native, local or not. He just wanted to pass on some of the traditions that were part of the history of the island. I was a much longer speech that we anticipated, but it was amazing. He really spoke from his heart on his love for Hawaii and Maui, and his desire that we all care for the land, and each other. He finished by saying that he wanted to give us the gift of Aloha, Love, and that we should give that gift as well to each other.

Looking at the events on the mainland this week, that’ s a pretty good gift.

He finished by lighting the tiki torches on the roof, and singing one last song under the state flag. He cheered at the end, the surfers out on the water heard him and cheered back. We all applauded, it was really moving. There’s a lot of cheezy tourist stuff out here. This man really spoke from his heart. It’s good to hear for a change.

The band came out a bit later with the food, and both were excellent. We took our time eating, as we were really here to listen to the band. They played three sets, starting with some Blues, then some Fleetwood Mac covers, then some Hendrix, Doors, and other rock. Apparently, Mick Fleetwood was supposed to come out and play, but he got stuck on the other side of the island because of another damn brush fire. It was a bummer to miss him, but the whole evening was amazing. We ended up getting back to the condo around 10:30, the latest we stayed up on the trip.

We were out when we hit the sheets.