Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hawi dreams V

Wednesday was our trip to pick up some green coffee beans from someone located in Kona and visit the Place of Refuge. First we went in search of the Place of Refuge, or by its Hawaiian name Pu'uhonua o Honaunau. It was a sacred place designated for people who had broken a tabu to go to for absolution. It wasn't easy. If you broke a tabu, you often were punished quickly so that the mana of the community wasn't defiled. But if you were able to get away and somehow made it through to the Place of Refuge, priests would perform a ceremonial cleansing of the sin upon you. Ceremonies are still performed there and not all the park is accessable to tourists for that reason. We would have stayed longer but it was really hot, especially with the white sand.

The trip to find the Place of Refuge was a little bit of an adventure. Alicia took a road that she thought was the right way but was the road to Napo'opo'o Beach (the road sign didn't have the apostrophes--and there were no restrooms). One side road was a dead end but on the "Private Road" sign someone had written "Queers Only". Unfortunately my picture didn't come out. Wish we had time to check it out.

After lunch, we went in search of the place where we were going to get the coffee beans. The directions were reminiscent of a drug deal. Turn left off the highway to this road.....follow it a mile to this street, turn left....go another mile, turn right up a hill and past a grocery store.....turn left at the abandoned gas station and mortuary......look for the Mickey Mouse gate, go down the driveway and look for the plastic bag. Put the money in the parrot's butt. What?! The parrot's butt? Sure enough when we got there, there was a garbage bag with the 10 pounds of green Kona coffee and by the door was a stuffed parrot. So we got the plastic bag and left our money in the parrot's butt. Norma came home from working at the clinic and started roasting the few pounds I was going to take home with me.

Thursday was the day Alicia and I went south to visit the volcano. This time we went through Hilo to get there. This photo is of the Kilauea crater, the one that blew last century and last flowed heavily in the '70's (remember the photos in National Geographic?). Plant life is here and there but most of the landscape is barren. I was used to seeing plants appearing in profusion after a decade since a blow but that was at Mt St Helens where most of the effluvia was ash, steam, and mud. Here the effluvia is lava that as it passes and cools becomes either clinkery a'a or puddly smooth paho'eho'e, the two most common lava types. It takes more time to break down into soil, so plants don't start up quite as quickly as they do around volcanoes that blow ash and mud. But there were ohia plants blooming.

The last night we stopped at the Seafood Bar for dinner to complete the circle. As we drove down the highway to Hawi and watched the sun descend, Alicia hoped we could glimpse Maui and Kaho'olawe across the strait, but clouds obscured the view again. But it was a magnificent sunset to end a wondrous week of adventure.

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