À la Recherche des Maoris (4): an eventful journey into indigeneity (Honolulu-Kona)

I’m writing these initial lines under the shades of the Hawaiian Garden tree at Bishop Museum and at Duke’s Barefoot Bar.

As sad as it may seem I’m about to leave the barefoot and surfing Paradise on earth….I never thought I’d write this about touristic Hawaii and admit much may be attributed to the glorious Mai Tai I’m sipping right now on my way to Sydney…

Well…that’s how it began… not necessarily as it turned out as you are about discover!

As mentioned in my previous superlative post, Hawaii is far more than « just an earthly paradise » of incredible beauty

These lines were written by one of the most delicate and sensitive people I’ve ever met…

I was in Kailua Kona getting ready for a long day to make the best of my Big Island experience when I decided to enjoy a Thai dinner.

It was early as I needed to wake up around 5 the next morning.

As I was struggling with a very hot papaya salad, a family arrived, two gentlemen and a little boy with gorgeous long hair and such delicate features that I stupidly assumed this was a boy.

One of the gentlemen looked Indian and the other was more Hawaiian looking. The little boy looked like the Indian looking man although I discovered afterwards that he was the son of the Indian looking one….

I thought I heard them speak Hawaiian but wasn’t sure until they said their prayers and I realized I wasn’t dreaming…I had found a Hawaiian speaking family!

We started discussing and had on both sides the impression we had always known each other.

Alapa’i is a Hawaiian language teacher and Rod is a Janitor. Pono, their son, goes to a Hawaiian immersion program so lots to talk about in this conversation which only started…

But my amazement only increased when I discovered, upon checking out, that my new friends had picked up my bill!!!

It was such a genuine and humane gesture I meant to return but my iPhone decided to freeze and I found the message only once back to Honolulu.

My trip to the Turtle shaped Big Island was thus a pure delight from the outset!

I had been wisely advised by a guide in a rip off yet fun tour of O’ahu island to rent a Jeep and this definitely allowed me to enjoy the ride of my life among absolutely impossible trails!

The result however was well worth the heartbeat!!!

After a brief stop at the heritage bay hosting the Cook Monument, I headed to South Point and Green Sand Beach, the most southern point in the US Territory as each shop and restaurant reminds you…!

Not only was the scenery totally spectacular but a hunchback whale put up an absolutely unexpected show I admired in awe and only as an afterthought took a picture of….But luckily enough I met some adorable Yukon and Vancouver based Canadian on the way back who took some photos and videos which I have now added at the bottom of this page!

The main purpose of this short visit was to get a taste of nature and volcanos. It certainly was a wonderful experience to feel the Volcano day and night!

And in the big island I also visited the last king’s estate but this was during my traveling companion aka my iPhone’s moody moment…! At least it worked fine while I was driving at night in the mountain pass between Hilo and Kona… I am only sorry that it prevented me to meet up again with Alapa’i’s family…and it definitely gave me the taste for more!

Don’t worry too much about the tourists, Hawaii offers endless hours of trails and vistas hard to match anywhere in the world.

The last stretch of my trip was somewhat eventful and here is why.

I was meant to fly from Honolulu to Sydney the following day and was all prepared for my noon departure.

But as I was sipping my coffee it suddenly occurred to me to check-in online…. bad idea….!

The boarding pass Hawaiian Airlines suggested an 11:50 pm boarding thus I didn’t think twice and took this opportunity to visit the Bishop museum at length.

This museum, as mentioned in my earlier blog, is precious because it gives a unique view not only of Hawaiian culture but of the Pacific one too… an overview of parallel settlements over the last millennium, Moananuiakea, connected by the ocean, an archipelago of related peoples and languages:

“Oceania holds a quarter of world languages (cf Papua New Guinea).

Alike (same sources) yet unique to each land they settled (our sea of islands)

The museum also gives a great overview of the various castes, Ali’i nui(high chiefs), Priests and kanaka (People)

In the ancient chiefly genealogies documentary, Cy bridges genealogist (http://nanilaie.info/?p=1528) deals with Wakea origins of Na kanaka (the people)

The land is land because of the chief

Prosperity of the land because of the people

We should be very proud of that small part of our ancestry still living with us”

The Bishop Museum also hosts an exhibition about the Polynesian Voyaging Society journey out of Hilo round the world, dealing with concepts around https://apps.ksbe.edu/kaiwakiloumoku/Maweke

Canoe voyage hokulea’tu

Taputapuatea

Ko’i

I finished this cultural unexpected day with a little architectural tour of Honolulu including colonial and Chinatown architectures and an already nostalgic tour of the Dukes and Waikiki (read again my first lines…) then made my way almost 5 hours ahead of schedule to the airport… except I was in fact 8 hours late due to a computer glitch!

Hawaiian Airlines however were grand and manage to salvage my trip from total disaster at the cost of my Sydney stop and one night al fresco on an airport bench (circled in red)…duly monitored though!

So I am glad to report that I’m writing these concluding and conclusive lines from my comfortable plane seat (Merci Lovey and Ramona for the worthwhile effort !) to Auckland!

References:

The Settlement of Oceania

And https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/oceania-islands-land-people

Kamehameha schools

YouTube by bishop museum

last 5 photos and videos : credit Naomi Robinson

7 Comments

  1. eh bien, tu n’en a pas raté une miette ! émouvant, intéressant, divertissant, t’es incroyable ! à quand le roman ?

    Like

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