Altered State of Mind…
Sunday morning, and a bright sunny one at that, here in the Fertile Crescent. In other words, a wake-n-bake kinda day it’s starting out to be. Summers here can be cruel with unrelenting sun beating down on the denizens, but this morning, it appears, we have been spared. A gentle breeze wafts and I see my lovely Indian Silk colorful curtains doing that dance that I so love to watch- for hours- on many different continents in fact.
I know I have written before of my love for my curtains (material that I originally bought in Hawaii & turned them into hanging pieces of (shade) art. It’s just that these curtains are one of the remaining ‘things’ that grounds me back to Hawaii. They have traveled with me everywhere- as you all already know. I always smile when in their presence. The light show that it gives off with the filtered sunlight is dazzling and puts me in a trance where transported to many exotic places…
One exotic place, my first stopover on my Amerika June 2012 Odyssey, is New York City. Two main things are important about NYC in my life: I went to graduate school here, and a very charming ex BF of mine dwells here. Needless to say, I caught up on both as I breezed through there. Some other pleasing surprises included friends from afar…
NYC- it’s hard to figure out where to begin… Let’s just say that I hit up 4 of the 5 Boroughs- of course Manhattan being the most mind-blowing. I also ate my way through the City. And drank. And shopped. And…and…and. Strolls through Central Park, museum explorations (meet-up w/my Maui posse here), and city-slicking. I know the role. I played my part. To a “T”.
|somewhere in Kip's Bay|
|from the rooftop of the Met|
|Jane Hotel, Greenwich Village|
|NYC pours on the charm- always|
|The Village envirions|
|Maui posse represents: Kiwi Paul & Mz. Katherine with me at the Met.|
|Gallery walk in UES|
One memorable highlight: It was my first morning in the City. I was at a coffeehouse ordering my first much anticipated ‘real’ coffee drink in almost a year (sorry Turkey, and a 10TL cappuccino from Starbucks in Istanbul DOES NOT count). I was spaced out soaking in the delightful scenery & aroma and realized the barista had asked me a question. She repeated, “What kind of milk would you like with that?” I had to think for a moment what she was talking about- I mean, milk is milk- right? She’s looking at me like I’m an alien for what seemed like eons. Then I realized she is asking about soy, half & half, 1%, etc. I burst out laughing at the absurdity of the situation- that only I understood in those moments & just casually replied, “half & half” please. I then said, to no one in particular, “I know I’m back in America now.” Perhaps some of the patrons got it that there is no such questions offered from a coffee dude here in SE Turkey…
So my secret spy mission (yea, I know you’re reading this Spy1) here was to find books to bring back with me to Turkey. I turned the city upside down in my quest, and had loads of fun in doing so. I love having a mission in NYC. I attacked all my missions there, in fact, with a voracious appetite. No leftovers. Fully satiated, I departed.
|just do it|
Next on agenda: Maui. Again, what to say to you to give an honest reality I know not. I can’t describe eloquently or succinctly so just read my ramblings & try to organize my headspace on your own.
Now, all my international friends that have not been to Hawaii think that it is a paradise of sorts. They conjure up romantic images of the Hawaii of Honolulu or Waikiki lore. What they don’t realize is that my Hawaii, my Maui, is quite different. There are not a lot of over-the-top nightclubs where you can dance until sunrise. No, not on my island. BUT, there are many funky, sugar-shack style dance parties on the beaches, in the mountains, etc where one can dance all night under moonlight. These one must go in search of though. They are not readily available to the tourist or neophyte.
|old hood of mine|
|another old hood of mine...|
Maui is, in fact, quite a sleepy place in my humble opinion. Of course you have your modern conveniences at your fingertips in town (Kahului), but on my side of the island, time seems to stand still. This notion was reinforced in everything that I encountered.
Some things change, of course... look at the price of gas!
My first morning I walked down from Simone’s place in Makawao town to Casanova’s Deli for my requisite coffee and no, the barista Joell, of course (Joelle prolly has been there a decade at least), did not ask me what type of milk I wanted! That is just a ‘city thing’ I decided.
|just having a coffee and a look-see at Makawao Town from Casanova's Deli|
Familiar faces everywhere and suddenly I focus on a picture behind the counter. It is of “El Jeffe”, an elusive Maui denizen for years. El Jeffe was a hippy dude and a good friend. I mean, the real thing. He had land out in lonely Kanaio, a place that clings desperately to the SE corner of the islands midland slopes. The picture of him was oddly beautiful. Yet oddly strange. I could see immediately in his eyes that he no longer walked this Earth. I had to ask the question that I already knew the answer to. I received my confirmation. I took my coffee and walked away feeling a bit displaced. My eyes started welling up, and I suddenly realized I didn’t really know anybody in this moment that I could lament to. I turned around and walked outside to their lanai to soak up the morning sun and await Michelle’s arrival.
|nature turns me on #1|
|nature turns me on #2|
|nature turns me on #3|
|nature turns me on #4|
|nature turns me on #5|
|nature turns me on #6|
|nature turns me on #7|
|nature turns me on #8|
|NATURE TURNS ME ON...|
So, most all my close friends work during the day, but loads, of course, do not have ‘normal’ jobs so to speak. This makes it easy to pop in on people and catch up. I decided not to rent a car and just hitchhike around during my stay. Again, time stands still. Acquaintances stopping to pick me up, strangers that immediately become endearing acquaintances, local folk who would listen to my stories about Africa & Turkey, etc. Charming experiences it was- as always on Maui. Why? Because time stands still. Every time I am transported back home, I experience this. It’s like a comfortable hypnopompic déjà vu.
|more Paia town|
|happy Paia denizens|
This, folks, is what I love about Maui. I can return world weary, and be comforted in Maui’s loving embrace: the forests mystify me. The waterfalls enrapture me. The beaches comfort me into a striking silence. Yes, it’s the beaches that really does its number on me. Again, most my Maui posse works so I always head to the beach alone when I return.
|I spy Baldwin Beach|
|Baldwin Beach flying their national flags proudly|
|Yep, some people work at the beach...|
It is here at the beach that I run into most everybody, and the coconut wireless ensues. I mean, I find out everything about everybody for the time that I was gone in a matter of hours. I love this, but I also love how I spend the rest of my time at the (Baldwin) Beach. I can just sit and stare into the horizon where ocean meets sky. Fisherfolk walk by carrying their Ulua rods. Children are playing. People are running the beach, sunning, chatting, etc. Everybody is happy.
To contrast, Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean beaches are fabulous too, BUT there is no beach that one can just rock up to and chill out. There is usually a hotel, resort, etc or some obstruction to simply reaching the beach that you have to deal with before you can relax. Usually a transfer of money is involved too. I’m not used to this beach behavior. I’m not used to having to work so hard to reach the beach. This is why Chris’s place in Kabak (Reflections Camp) www.reflectionscamp.com on the Mediterranean is such a joy for me to escape to a few times a year! This is, so far, the only beach in Turkey where I feel ‘free.’ So my challenge to you (Turkish) readers is to drop some names of other possible spots in Turkey where I can experience this…
I digress. Back to the (Baldwin) Beach… This trip my book (I always have a book for a trip) was Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-five.” This book has escaped me for all these years. As I would talk to peeps about my current reading selection, many said they had read that book back in high school. I couldn’t believe it really. I mean, Vonnegut did write in simple sentences using a big font, but I guess I just thought that the content wouldn’t be insightful for an American teenage audience.
I also had my own challenge in reading this book. As I started reading the book, I had a conversation with a friend who told me that this book changed his life when he read it as a 14 year old. I was, of course, intrigued so I asked, “How?” His answer was vague- as all his answers are. He simply said the experience was terrifying yet positive. Again I asked, “How?” Again vagueness ensued, “You’ll see.”
It took me too much time to read my book because of my many distractions (food, friends, adult libations, camping trips to the jungle, etc) so I’m not sure I understood his terrifying ‘rite of passage’ experienced from the passages, but I adored the book. We shall see if the international man of mystery ever divulges, or if he’s just a tease- as I suspect.
Another contrast between NYC & Maui that comes to mind: NYC was all about men (except you Mz. Katherine), and Maui was all about my wonderful female friends. That’s all.
No trip back home would be complete without stopping by Wailuku to see all my ex co-workers (sexy archaeologists ROCK), and my coffeetalk chit-chatters. Again, time stands still on Maui.
|fantasy outside shower|
|morning cup of cheer...|
|my constant companion|
|did I say fierce?|
|inside my enchanting sugar shack|
Yet another contrast: in NYC I was tearing up the subway system & slaying the sidewalks, yet back on Maui I kept within a ‘north & east shore’ radius. I love that.
An unplanned delight- heading out Hana side w/Simone & doing some jungle traipsing complete with hikes to waterfalls & beautiful coastline images. It was like a moving picture show for me- as a passenger. I was directing my own documentary. Feelings of freedom. Feelings of raw beauty. Feelings so beautiful they hurt when considering I was so far away from them all now- with living in Turkey. But also a feeling of knowing I can’t be there all the time anymore. This is a feeling of satisfaction: to be able to honor my feelings of my island home as I exile myself around the world.
|mysterious road- every time...|
|another roadside attraction...|
|bridge soaked in history|
|making hungry time|
|da kine ono grinds|
|FOOD!!! Bring it|
|so da kine|
|fruits of hard labor|
|that's right. for da kine deposit- jungle style|
|no one going to be asking what kine milk you take with your coffee here...|
|pretty in pink|
|gargoyles enjoying the day|
|more... wait for it... awesomeness...|
|its so ridiculous how beautiful Maui is...|
|sleepy Wailua village with a sweet surf break I hear|
|eyes hurt so beautiful da island|
So we hit up Wainapanapa:
|road stays so kapakai (crooked) here...|
|caves, waterfalls, black sand beaches- Wainapanapa has it all. Campground too!|
|peek-a-boo. I spy beautiful black sand beach calling out to me & Simone|
|anticipation... climbing down the slope to reach the beach is half the fun|
|surreal I know.|
|Simone searching for perfection. More on that later...|
|feelings of admiration for my 808 State of Mind...|
|it really is this good here...|
|we swam in the caves too *COLD WATER*|
I had to visit Chuck & Martha out Koali side. I don't know what happened to the pictures. There seems to be some lost ones *damn camera malfunction* Simone, do you remember if I took any pics in Koali? I know I was a bit loopy & all with all the islands delightful samplings, but... WTF!!! heh heh.
|leaving Chuck & Martha's|
|miss my truck...|
|yea, the camera is fuzzy. It's not me... All I can say is that everything is ALWAYS better after leaving Chuck & Martha's place...|
We cruised Backside too:
|Maui via Italy...|
|art studio overflow|
|beauty everywhere- can one possibly overdose on beauty?|
|our Backside host Piero|
|leading nowhere in particular, yet everywhere within the unlimited mindspace|
|even the plumbing is stunning|
|every epicure's dream kitchen|
|room with a view|
|favorite bridge & peeps in the know know...|
|getting down in the jungle|
|we had it all to ourselves|
|birds eye view of sky-crotch|
|on the road again|
|making tracks Backside|
So, this is what i did on my summer vacation Part I. Now, just remember:
|again, just do it, whenever you can...|