So here I am on this dark, warm, rainy night. Here I am on Maui. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I arrived to its shores late last night. Instant relief. Not to dwell on the fact that it took nearly 48 hours of air travel, but... well it took nearly 48 hours of air travel...
I was walking through Makawao town this morning heading down to Paia to take care of some things that I do once a year on this soujourn back home and thought about the scene that was taking place; the smells wafting through the air. This was so incredible to try to decipher each individual scent; Plumerias, freshly cut grass in one yard, sweet grasses, etc.
I moved on to just take pleasure in the visual array of local style homes I was passing by. Pele's hair hanging from the fence of one house so thick that it covered the chain link fence. I entertained the thought of taking a cutting or two for myself and L-fezz for our Istanbul apartments, and I might still take it upon myself to accomplish this task... The colors of the modest homes. The plants growing in haphazard mazes that are so happy because of the perfect weather Hawaii experiences all year long. The various states of cars parked in the yards ranging from local style to local style beaters; some with plants growing in/around/on them as if the vines were taking prisoner these odd metal heaps.
Roosters crowing, or whatever it is called that they do. Dogs barking. One can almost hear the flower petals bursting forth in the rush to display such beauty and await the eventual falling of dewdrops atop. Trees rustling from light breezes.
Yes so anyway this is my reality here. It's a really sweet reality that I thirst for when not around honestly. I was thinking about this as I walked. I looked up and saw a 'tweaker' (a rather endearing yet disturbing term for a drug user here having an apt description of their behavior) coming towards me. I kind of chuckled a bit as, well, it just seems to Maui. We both looked up at each other briefly and did the total Maui-style acknowledgment of one another by barely shaking our heads upwards. Yes, I really felt home in that moment.
I continued on my journey. Once I hit the intersection of Makawao and Baldwin Avenues, I turned downhill to head to Paia- my HQ for everything on this island really. I gently stuck out my left thumb in the requisite "hey, can you give me a lift" position and continued walking. I walked in this manner for about 10 minutes. Finally, as I passed the vetran's cemetery, a car stopped to pick me up.
What I love about returning to Maui every year is this scene exactly; I am free! I can throw on a tiny dress to cover up my bikini and have a destination in mind and just go. Someone will pick me up. We will have interesting conversations and make a connection for about 10-15 minutes and then BAM, I'm out of the car and we each go on about our lives as we see fit. It is a beautiful thing, this type of freedom. I never had this freedom the nearly 20 years I lived here because I had a car and worked, etc. Now I get to see Maui in a different lens. I have effectively adjusted THE kaleidoscope. Man is it fun.
She was a bit older than me. She greeted me and moved the stuff off of her front seat- as all rides do. Again, this is so Maui to me. It makes me smile. I plopped down and we were on our way. She looks at me and says, "I didn't think you were going to smell of body odor so I decided to pick you up!" I laughed. We both laughed. She further offered, "I stopped picking up hitchhikers years ago because I got tired of the B.O."
We then got into our oratory styles of offering little anecdotes of our current purposes in life, etc. As she digested my story of just arriving back to Maui shores after living in the Middle East for 2 years, her eyes hungrily told me she wanted more. I was happy to oblige. I listened to her story as well. We talked politics. We talked about how we have both been on Maui for so long (her 30 years), and we just talked story. Once in Paia town she was, of course, trying to find the ever elusive parking spot and I offered to just jump out there because that was going to take some time.
Poof I was gone. Poof she was gone. Just like that. In a Maui minute, we parted. Hitchhiking is fun like that. I meet the most interesting people, and I meet the most normal people. But, you know what, everybody has a story and everybody like to be a storyteller as well as a listener. So yes, this has become most interesting for me getting around Maui in summers now.
I did my business (taxes and banking for the previous and upcoming year) and then headed to Mana Foods, of course. Mana Foods is an ethnographic study at any time of day/night. I love this place so much. It is THE coolest health food store on the planet. It has had several metamorphoses throughout the years and it is a slightly different entity at my every return. I simply LOVE to roam the aisles and soak in the sights; the different juices, health remedies, juices, hot foods, etc. Just everything. I could go crazy on a shopping spree here, and I do- every year. Man did it feel good to buy my beloved Acai frozen packets so I can make the most incredible breakfast in the world. I mean I am addicted to these Acai bowls. I am addicted to Mana Foods.
As I'm figuring out my food for the next few days I, of course, run into Big Bruce. He is one of the first peeps I run into every year. It is so refreshing to see him and reconnect. We chatted amid all the chatty peeps in Mana and fought our way through the crowd vying for the prime spot in front of the salad bar fixings. I asked him what he was doing. He was just off work and getting ready to head up the hill back to Makawao. I eagerly said I was too so I would join him in a hitchhiking festival!
We headed out together and started walking to his 'spot'. Now Big Bruce has been hitchhiking this route for nearly 30 years and has the 'wasta' like no other hitchhiker on island. This I am sure of. Within 30 seconds our ride stopped. One of his regulars, Thomas. We hopped in and I continued my current story about the Tajikistan job. Other highlights were: Gobekli Tepe, Iran, Islam, Maui, etc. Again, another great encounter with a complete stranger sharing a few words among miles.
That's all folks. I feel a jet lag episode coming on! Tomorrow (today) is here and there are more Maui roads to cover. I'll give a preview for you all of my tomorrow (today) upcoming adventures: a ride into Wailuku town in the morning. A walk to Ka`ahumanu Center to get my Maui sim card in working order again. A Maui Bus ride to Paia. A visit with Guga at work and pick up my mail for the past year. A walk to Baldwin Beach so I can sit still and read my current read, Shantaram. From there, who knows. The world is my muse and my thumb is in working order.