Published: March 11th 2009February 3rd 2009
Hilo hotel and Coconut Island
Taken from the incoming plane before we knew about them!
I don't know what you did but when we got home, we spent hours looking at the pictures on the little screen on our camera. The other hours for several days we slept! Took us a week to finally get back in synch. I was chicken about transferring the pictures to my computer. I didn't want to lose the capacity to magnify parts of pictures (birds, especially).
A friend finally helped me make the transfer, find the pictures in the "Shared File" where they settled on my computer, and work with the Kodak Easyshare program.
Then Marty started sending her travel blog. She had such a good time with it that I asked her how to do it. She got me started and I have been absorbed ever since in telling of our adventures and reliving moments through words and pictures.
Ann wanted to have the pictures on her computer but its hard drive was too small. I transferred them to a CD disk so Ann could see them on her computer and she spent the rest of that evening engrossed in looking, remembering, and commenting. We have both really enjoyed reminiscing.
When you get right down
Ann's favorite picture
She wanted to show how a ledge could fracture on the ocean shore.
to it, we had a fiftieth anniversary trip that really gave us so much that it has spilled over for weeks. Lucky you! Lucky us.
Let me tie up some loose ends.
I did get to see whales off in the distance (the way nearly everyone else in our group did) the day after our trip to Kilaueia Lighthouse.
Kilaueia Light House is on the island of Kaua'i and not on Kilaueia volcano which is on the Big Island.
Our second hula session was on Thursday the 29th. We were actually pretty good that night.
I did not mention Noni fruit. It is nutritious but we were told that it is being over-hyped for the good it can do. Orange juice is about as good and is a lot cheaper.
"Paniolos" is Hawai'ian for "cowboys." So non-Hispanics are paniolos too. Some Hawai'ian paniolos have become champions on the national rodeo circuit.
One of the mysteries that I wondered about was the matter of top soil on the islands of Hawai'i. When we traveled in the West Indies some years ago, we learned that the top soil there came from
We saw this display at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Africa. I know dust storms can put dirt high enough into the atmosphere that it might carry around the earth several times before settling out. But there seemed to be no reference to that African dirt anytime during our Elderhostel. Yet it was obvious that there were soils which allowed crops like sugar cane.
"Dirt," I learned as a young person, was the result of erosion of mountains, plus moisture (freezing and warming), plant roots breaking rock, plant matter adding mulch, and earthworms. The revelation that dirt flew in from another continent was quite startling. Maybe one of these days I will discover how much, if any, of Hawai'i's soils are endemic (from nowhere else).
The first day of our program, Ted Coombs who wrote the book BANYAN DRIVE spoke rather negatively about one of the banyan tree planters. (Remember that a tradition formed in which banyan trees from India were planted by celebrities along the drive back to hotels next to Hilo Bay.) I was surprised about Ted's comments (see Update below). Toyohiko Kagawa, as I knew of him, was not the apologist for Japan that Ted made him out to be. As a pacifist,
One group photo
We did poorly trying to photograph during meals.
Kagawa never endorsed the war between Japan and the US.
Ted may have seen some documents that the writers of the books I read while I was in seminary did not see so I cannot assert here that he is wrong. He got material from Hawai'ian print media from the mid 1930s. While I haven't seen them, I can imagine they misinterpreted Kagawa. But I shouldn't judge until I've seen them myself.
Ted apparently never heard how the rich uncle mistreated the boy after taking custody upon the boy's parents' death. Ted did get the rest of Kagawa's story right, like the parts about the young man becoming desparately ill and becoming mostly blind while working among the poor in Japan's slums. Ted also gave credit for gaining voting rights for men and then for women, and for being a part of the transition team working with Americans at the close of WWII. Take out a few sentences from Ted Coombs' chapter and it is not hard to see how Kagawa was a Nobel candidate and is widely regarded in the mainline Protestant churches as a saint.
I found the Coombs book a delightful read. You get
Surfer with board
Click on the picture to enlarge so you can see him better.
He was starting as we were leaving.
to understand so much about how the contemporary Hawai'ian ethos developed by reading about some of the characters of the past century, not just the tree planters.
Update: See Ted Coombs' comment below. I removed the word "disparaging" from my text because that
was not his intent.
When I learned of the early missionaries to Hawai'i transcribing the native language, I thought of Frank Laubach who used that same principle some years later as he and missionaries went into many parts of the world. By teaching non-literate cultures to read first in their own language then in any others they might learn, literacy became a reality world wide. His techniques for teaching people to read are still used in literacy programs around the United States and the world! And that ball started rolling in Hawai'i.
Probably the most striking story to me was one that didn't fit into the narrative of the Elderhostel. Rob told some of us in the van he drove that Easter Island "died" because of the sweet potato.
I've always been interested in what caused the disappearance of whole populations of people who seemed to have been doing
We had much better luck photographing nature.
very well. I think especially of the dwellers of the pueblos on the walls of cliffs in the Southwest. Their culture is known by what's left behind after they abandoned their homes. And that is not much. Among the theories is that they had been successful corn farmers until their fields dried in the course of climatic cycles.
I was surprised to hear Rob start his story the way he did.
It seems that south sea islanders brought their main crops with them whenever they explored the oceans looking for new homes on islands that were open for settlement.
The ones who found Easter Island discovered that their crops did well there, especially their staple, the sweet potato. They did so well that tribal leaders had sufficient leisure to establish more sophisticated values in art and ceremony. Competition among the leaders to have the best and most was possible because of the agricultural success they had.
One leader decided to do an extreme thing to set him above the others. He had his artisans carve a huge a stone face to mark his lands. The mine where the stone was found was miles from the beach
And palm trees
Taken at Sutherlands
so the leader had his people chop down trees to make the rollers necessary to move the giant sculpture.
As each of the other leaders saw this, he would have his own people do the same. Soon the shore was lined with these huge stone heads facing the ocean.
What no one had realized until too late was that the trees which had held the soil for the crops were now gone. The sweet potato could no longer grow and the base of the economy of Easter Island was gone. And so were the people . . ., probably many from starvation at first and finally through emigration to other islands where they did not make the same mistake.
Arrogance took down the Easter Islanders just like it eventually ended the Kapu system.
I guess that's why I liked Rob's story, even if it turns out to be apocryphal. . . .
(For more on Easter Island, go to its website at http://www.netaxs.com/~trance/rapanui.html)
During the T-blog, I rarely have mentioned or pictured other members of our group. That does not mean they were not an important part of our experience. Ann knew
This one flies over the Arizona Memorial.
everyone's name by the end of second day. I've looked through our mostly poor photos of our group and can say we have everyone pictured recognizably in at least one of our several attempts at indoor group pictures.
In my own experience since being home, I have thought I saw Bill Metz, Carol Henderson, or one of the others of our group at a distance every day I've gone shopping. That's a grief reaction, Baby.
One reason, I'm sure, that I spent little time and space on the group is that I have many friends who are interested in what we did and saw, not so much who we were with.
Another reason could be that I was not "in the game" as most of the rest of the group was.
What may have been going on in me during much of the three weeks was a kind of "shyness" which grew out of being in a people profession for over forty years. After retiring, both Ann and I enjoyed having only minimal and simple contacts with other folks. - That's relatively speaking. I belonged to choir and an adult Sunday School class for eight years after our retirement in 1995. Once we moved to Florida, we did not get out much while we cared for Ann's mother. Our routine did not include very many folks. That seemed to work for me. I could be comfortable with very small numbers at a time.
Suddenly in Hawai'i, I felt I was in "people overload."
Maybe part of my desire to share our experience through the T-blog with the Elderhostel group was to reach out in a more friendly way than I may have during the trip.
There you have it, my attempt to share Hawai'i as we experienced it. We cannot say enough about the great work done by the Lyman Museum and Susan McGovern to make the experience so great. You must consider doing an Elderhostel in Hawai'i. Even if you have been there before, you will experience new things and learn so much.
And to those with whom we shared the three weeks, we say "Mahalo" and "Aloha." You all were a blessing.