Jul 30, 2009

July 29th, 2009

Last night on Oahu. Finally took an Oahu tour and saw the North Shore, where the crazy surfers try the big Alaskan born waves during January and February. Looked like a beach, nothing more; we were told to imagine how "it might look" during those months.... but none of us "Tourons" were impressed. It was a cool trip though, allowing one to see some of the wildlife, and topography of most of the Island. I really liked hanging out in the "North Shore", in the surfing mecca town of Hale'iwa. This is the biggest town on the North Shore, and is a direct contrast to Waikiki. It was a laid back town full of surfers, and the businesses they prey on the commerce, that world class surfing brings. None of that "Waikiki sparkle"could be found there, just a town of a few thousand surrounded by sparsely populated beaches with a mere farm road, called a "highway", which links the rest of Oahu to the great Honolulu metro area.

We saw the rain forests on the "Eastern Shore", which were beautiful, but the "Byodo-In Buddhist temple", was the most spectacular place I've witnessed since I've been on the island. Being a life long student of Buddhism, this place was truly special. Inside (remember to remove shoes), was a 20 foot copper statue of Guatama Buddha, with the great bronze bell and ringing log, situated farther outside the Temple, amongst beautiful gardens and koi ponds. When someone would ring the bell (I rang it!), a soft clear "Ommmm" sound, could be heard with the sounds of birds and the universe. I did the full spiritual insence lighting thing, similar to what is done at the Cathedrals I've been in. Cathedrals feel just as holy, but nothing as beautiful as this temple compound was. This is the first Buddhist temple I've ever been to, and certainly will not be the last. The vibes were indescribable. Sometimes one needs to just chill and contemplate their existance, no matter what their beliefs are. This place really appealed to me as a place to do that.

We also saw a dead looking sea turtle basking on the beach, with a red rope cordoned around it, and 50 tourists snapping pictures at it. The turtle looked dead, but didn't seem to notice the crowd. The guide said that often, there are many more laying around that place, instead of one turtle; they were not captive at all, but totally wild.

On the way back to Waikiki, we drove thru pineapple fields, coffee fields, saw Pearl Harbor from a distance, and traveled thru the main city of Honolulu from West to East, including Chinatown, the Hawaiian Royal Palace, and the Statue of King Kamehameha. All of these I was planning to see tomorrow, but now I won't have to! As many of you know, the only two states that were once Independent Countries, were Texas, and Hawaii. In 1893; a few sugar barons, with US backing, held the Queen of Hawaii at gunpoint, and made her sign the treaty which gave her country to the US. Imagine that???? Hawaii was an independent country for over 80 years before this. Hate to bring up ugly facts, but I find it important to educate people, so history never repeats itself.

Once home, I did my nightly baptism in the "wonder jacuzzi" (I hope I can find a way to live without it), then ordered dinner and spent some time discussing Hawaii with my favorite waitress, who is a native of "Hilo" from the Big Island. Cheap land can still be found near Hilo, and I would love nothing more than to retire on a couple acres, with a garden and some chickens, in a place where I could swim in the sea to my hearts content. But I am probably just dreaming.
I would never dream of a place and actually make the move to live there someday .

As a student of the world, and of different people and other cultures, one can get bored once, everything there is to know about a place is reached. I love learning about different lands and cultures, and Hawaii has the best of it all. While some think of New York City, as the ultimate "Melting Pot", the different races are still mainly segregated in NYC by choice. In Hawaii, many are nearly mixed together. Few purebred "Native Hawaiians" exist anymore. They are a mixture of Hawaiian, European, Black, Chinese, Japanese, Filapino, and many other races. Generally, you have little idea as to their ancestry. The locals, whom I've spent some time getting to know, speak a version of all the languages above... known as "Pidgin", which is very hard to understand, but they keep it simple just for me... Ever seen the movie "Blade Runner" with Harrison Ford from the early 80's? The film-maker's version of future America, was a place similar to this. In fact: It was exactly like this. This is nice because I see very little racism here in Hawaii. Hawaii is a breath of fresh air from what I've experienced my entire life in the mainland. Even in the near perfect place I presently live, there are huge undertones of racism. I have seen very little of it here, and I spent most of my time, meeting and talking to the local folks like I always seem to do, no matter where I am. Societies and cultures have always fascinated me, and Oahu is the most interesting place I've been.