Sunday Morning ~ Kaneohe, Oahu
Malawa-lawa anapha milomo; citoletole cinaphetsa manja. ~ The one who tastes too much damaged his lips; the one who stole too much damaged his hands.
April 21, 2019
Getting a cheap flight here meant staying until Tuesday. Since I’ve got friends to stay with, this did not seem a hardship. It’s early morning and six hours earlier than the east coast so Easter is well on it’s way there. I’m missing my little grandkids. It’s been an interesting vacation with some challenges resulting from poor planning and outright stupidity on my part.
Last Sunday after our blog writing and breakfast, George and I set out on a four hour hike from a remote spot on the coastal road on the western side of Maui (mile 15.5 to be exact; that’s what went on the police report). We found the trailhead and left the car for the four mile hike up into the mountains there: great views, perfect weather, interesting and dramatic landscape. We descended and approached the car, talking about whether we’d go to lunch or the beach, when I noticed a lot of broken glass on the ground. Glass I hadn’t noticed when we parked. Then saw, with horror, that someone had smashed the driver’s side window and taken the bag that was on the floor behind the drivers seat. My trusty LLBean bag that was packed for our day trip with my bathing suit, journal I’d been keeping for a year with all our travel stories, my watercolor paints, and stupidly my wallet. We’d been to the grocery store and I’d taken it out of my pack to buy some groceries, threw it into the bag with the food and left it there in the car. So dumb. I never do that! I always make sure I’ve got my wallet with me. I was somehow distracted I guess and didn’t think to take it out of that bag. I freaked about that. It had all my credit cards, ATM card, license, checkbook. All the stuff I should not have been carrying around. I figured this was still the United States. I didn’t need to change to a travel wallet like I usually do when traveling overseas. Dumb dumb dumb. George was clearing the glass off the driver’s seat so I could drive (the only one authorized to drive the rental) when a pickup truck with four people and four dogs pulled up and watched us clearing the glass away. They never said a word, just watched us. That was creepy. When we got in the car to leave, they drove off and George took a photo of the truck. As I was pulling out, they pulled in next to us and said, “We saw you take a photo of this truck. Delete it now.” It had a bit of a threatening tone to the demand. I said, we thought they might have some idea who did this and could help when we made the police report. They said they had no idea, but that it happens all the time to tourists and that we should be more careful. (They had a point there) I asked where the closest police station was, they said Lahaina, so we drove back to our condo so I could cancel all my cards, then we went to the police. They were very nice but I don’t have much hope anything will get recovered. Then we headed back to the airport to get a different car. Fortunately they had a copy of my license and that along with the police report is sufficient to drive here. It seems they have experience with this.
The car was a thief magnet. When I was reserving a car I put in for the usual compact, cheapest thing they had. But then I saw that a convertible was only slightly more expensive ($3) so thought, what the heck? We’ll be on sunny Maui, why not treat ourselves and ride around in style? Top down, sunglasses on, hair blowing in the breeze, smiles on our tanned faces as we enjoy our romantic reunion. Well, that was a total bust. Another dumb idea. George burns easily and it was too much sun. And we looked like privileged tourists who are stupid enough to leave a bag visible while hiking in a remote place. Ugh. Live and learn. We didn’t leave the car again unless it was in a crowded place.
So there was that. The people at the rental car place were very nice though.
The wedding was beautiful. Picture perfect, loving, and fun. It was a beachy crowd who’d been surfing and snorkeling and taking advantage of the surroundings. People were in good moods and enjoying themselves. After the morning-after brunch people were setting off for their individual plans. We were going camping. We love to camp and the photos of the place with tents on the beach looked perfect. I found it on booking.com so didn’t have a doubt that it was legitimate. Well, I was wrong again. No such place exists, and they’d already charged my (now defunct) credit card. We spent several hours trying to find the place and contact the property when the address seemed wrong. Finally we had to admit it was a scam after inquiring at neighboring places. They told us nothing like this exists. So it was a sheepish call to my Samoan friends asking if we could come back there for a couple of nights. Everything else was full. They were wonderful and gracious and it was fun to be with them. A minor shift in expectations was all it took to salvage what was left of the trip together. We started driving with them up to the Haleakala Crater with bikes in the back of the truck. A really cool thing to do is drive up and ride bikes down (36 miles). Tour companies charge loads of bucks to do this, but here we were with friends arranging it for us for free! Then the truck overheated and we couldn’t make it up the road to the top. We spent the next few hours getting the truck back down to their house, reorganizing and shifting plans for a hike instead of a ride and went back up in the rental car. We were starting to feel like people should avoid us as we were jinxing everything we came in touch with. Fortunately the wedding was not affected through there was a rain shower that might not have happened if we weren’t there.
Being here has made me think about American colonialism. These islands are so dramatically beautiful and rich but so much of the landscape is scarred with condos and strip malls and traffic. It depresses me. I feel like we’ve destroyed this place. Parts are protected, thank God, but it does seem smothered by greed and a disappearing ecosystem. Getting robbed seems to have darkened my mood though part of me feels it was justified somehow. There’s a huge glaring line between the haves and have nots. I wish I had my journal back though. I’m imagining it held the best stories ever written. I wonder if anyone is reading it or if they just threw it all away and took the cash. I had about ten more pages to fill and thought I’d do that on this trip. Oh well.
Never a cross without a resurrection. That’s what Irene, the woman I worked for in the tailor shop in Maynard used to say whenever anything bad happened. She was the most positive person I’ve ever met and one who’d suffered many crosses. As a high school student I loved this optimistic view she had. I’d used it as a mantra in life when things went wrong. It was rather zen in her Catholic way.
Love to all,