Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wild Beauty to be Tamed

Recently, I had the horror of noticing my reflection in the mirror. What I noticed was a girl looking back at me that looked like she hadn’t seen sun in about oh...twenty years and not only that but she sure looked like she could benefit from adventure. So, I went and diagnosed myself as having lack-of-adventure-sickness and a serious lack of sun-basking. I decided to take a vacation for “health reasons.” ‘Ah, a nice non-relaxing vacation full of adventure will do,’ I thought brightly to myself.

I managed to bamboozle my roommate into joining me by sulking around engulfed in a deep depression and frequently mentioning what fun a tropical vacation would be.... And before we knew it, we were setting foot in the very outdated airport - think big hunks of concrete and varnished red brick that gives one a desperate longing for the 70’s and a far away dewy look in the eyes. Yeah yeah, smartypants, we went to Maui, Hawaii! Kowabunga! (sorry, I just had to add that).

As proper adventurers we were not put up in some fancy hotel resort type of outfit. We found ourselves down at the local budget hostel which was occupied by a collection of ragged backpackers, fellow adventurers, a few surfers and absolutely no honeymooners.

There are a vast amount of reasons why one would enjoy a tropical vacation. One could mention things like beaches, hammocks, pina coladas, snorkeling, ivory sand and sunshine. But what has always drawn me to the tropics is the rainy jungle. Yeah, now ya know,I like the jungle. What of it? In my mind, it’s where things happen. It’s this wild uncultivated lush green land with lots of exotic animals and plant life. It’s where Puma’s pounce, new medicines are uncovered, where Tarzan met Jane and began an illicit affair, and of course, where much of the show Lost takes place. (Now how can one mention the jungle in this modern age with the exclusion of Lost, it would be scandalous to do such a thing).

So in order to indulge myself in Jungle pursuit, we drove right on through it utilizing the notorious Hana Highway.


Why did I put this in caps? Simple. It is one of the few things I’ve com across in the acquisition of volumes of knowledge and wisdom (tee hee hee) that truly merits an all caps title. Yeah, you should go there.

The Hana Highway is this winding topsy turvy road through the jungle and through northeast Maui. It has oodles of measly one lane bridges and cars are obligated to yield cordially to one another (and curtsy) whilst they wait their turn to go over the rickety bridge (constructed in 1911 or some other out of date date). We made a point of stopping and eating a coconut mango smoothie and banana bread. Then we puttered along in our tiny white rental car stopping at various waterfalls until well, we were a bit waterfalled out. Nevertheless, we did manage to get several photos which will have the caption “Me under a waterfall.”

After we were all tired out, we of course managed to meander up some trail deep into the Hawaiian forest. Now what makes this hike so especially memorable is that it was partially through a bamboo forest. As I was hiking I was trying my very best to put into words what a bamboo forest sounds like when the wind blows through it. This is what I came up with: it sounds like a broken xylophone being hit upon by a piece of bamboo and various notes, harmonics and melodies are played. And this tune is accompanied with a peculiar smell. A smell not dissimilar to tropical tree sap mixed with rain and a bit of guava. Truly an elating experience! I think I’ll put it in my book that will be titled “100 Things to do Before you Die.”

Now the drive gets a bit stranger after all this. We eventually found ourselves in the southeast side of the island which is quite different from the northeast. There were no evil jungle princes, mermaids or other such nonsense here. Actually there was not a thing there. Perhaps a few mountain goats trying to find some thistle for mid-afternoon tree (isn’t that clever?!). We drove by a lonely church and that’s about it. Not the mention the bumpy rather road where it appeared that someone said “oh lets pave the road, which tiny plot?” And then they closed their eyes and threw hunks of wet asphalt at the road which eventually dried and became a nice bump to bump over in your tiny white budget rental car.

And then we topped it all off at The Big Beach. The End. (for now)

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