Still with my plethora of pics from our family trip, I’m back to share more. (And there will be more in one or two posts after this one!) As mentioned a couple of posts back, there were some precious places of personal/historical interest on Maui that I wanted to show Callaghan. There were surprises awaiting me, as well. For instance, there’s now a Target in Kahului, Mom’s hometown. It’s the first and only Target on Maui, and it looks like that proverbial sore thumb. Long gone are the days of unpaved roads, of Grandma’s backyard growing wilder the deeper my brother and I plowed through until we found ourselves in a dirt clearing beneath trees, surrounded by strange and colorful sights. The fairgrounds! Grandma’s backyard was a Lewisesque wardrobe with wondrous surprises on the other side; it would have us tearing through the overgrowth back to the house to ask Mom for small money.
Now, there’s a chain-link fence back there beyond which looms a large, round concrete structure. Something industrial that looks like a race track from the outside.
But the Guri Guri place is still there at Maui Mall, so all’s right with the world, as Browning would say. We took Callaghan there because Tasaka Guri Guri is a must-visit! We used to walk there. Guri Guri is a mysterious frozen dessert whose nature could best be described as a sherbet with cream. You would think that’d make it an ice cream, except it’s definitely not… it can’t be described (the best of us have tried). Guri Guri was a favorite treat for my brother and me, though I don’t eat it anymore. It’s a small, family-owned business, and by family, I mean that the Tasaka family has fervently guarded their recipe and refused the notion of expansion. Tasaka’s remains more a lemonade stand than a commercial business. That recipe will go with them to their graves.
Speaking of graves, the first place we visited after Mom and Dad picked us up from the airport was the Maui Memorial Park in Wailuku, where my Mom’s family has their plots. We went to take flowers to my Grandparents. Callaghan had the honor of dividing and arranging the flowers while Dad stood with a foot over the sprinkler, shielding us from the violent and far-reaching spray of water; Mom observed the flower-arranging, my brother cleaned off the flower receptacles, and I went stalking the nene who were wandering about the grounds. I had to get some pics, you see.
The nene are the state bird of Hawaii. Pronounced “nay-nay,” this magnificent species of Hawaiian goose had its name long before the dance craze.
I also wanted to show Callaghan the Buddhist temple where my Grandparents were heavily involved. They were devout Jodo Shinshu Buddhists, as is tradition in my family… and, as such, the temple was an important part of our lives. At home in California, we attended our local Jodi Shinshu temple, but my butsudan came from this temple in Kahului. Grandpa had been a carpenter, and he’d refurbished the donated butsudan especially for me.
A disheartening change: sugar cane production in Hawaii has officially come to an end. We drove by the cane fields in Puunene near Grandma’s house (Mom was born at the hospital in Puunene) and beheld smoke from the last fire that would burn in the fields, and then the last steam pouring out of the factory pipes. After this harvest cycle, it’s all over, sugar cane farming in Hawaii. The sugar cane fields in the Kahului area on Maui are the last to go, and they’re already gone, the dead growth just a field of rubbish.
I love Mom’s recounting of Grandpa bringing home leftover raw sugar cane for her and her sister and brothers. They also procured some themselves: they would stop on their way through the cane fields (on the Big Island, Dad, too, had to walk through the sugar cane fields to get to school), where they’d cut a stalk, peel it, and divide it into sections. Then they’d each have a piece to chew and suck out the sugar syrup before spitting out the pulp.
The next time we go to Maui, we plan to go to the sugar cane museum to visit the history of the sugar cane industry in the islands… now that it’s a thing of the past.
[Aside: Hawaiian pidgin was developed as a result of foreign immigrants working with native Hawaiians at the sugar cane plantations; they needed a common language in order to communicate. Pidgin derives mostly from Hawaiian, American English, Samoan, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, Filipino, and Korean.]
What else? We went to a luau, the Old Lahaina Luau (it was one of the two times we ventured into Lahaina). We went with the wedding party a couple of days before the wedding, which was also on Lahaina (on a boat from Lahaina, that is). The luau and the wedding were joyous, and it was wonderful getting to know new family and friends!
For Callaghan and me, one of the highlights was getting to spend time with our nephew, Rudy, who is an awe-inspiring human being and one of the best people I know. It was just a wonderful family trip, brief as it was. Every minute of it was special.
In my next post, I’ll include pics from the road to Hana, and also from the haleakala volcano crater, two of Maui’s many special features that I thought Callaghan would enjoy.
Here are a few pics from some of the above-mentioned:
Tired and bedraggled, but there! Mom and Dad were armed with sushi for us to eat on our way to the Maui Memorial Park. Mine was brown rice and veggies.
The cremains of most of Mom’s family are here.
The nene are such magnificent birds! They evolved to adapt to a lava environment.
The Buddhist temple where my Grandparents spent many hours each day, and where we went when we were staying with them.
Next stop, Tasaka’s!
The Target there in Kahului looks so strange. We did not have reason to go inside.
Driving by the final sugar cane harvest in Hawaii. I’m glad we were there to see it.
The luau was a blast! I had nothing luau-y to wear, so I just wore all black. But it made the lei stand out, right?
Rudy is The Man! We love our nephew to the moon and back.
My brother’s wedding took place on this boat on the last day of our trip. The sun set while we ate dinner; the lights on the Lahaina coast in the dark of night were beautiful. After leaving the boat, we walked through Historic Lahaina Town to get shave ice from a side-street shave ice place. (I enjoyed Callaghan’s shave ice vicariously through him, as I didn’t order one.)
This pic of me at the wedding was cropped from one with Mom by my side. She does not want to appear online, so you get only the half with Yours Truly.
What would Hawaii be without its rainbows?
All pau! (The end.)