Saturday, September 27, 2008

Smoking Dreams

I've been dreaming all week that I've started smoking again. I wake up feeling crushed, and can't believe that I fell & have to go through all that suffering again. But I also dreamt that I had great hair, fabulous hair even, and I think: how is that possible, when I cut my own hair in the mirror? And that's how I realize I've been dreaming.

I don't even feel any cravings or temptations during my waking hours. It's nine months since I quit for real, and six months since I cheated. And I'm feeling great, though my cardio still isn't normal. We did one-man outrigger time trials this morning, and I was like the little duckling waddling behind the pack. Everyone came in around 30 minutes, give or take a minute. Then there was P. at 35, and me at 36 minutes. Yikes. For our 3.2 mile run I was 39 minutes; I think the rest of `em have been under 30 so far. I've gotten big since I quit, in a good way, but I think people look at me now and think that I am in far better shape than I actually am.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lost World

I just want my country back.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ghetto Child, A Pááfeng Wedding, and the Fall of Troy

She looks so innocent. Don't be deceived. This child is twenty-five pounds of trouble. Daddy went AWOL Saturday morning, and Emily and I had a wedding to attend. We threw a dress on her and assumed custody for the day.

Emily is now living in another ghetto, but it's just like all the other ones: rows of concrete walk-ups on a barren hillside, this time in Kalihi. I don't know what slum lords have against trees on this island; a touch of shade would make everyone's life here more bearable.

I went inside their hotbox to use the restroom. The child had a "progress card" from her social worker taped to the door. K- uses two hands to drink her bubble drink. She handles the straw well. Goal for next week is to have her continue to manipulate objects.

Social Workers certainly set the bar low when they deal with the poor. The child is wild, but she is not mentally challenged. If this is the most we expect from her, then she is pretty much doomed.

But expecting more takes energy. Lots of energy. The Ghetto Child threw her first tantrum when I wouldn't let her get a press-on tattoo at Longs. I told her that she was not going to win an argument with me, so she could just save her breath. That didn't work. The tantrum continued when she wouldn't hold my hand to cross the parking lot, and escalated into full blown war when I told her that she absolutely would wear a seat belt in the car.

Ten minutes into this and I was over it. I went from vaguely empathic to declaring martial law. You will sit here, and you will wear the seat belt. No threats, no begging, just one scary-daddy voice. She froze, and spent the next hour crying softly to herself.

Fine with me. She behaved the rest of the day, and asked to move in with me by the end of it. So: I won.

On to the wedding. I never did figure out exactly who the lucky couple was - just that they were part of the clan and therefore family.

Emily, doing alright once Child was taken care of.

There was lots of dancing and singing. One of the things I like about the Pááfeng is that they haven't been completely Christianized. The other Chuukese communities seem to spend all their time praying. It's non-stop Church for them.

The Pááfeng Islanders thank God, and then bring on the dancing girls. I like this style better. Adult women will sit cross-legged and call out the beat. The younger girls dance Tahitian style - most of the traditional Chuukese dances have been forgotten here. And I guess that's ok; Micronesians re-taught the Polynesians how to navigate by wave and star, and now the Polynesians have re-taught the Micronesians how to dance. The adults will also spray the dancers with perfume, and stuff dollar bills into their clothes. I don't think that last part is Tahitian.

And then we ate. This was serious business. Notice how no one is carrying a normal paper plate - these guys bring troughs to their picnics.

Maruchu with lunch.

So after that I was ready to hibernate. I'm still not very good with the language, and between being a dad and not speaking English all day I was beat. That, and I had just finished reading Fagles' translation of the Iliad, and I was hooked. It was slow going, and at times too bloody to really enjoy ... but there was also some beautiful and stunning poetry there. It's basically the story of a holocaust, of how the Achaeans and a few angry goddesses united to destroy the sacred city of Troy. I never realized that the Iliad was a tragedy; I never realized that the Trojans were the more civilized, and the more tragic., of the civilizations. These new translations of the Odyssey and the Iliad have really opened my eyes to why Homer is so famous, and so immortal.

So I was feeling overly inspired, and went to Borders and grabbed all the 'sequels.' The rest of the great epics have been lost, but the Classical Greek dramatists - Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides - all wrote plays detailing what happened after the fall of Troy. And my plan was to disconnect on Sunday, to turn off my email and phone, and to curl up on the couch and disappear back into the Bronze Age and find out what happened to Andromache after she was sold into slavery, or how the doomed queen Hecuba took her revenge, or how the curse on the house of Atreus played out.

I started with Euripides. And I remember why I was so bored with these guys in high school. The poetry of Homer just soared; these guys - at least in the Penguin Classics translation of Euripides - just plod along. It's painful. I'm familiar with the characters, so it's just barely interesting enough to read. I just wish we had poets to translate these works instead of a bunch of dry professors of classical lit. Next up is Ted Hughes' translation of the Orestia, and I have higher hopes for him.

I picked up the Aeneid too, and I heard this is a great translation. I want to save it until I travel - it would make a nice heavy book for the plane. We'll see if I have any self control.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mole Verde for an Army

I just finished up the first half of the pork in mole verde I'd made for the women's race a few weeks back. The other half is still in the freezer. I only used one pork shoulder, but the dish was so rich that a little went a long ways. I based the pork on Diane Kennedy's Cochinita Pibil recipe, and based the mole on Karen Hursh Graber's chicken in mole recipe on Mexico Connect.

Not mine, but it looks close enough

This, for the record, is similar to the mole verde that put my sister-in-law into labor. I wanted to make papadzules, a Mayan enchilada in pumpkin-seed sauce that I had in Mexico City, but I haven't been able to find a good recipe. The mole verde is close, and the pepitas /tomatillo / chile combination is luxurious. And the cochinita gives a pork that is really close to Hawaii's kalua pork - one that's better than anything you can get at the store.

As usual, the amounts here are a guess.

  • 10 pounds pork shoulder, fat left on
  • 6 teaspoons salt
  • 12 tablespoons citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange mix)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 24 peppercorns
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked black Turkish pepper
  • ti leaves
Night Before
Pierce the pork, then rub with salt and 1/3 of the citrus.

Grind the whole spices. Sift in a fine strainer, then grind what's left.

In a molcajete grind the garlic, paprika, pepper, and salt. Add the rest of the citrus juice and the grated lime peel. Add to other spices to form a thick paste. Coat the pork with the paste.

Line a dutch oven with ti leaves. Place the pork on top, and wrap with rest of ti. Marinate overnight.


Add about 1/2 cup to 1 cup water. Cook in a 325 degree oven, basting frequently, for 3-5 hours (until meat is falling apart).


  • 1.5 cups pepitas. Toast, grind, sift, regrind until powdery
  • 16 tomatillos, cut into quarters
  • 1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 8 serrano chiles, partially seeded
  • 8 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded
  • 8 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 6 sprigs cilantro
  • 6 sprigs parsely (or epazote, if I can ever find it)
  • 1 bunch radish leaves
  • liquid from the pork
  • lard
Boil tomatillos, onion, garlic, and serranos for 5 minutes. Drain. Add to cuisinart and blend. Add poblanos, lettuce, and radish leaves. Blend. Add herbs and pepitas. Blend.

Heat lard. Add mole. Thin with juices from the pork. Reduce heat, and simmer for thirty minutes or longer. Season with salt.


Shred pork. Heat lard in pan. Fry pork. Add mole. Simmer another thirty minutes until flavors have blended.

This makes enough for 40 or more. It's a lot! I don't know how to reduce it, since the pork shoulder is so big.
Next up: Haulani and I have set our Chirstmas party for December 19. I want to try one of the other seven classical moles, but ... since I'll be coming back from Brazil ... a feijoada might be in order. I'll make sure to try a lot of them while I'm down there.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ayau Results

Maunalua Bay to Nanakuli Beach Park

Team Name State Div Time
Lanikai - Koa Hawaii ALL KOA 4:11:45
Kui Lanakila Pa'a Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:17:17
Kailua 2 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:21:50
Outrigger Koa 1 Hawaii ALL KOA 4:23:06
Hui Nalu 1 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:24:24
Lanikai 3 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:27:09
Hui Lanakila Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:30:01
Kai Opua Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:32:54
Outrigger 40 Hawaii MASTERS 40+ 4:33:34
Waikiki Beach Boys 1 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:35:22
Keahiakahoe Black Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:36:15
Manu O Ke Kai Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:37:10
Kailua 1 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:37:12
Outrigger Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:37:58
Healani Blue Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:41:03
Lanikai 1 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:46:02
Kailua 50 Hawaii MASTERS 50+ 4:46:30
Hui Nalu 40 Hawaii MASTERS 40+ 4:48:02
Anuenue 2 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:48:56
Hui Nalu 2 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:49:51
Hui Nalu / Team Bradley Hawaii MASTERS 55+ 4:51:06
Leeward Kai Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:51:38
Lanikai 2 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 4:55:29
Kailua 40 Hawaii MASTERS 40+ 4:59:10
Waimanalo Hawaii MASTERS 55+ 5:00:23
Waikiki Beach Boys 3 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:01:00
Healani White Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:02:27
Anuenue 1 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:04:34
Lokahi 40 Hawaii MASTERS 40+ 5:05:02
Kamamalahoe Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:05:41
Koa Kai Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:08:18
New Hope 1 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:09:32
Lokahi Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:11:06
Outrigger Koa 2 Hawaii ALL KOA 5:12:11
Koa Kai 55 Hawaii MASTERS 55+ 5:17:07
Lanikai 5 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:17:25
Kamahameha 1 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:19:34
Kai Paha Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:22:16
Waikiki Beach Boys 2 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:22:31
Keahikahoe - White Hawaii MASTERS 40+ 5:28:12
Outrigger 55 Hawaii MASTERS 55+ 5:31:38
Kaneohe Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:37:08
Kai Oni Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:38:15
Imua Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:40:50
Honolulu Pearl Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:42:06
Alapa Hoe 1 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:44:03
New Hope 2 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:47:37
New Hope 3 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:51:48
Koa Kai 3 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:52:06
Kamehameha 2 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 5:55:10
51 New Hope 55 Hawaii MASTERS 55+ 6:20:20
52 Alapa Hoe 2 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 6:32:38
53 Koa Kai 4 Hawaii OPEN GLASS 6:57:44
54 Pure Light Racing Hawaii OPEN GLASS 7:16:21

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Henry Ayau 2008 - Redemption

Our crew did good today in the 32-mile Henry Ayau. We needed it. Mentally, I needed it. I was starting to lose heart in the season, and wondering if I was even cut out for long-distance paddling. I love the culture, I love the guys, I love what it's doing to my body ... but I was seriously suffering in the races. I was tired of being humbled. You reach a point where you're just over it.

Today we ran solid lines. I kept up my strength the whole time (eating every change helped - one change a fruit cup, one change applesauce, poi on one change, etc). I was mostly in seat two and four. I feel good about how I stroked in two. Four was a bit more difficult; I couldn't find the groove as well back there.

In the end we finished in 5:10, roughly. The results should be up tomorrow. It's actually slower than we did last year in our B Crew, but it's hard to compare. The were only small swells, and plenty of areas were flat (though we seemed to ride more than last year). The vog was rough, and you couldn't see Wai`anae for a lot of the race - we just paddled out and into the haze.

The big boys shot ahead, but we caught a great line outside the first buoy and passed lots of canoes. The first change was rough, we lost ground. Gained it back while passing Diamond Head, and then had some great runs going towards Pearl Harbor. Alex took us way outside; I think we were in international waters. There were about three canoes we were battling with. I sailed past one, but couldn't shake the Koa Kai 55+ canoe.

A nuclear sub held up a lot of the boats behind us, and by `Ewa we were pretty much locked in place. We couldnt' catch the boats ahead of us, and then we had some rough spots & Koa Kai and then Lanikai shot ahead.

But it felt good, the whole time. No "what ifs?" or "If onlys." And now I feel a bit refreshed, a bit more prepared for the crossing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

NB 5

I just got back form our neighborhood board meeting. It was better than some - certainly not the worst. We had a record zero members say they were just concerned for the children, although there was one anti-rail comment that was disguised with an "I'm just concerned for the disaabled."

I only had to get blunt once with the divas.

Nothing of import was discussed or decided upon. We will host a candidates forum next Tuesday, though the mayor won't show up and the Board doesn't want him to send a rep (he might send ... and I'm not making this up ... "one of those professional media people" instead, and they "might be smarter than us and make us look stupid," and the Board wasn't going to tolerate that).

At the end Duke Bainum's rep came up to debate with me. He was one of those guys who only speaks in talking points and spin, and who doesn't engage in conversation so much as try to score points. I didn't have the grace to hide my feelings. When he tried to tell me that HOT lanes stopped traffic congestion completely in Tampa and that every single city in the mainland uses HOT lanes - and I clarified and he repeated, every single one - I just threw up my hands, told the ceiling that there was no point talking to this guy, and walked away. How can you debate someone who lies?

Part of it was my disgust at learning that Duke Bainum is Cliff Slater's bitch. I can't believe we're going to get stuck with this guy representing us. And while I'm not a fan of our mayor, the two alternatives in this election are so bad that I'll end up voting for him out of default.

The Stop Rail Now Lobby

I found this on the Fire Dr. Panos Prevedorous website. He's a professor at UH who is trying to pass off his lobbying efforts as academic research. Now he's running for mayor.

And the Stop Rail people? The list says it all - cement contractors, automobile dealers, taxi and tour companies, and realtors. It's a pretty damming list.

University of Hawaii, Panos Prevedourous

Paradise Cruises, Reg White, Ronald Howard

Charley’s Taxi and Limousine, Dale Evans

Ampco Parking, Steve Choo

Polynesian Hospitality, Lawson Teshima

Generals Contractors Association, Bill Wilson

Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association, Dave Rolf

Hawaii Asphalt & Paving Association, Les Pederson

Cement & Concrete Products Industry of Hawaii, Tom Arnott

Safety Systems, Al Kanno

Hawaii Transportation Association, Gareth Sakakida

Maritime Consultants of the Pacific, Bill Anonsen

Hawaiian Cement, George Stewart

Robert’s Hawaii, Robert Moore

E Noa Tours, Katsumi Tanaka

Grace Pacific, Bob Creps

Ameron, George West

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Jamie Story

Hawaii Activities and Tours Association, Dale Evans, Reg White

Elite Limousin, Eugene (Bucky) Yee


Kahala Kai Taxi

Moana Taxi

Pegge Hopper Gallery

Star Taxi, Bob Alfred

The Cab, Howard Higa

Waikiki Taxi

Superstar Hawaii Transit, Ronald Howard, Reg White

Talk Story Magazine, Inc., Mike Fuller

Andy’s Pool Service Corp., Andy Mertz

E.N. Kemp & Associates, Eddy N. Kemp

Maui Divers of Hawaii, Inc., Cliff Slater, Robert Taylor

Small Business Hawaii, Sam Slom

Waikiki Residents Association, Reg White

Hawaii Reporter, Malia Zimmerman

StudioRyan, Eric Ryan

East Hawaii Realty, Walt and Aria Harvey

The Brand Strategy Group, Gloria Garvey and Brook Gramann

Geoffrey Paterson AIA Architect in Hawaii

Henry Ayau Line Up

Roz named the teams for Henry Ayau this morning. It looks good. We didn't have enough for a master's crew, so shes breaking it up by body size. I like that idea. Now I just need to perfect my mental telepathy and psychicly convince her that we need tall guys in seat two.

Red team
victor, eli, lance, mc, rob, alex, rod, jayson, scott
escort boat driver: holo
Boat coach: sherron
Assistant mark
Wa`a ; Force (kahoepawalu)

Yellow team
dave, lucas, rudy, john, steve, reid, hoku, jonathan, kulani
escort boat driver; mark
boat coach; roz
assistant; ulu
wa`a: Bradley (Manu Kai)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Liliuokalani 2008 Results

It was a hard race for us ... but I thought for sure we were dead last, and was surprised at the end when I saw how close we were to so many other boats, and even more surprised at how many we beat.

Iron open nonkoa

1. Team Livestrong No. 2 1:54:06
2. Outrigger No. 4 1:56:26
3. Paa 1:57:32
4. Quicksilver-Lanakila 1:57:46
5. Kailua No. 2 1:58:41
6. Tui Tonga No. 1 1:59:17
7. Kai Opua No. 3 2:00:16
8. Keaukaha No. 1 2:02:05
9. Hui Lanikila No. 5 2:02:22
10. Namolokama O Hanale No. 1 2:04:18
11. Outrigger No. 3 2:05:20
12. Hui Lanikila No. 6 2:06:26
13. Waikiki Beach Boys No. 1 2:06:41
14. Kailua No. 1 2:07:15
15. Kihei B 2:08:07
16. Healani No. 1 2:08:40
17. Leeward Kai No. 1 2:09:30
18. Waikiki Beach Boys No. 2 2:11:36
19. Puuwai No. 4 2:11:38
20. Kai Aniani 2:12:01
21. Noosa No. 1 2:12:16
22. Kaneohe-Blue 2:12:19
23. Kaipoha No. 4 2:12:22
24. Vancouver Ocean Sports No. 4 2:14:05
25. Kaiola No. 1 2:14:15
26. Lae Ula O Kai No. 5 2:15:34
27. Hong Kong No. 1 2:15:55
28. Kamehameha Hilo No. 4 2:16:15
29. New Hope No. 6 2:16:29
30. Kaneohe-White 2:17:26
31. New Hope No. 5 2:18:31
32. Keola O Ke Kai No. 1 2:19:09
33. Waikiki Beach Boys No. 3 2:19:27
34. Hawaii Cali Mix Plate 2:19:55
35. Lotus Sports Club 2:20:33
36. Honolulu Pearl No. 2 2:21:11
37. Kawaihae No. 2 2:21:54
38. Puuwai No. 3 2:22:07
39. Alapa Hoe Teal 2:22:40
40. Waikiki Beach Boys No. 4 2:23:55
41. Kahana No. 3 2:23:59
42. Imua No. 3 2:24:55
43. Santa Barbara No. 1 2:25:00
44. Vancouver Ocean Sports No. 3 2:25:43
45. Kukuiula No. 1 2:25:59
46. Waimanalo No. 2 2:27:22
47. Kai Oni No. 1 2:27:55
48. Kihei A 2:28:39
49. Ikuna Koa 2:29:07
50. Koa Kai No. 3 2:30:54
51. Shonan Outrigger No. 2 2:33:23
52. Hawaiian Outrigger Yokosuka 2:34:24
53. Hong Kong Outrigger No. 1 2:34:33
54. Alapa Hoe White 2:34:48
55. Hayama OCC No. 1 2:35:04
56. Kamehameha Honolulu No. 1 2:37:30
57. North Shore No. 1 2:39:40
58. Pukana O Ke Kai 2:41:40
59. Kaipoha No. 5 2:44:45
60. Santa Barbara No. 2 2:45:07
61. Hui Lokahi O Ke Kai No. 2 2:49:16
62. Makapo/NAC No. 1 2:51:05
63. Nca Outrigger No. 3 2:54:21
64. Team Arizona No. 1 2:59:44
65. Kawai 3:06:39

Iron open koa

1. Puna No. 4 2:02:40
2. Tui Tonga No. 2 2:05:53
3. Kai Opua No. 4 2:08:55
4. Outrigger No. 2 2:12:24
5. Kawaihae No. 1 2:18:42
6. Keoua No. 2 2:20:18
7. Keola O Ke Kai No. 2 2:22:48
8. Kai Ehitu 2:25:08
9. Newport Outrigger 2:37:25

Iron masters nonkoa

1. Lae Ula O Kai No. 4 2:10:18
2. Keahiakahoe No. 1 2:17:11
3. Lokahi 2:18:56
4. Kahana No. 2 2:19:42
5. Team Ray No. 1 2:21:42
6. Wai Nui Okanaka No. 5 2:33:09
7. Manu O Ke Kai No. 3 2:34:34
8. Wai Nui Okanaka No. 6 2:46:31

Iron masters koa

1. Kupaa Kailua Kai Kalama 2:14:52
2. Waikoloa No. 5 2:22:53
3. Alapa Hoe No. 3 2:35:32

Iron senior masters

1. Namolo Kama 2:11:12
2. Lanakila No. 4 2:13:21
3. Koa Kai No. 4 2:19:47
4. Kaiola No. 2 2:28:21
5. New Hope No. 2 2:31:24
6. Waikoloa No. 9 2:52:29

Golden masters

1. Waimanalo No. 3 2:13:36
2. Keauhou No. 1 2:18:54


1. Keauhou No. 6 2:01:58
2. Kai Opua No. 8 2:10:19

Senior masters

1. Keauhou No. 5 2:04:37
2. Team Leighton Kailua 2:07:17
3. Keaukaha No. 2 2:37:48

Iron golden masters

1. Noosa No. 2 2:13:50
2. Team Pacific 2:24:39
3. Keoua/Team Arizona 2:25:32
4. Keoua No. 3 2:31:35
5. Imua No. 1 2:32:06
6. New Hope No. 4 2:33:52
7. Kihei C 2:34:32

Grand masters

1. Outrigger No. 7 2:22:03
2. Anuenue No. 1 2:33:50
3. Waikoloa No. 7 2:43:31

Hawaiian racers

1. Tui Tonga No. 3 2:04:39
2. Mokunui/Big Isalnd toyota 2:05:50
3. Puna No. 5 2:09:46
4. Kaiola No. 4 2:10:33
5. Anuenue No. 3 2:11:25
6. Hanalei No. 3 2:12:01
7. Hualalai 2:14:11
8. Kai Opua No. 2 2:15:51
9. Kawaihae No. 5 2:18:22
10. Laka 2:19:19
11. Ka Mamalahoe No. 3 2:19:28
12. Na Vaa Hanakahi No. 2 2:23:13
13. Kamehameha Hilo No. 2 2:29:11
14. Pure Light Racing 2:31:33

Iron grand masters

1. Anuenue No. 2 2:17:36
2. Great Lake Grand Masters 2:23:48
3. Lanikai No. 2 2:27:21
4. Kamehameha Hilo No. 5 2:50:36
5. Havasu Outrigger No. 1 3:01:35


1. Team Livestrong 1:55:28
2. Kona Athletic No. 1 2:14:30
3. Waikoloa No. 3 2:22:11


1. Kukio No. 1 2:34:12

Labor Day 2 - Halemaumau, Queen Liliuokalani Iron, and Buddhists

After our site visit the ladies of Opihikao brought out the food. We ended up hitting the road for the drive to Kailua Kona around noon. Later than I wanted, but we still had plenty of time to make it.

And then, from the road, we saw the volcano ...

The photos in the paper make it look like a really big steam vent. I didn't realize how much of an eruption it really is. I took a detour into the National Park to get a closer look.

This is the view across Kīlauea into Halema`uma`u Crater. Notice the blue skies on the left, and the ash and sulfur-clouded skies on the right. The whole Kona coast is hazy from the eruption.

Dave and I at the vent, on Day 2 of our five-day date. This was the longest second date of my life, with no runners-up even close. And it all went really well, too. I wish I had a photo of him with his ukulele; he's got a great voice, and spent a lot of his free time (not that any of us had much free time) practicing songs he'd learned.

We landed in Kailua Kona late afternoon, and met up with the rest of the Kamehameha team for dinner.

This is what we came for: The Queen Lili`uokalani Canoe Race - an 18-mile iron.

The women left first ...

Kamehameha: white boat, middle left

There were 132 canoes in the women's race, which ran from Kailua Kona to Honaunau. There was some useless drama the week before, and half our women backed out. The three Kamehameha women - Pam, LeAnn, & Ulu - picked up three other women to form a team. There were some novices in the boat, they had never paddled as a team, and they did really well - coming in at 2:47:57, and placing 62nd out of 74 in their division.

The men paddled back, leaving Honaunau around noon.

from left: Victor, Alex, Rudy, MC, Eli, Phil.

We suffered.

And I'll leave it at that.

We wandered Kona on Saturday night. I had heard that the post-race parties were out of control wild. I had a great time ... but it was hardly the wild nights of legend. Sunday we chilled. Monday Dave and I checked in to a "Buddhist Bed and Breakfast," which was really a plantation house in an old village. It was peaceful, but we were the only ones there. It might have been more interesting if there were other guests. As it was, there were lots of ghosts (not that I believe in ghosts) and coqui.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Labor Day 1: Punatics

I went from work to the airport on Thursday evening, and from the airport to work Tuesday morning.   By the time I got home I had been gone six days - close enough to feel like a real vacation, even if I worked a good chunk of it.

I spent Thursday night with Dave at Kalani in Puna. It was nicer than I expected - electricity, rooms with walls, a nice pool and some large hot tubs.  I was prepared for yurts and stinky boys with dreds. The whole place had a summer camp for hippies vibe.  I felt like I had landed in one of those Southeast Asian backpacker towns - there was a good mix of people, the eccentricity was there in spades but without all the Rainbow-Child Look at me world I'm alternative! posturing you find in the mainland, and people seemed genuinely low key.

So it was a nice place, I'd willingly stay there again (though not if I had to pay full price) - but I still think the workers are being exploited there, and I still think all that damn 'personal growth' talk is silly.  It's on the website, it's in the logs, it was scrawled on the bulletin board in the dining hall - Thanks Kalani You Changed My Life. Namaste!  I want to tell them, life is change.  Paddling changed my life. Being a state worker changed my life. Getting kittens changed my life. Each year changes all of our lives. There ain't nothing magical there. 

Friday morning Dave and I drove to Opihikao Church to meet with Kale Gumapac of the Kanaka Council. We are getting a lot of development proposals in that area, and he had arranged for me to do an informal walk along the coast with members of the community.  

I was not prepared for how much we saw.  The Senior Kahu of the church, Reverend Makuakane, led us down a trail through some thick brush to the coast ...

... to a site with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of burial mounds. 

This is not on the maps. This is not in the State records. Surveys mention "some" burial platforms in the area.   The surveyors could not have talked to anyone here and missed this - it is a major site. The Kahu thinks that this might have been the burial site for the entire ahupua`a.  

We then walked through a hala grove that had been, based upon the evidence we saw, intensely managed since historical times. The terrain in the area is rough and treachorous - jumbled a`a and pandanus roots covering ankle-breaking holes. The ground in the grove was smooth and even - the a`a had all been removed, and the undergrowth cleared so that the hala could grow large. One of the kupuna with us said that this hala was known for it's soft leaves, and was the best kind for weaving.

The archaeological survey for the area missed the hala grove entirely - all they saw was an "undisturbed forest."  As one of the activists in the group pointed out: archeologists can only see things made out of rock or bone. They don't know how to recognize living sites.

We had a representative from Hawaiian Affairs there, so at least OHA knows about this also. I'll have to arrange an official visit with all the players so we can get this all on record, and start working on protecting these sites.