Settling in

It was a stunning day today in Maui! Sunshine, warmth and good vibes!

Yesterday evening I met Ina, Brendan’s boyfriend from Samoa who came to the yoga shala to pick up a few things from Brendan’s room. He is a surf instructor and is in the process of trademarking his own surfing brand called ‘Boobie Shack’. (Contrary to what you may think, ‘boobie’ actually refers to the boobie bird, a bird with flippers and a rare capacity to dive into the water from the surface of the water. Most birds have to dive from a few feet high…) He has cleverly chosen the word ‘boobie’ to attract attention, and is doing very well. His logos are awesome. He said he would give me a hat, and surf lessons for free!

Ina's jeep

We got talking and as soon as I mentioned I played guitar and sung, he insisted I come chill with some of his Polynesian friends and have a little jam session with them, Polynesian style. So we jumped into his yellow open-air Jeep, and we cruised up to his friends’ place with loud music blazing! He gave me the half of his delicious dinner wrap, which I ate on the way. Such a friendly guy, he kept asking me if I was alright, if I was warm enough, if I needed a drink and that he had some carrot juice in the Jeep if need be! LOL. He has such a positive friendly vibe to him.

After a 20 mins cruise up the hills of Maui, we arrived. Their chill room was mind blowing. I was stunned at what a great spot this was: very spacious, with plenty of couches, cushions, soft carpet, a large fridge and a big TV. He mixed his ‘Kavah’ – a Polynesian drink which is essentially a mix of roots and water, placed in a very large wooden bowl (bucket size) in the middle of the room. He explained that it acts as a sort of muscle tranquilizer, and that it relaxes you without you feeling out of control. At first I was a bit apprehensive, as I am admittedly with anything like that. However, once I began drinking this muddy water, I realized that the stuff was completely harmless and actually made me feel great. Relaxed, mellow, optimistic and completely in control of what I was thinking and saying. Aaaaah, very nice.

part of the chill room

Four people joined us in different successions and drank Kavah with us: a Samoan lady with her 9 year old daughter, a Fijian and a Tongan. The two dudes played guitar and sang with us. It was one of the best jam sessions I’ve had in a long time. Everyone in harmony. I played along with them when they played traditional Polynesian songs, and fell in love with their soothing music.

Two things struck me as I listened to them discuss and talk:

One – the Fijian guy was talking about a friend he was concerned about who had developed a bloodshot eye and bad health symptoms. He reckoned it was because he drinks spirits instead of just sticking to beer. He said he didn’t understand why people drink spirits, and even asked me if I knew what spirits were… He explained that those things can’t be good for your insides, and probably effect your liver and other internal organs. The other guys all nodded and agreed as they sipped the Kavah.

Two – Ina was talking about how this group of very loud Americans from Las Vegas had come into the surf shop to get lessons. He described them as wearing lots of make up and wearing small revealing bikinis. He said that they were loud and rude and kept ‘throwing money’ everywhere, demanding for receipts and special care. He said, and I quote, ”these girls had tight bodies, and their boobs were up to here – it was disgusting”. I was expecting him to say ”they were hot!”, but no…

So, here I was with these older Polynesian guys (in their 30s), playing excellent music and very happily imbibing their culture of respect and positivity. The talked of respect for elders, how Jack Johnson was such a good man, how we should organize a BBQ next weekend and watch the rugby World Cup.

These are the moments that I have been waiting for. This understanding is what I have been searching for. I feel so at home with this culture 🙂

Aloha!

my lei

It is a beautiful day on Maui island today. I arrived yesterday afternoon, and was greeted by Ras, a musician whom I will be working with for a little over a month here in Paia. He put a pretty lei around my neck, and I jumped into his white Jeep.

He asked me whether I wanted to go straight to my place, or whether I was up for a little walk to discover on of Maui’s most beautiful spots. Despite my fatigue, I couldn’t resist! I can’t remember the name of where he took me, but it was stunning.

Apparently this was where Jurassic Park was filmed (the part where you see expansive views of vast mountainous regions, and lots of green). It took about 25 mins to get up there in the Jeep, but it was definitely worth it. I walked round with him, admittedly in a bit of daze, saw waterfalls, guava plants, traditional Hawaiian huts, lots of chickens and flowers.

We then drove down to Paia, a small beach town I am currently living in. We drove by the beach, and I saw about 35 dudes surfing the waves. I then met his wife and 2 year old pretty daughter, and had a look round his music studio.

I was totally overwhelmed. I guess traveling from LA to Honolulu and then waiting for 3 hours in Honolulu for my flight to Maui kind of tired me out. And then arriving in Maui just blew me away: the views, the atmosphere, the colors, the vibe.

I am currently staying in a three story house called the Yoga Shala. It is absolutely stunning. On the bottom floor there are yoga classes every day. On the second floor, I am sharing an enormous living room, kitchen, two terraces, bathroom with two persons I haven’t met yet. I think there is a couple living on the third floor.

My room has a very comfy mushy double bed, a couch, and glass doors that give on to the front terrace. The shower has a little windows which look onto the the back of the house and the expansive views behind it. It is so much more spacey than I had imagined. It is calm, and there is a very good vibe about the place, there are Buddha statuettes everywhere, candles, a very large TV, and a swooping couch in the living room.

There are Buddhist prayer flags in my room. There are no locks, which could appear freaky at first, but there is such a positive and calm atmosphere about the neighborhood that I sincerely doubt there is anything to worry about.

I went to bed early last night and got up today around 6.30 AM. It gets dark very quickly here, and light very early. This morning I walked down to Paia’s main town, bought some breakfast in Tiki Bar, and read the Maui Times. I took my soya milk coffee to go, and went down to the nearest beach. I walked barefoot on the sand, and walked across the shore line for a bit, thinking how lucky I am to be here and to see all this.

I have been exploring all morning, getting lost, sitting down in front of the sea and taking photos like a typical tourist. ”Beautiful spot, isn’t it?” said one old couple who was sitting not so far from one of the best views I had found this morning. ”Yes… lovely!” I replied.

And ‘lovely’ is the first word I choose to describe this place.

walking on the beach in hawaii