None but ourselves can free our minds

On one rainy day, I found a good shelter spot in front of store in Paia where there were large cushioned chairs. I had just ran from the beach, where I was laying out in my bikini on a towel, when all of a sudden the whole sky got covered with thick rain clouds and it began pouring heavily.

So as I was resting from my mad dash for shelter, and waiting for the rain to pass, I must of drifted off and started thinking of this that and the other. I heard shouting from the other side of the road, and looked up only to see a guy popping his head out of his truck window with a big smile on his face. “Stop thinking!”, he shouted over at me “Smell the flowers!”, and drove off.

Only in Hawaii, I thought to myself!

none but ourselves can free our minds

These past days have been very exciting – my most memorable at the moment being my visit of the Wailea Mariott Beach Resort. Ras has recently injured his knee, and is now in crutches, he therefore was in need of an extra hand for his performance at the Awesomeness Fest, hosted at the Mariott. The cost of a single ticket to get into the festival: 2000$. The festival hosts all kinds of successful persons from CEOs of companies, to TV producers, to very successful yoga instructors, to spiritual speakers, even the Mayor of Maui was there and gave a speech.

I was invited to help Ras set up his show, do some filming, assist him with various other things he would need. I got to eat at the 5* buffet, which was extremely satisfying as it was like being back home in a Genevan resto. Asparagus, fish, cottage cheese, artichoke, tortellini, garlic baguette, etc. But the cherry on the cake was the dessert table – I went a bit crazy and filled my plate with all the little hors-d’oeuvre: chilled coffee mousse, macadamia nut tartlet, coconut crème brûlée… YUM.

I heard speaker ‘Dreaming Bear’, a guy who played a sort of steel drum, and would dish out funny, inspiring or ridiculous (I thought) quotes. ”Don’t forget to floss”, ”Respect your elders”, ”You’re not as fat as you think you are”, and the such. He also got us all to hold hands and sing the words ”Little by little, we will become stars, we will become love”. I thought it was very funny hearing all these very money-d people singing whilst joining hands ”We will become stars”! It was certainly very interesting.

Dreaming Bear @ Awesomeness Fest

A co-writer of the song ‘Genie in a Bottle’, made famous by Christina Aguilera, came up and sang a song. Her voice was mind blowing, she reminded me a lot of Céline Dion in style. Then a youngish guy was invited to join the stage and talk of business strategy, I thought ”right, let’s listen up here so that I can get some inside tips on how to become rich!!” I don’t remember his first name, but his last name was Boatright.

He came on stage in jeans and a tight black shirt, he was quite a built guy. He began by saying ”So, I could talk to you all about business strategy and how I made my first million dollars at the age of 25, but instead I’m going to do something a little different tonight. I’m going to talk to you about irrationality and intentionality.” I thought what the heck is he on about, only to realize after several minutes into his introduction that he was going to talk about.. love.

He invited his girlfriend to come on stage and sit by him, whilst he went through the history of how they met, connected, instantly got along, felt like they’d already known one another, etc. She was a very pretty Asian girl named Ivy, wearing a bright short turquoise dress.  She sat down and nodded from time to time, and laughed at his jokes. After about 45mins of talking, I felt like I knew everything about this couple’s relationship. I knew what they were going to call their children, they first met in Costa Rica, they had been to China together, and that they liked dressing up as pirates for fun.

He then got a guitar from the stage (actually one of Ras’s guitars!) and sang a song he had written to her. The chorus ”Ivy, you’re the one” was catchy, his voice wasn’t good, but his whole performance was certainly very sweet. She loved the song, blushed and smiled, as one would. After the song, and this is where it gets good, Mr. Boatright got down on one knee, whipped out a small box, and said ”Let’s do this properly”, and proposed to her.

I felt like I was in a Hollywood movie! She began crying, attempted to nod in all the excitement, and threw herself into his arms. We all stood up and clapped. And I had a hard time trying to keep my jaw from dropping, because I have never EVER, and probably never will again, see something like that happen again in my life. Certainly not in Europe, anyway!

Ras Shaggai @ Awesomeness Fest

So after all that excitement, Ras came up to play, and did a good job considering his handicapped state. At this point, people had already gotten up and were chattering and talking amongst themselves, so his music served as background tunes. I took some film of the concert with a camcorder, and was being quite creative about the whole thing – zooming in and out on the moon, then back on to Ras, then on to a candle, then on to a girl dancing to the music, etc.

The resort was phenomenally big – swimming pools in all shapes and sizes, bridges to get from one to the other, tunnels, slides, some pools with very luxurious art on the bottom of them, the sand was perfectly soft and white, the bars were full of very well dressed people and aquariums. The cocktail menu was pricey, but I still treated myself to a Pina Colada, which was extremely good.

After packing all the stuff up from backstage, we headed to the next part of the night, hosted at one of the night clubs of the resort called ‘Tsunami’. Ras treated me there to a Margarita on the rocks, which was also impressively tasty. Seeing as Ras was not very mobile, I sat with him and we talked about music, musical culture, Jamaica and dancing.

Wailea Mariott Beach Resort

It turns out one of my next destinations will be Jamaica, as it is one of the most bustling places in the Caribbean in terms of music business. There is a lot going on, and one promoter is very interested in having me work for her business by feeding the blog, meeting musicians, conducting interviews. It sounds very promising, and full of experience-potential. Woo!

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Is this for real?!

Buddhist temple in Paia

It was on Tuesday night that I was invited by Ras to go to a ‘special concert’. I wasn’t really sure until that night what type of concert it was, so when I got into the car with Ras and our neighbour Poney, who had invited Ras and I from the outset, I asked what kind of music we were going to be listening to.

Poney said ”Oh no, it’s not a concert, it’s more of an exclusive jam session”. She went on to explain as we drove up the Maui mountains, that this jam session was hosted every Tuesday in a house that belonged to a married couple. The guy who owns the house has a renovated garage type thing, where he has special guest musicians show up all the time, namely Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, and others!! Wow.

So when we arrived, there were about 10/15 people there, and the room looked like something out of a 1960’s movie. It had couches, peace symbols, Buddhas, incense smoke, many many guitars, drums, amplifiers, maracas, keyboards, posters, disco balls, the works everywhere! I was very warmly welcomed by Divino, a long haired bearded man who owned the place. He even greeted me to the jam by waving sage incense around me before they started making music! There were weed pipes and joints being smoked away all over the place.

After about a 20 mins tuning session, maybe another 20 people showed up. Mostly hippie looking men and women in their 50s. There were a few youngsters about my age around too.

When the music started I was absolutely blown away by the quality of sound and the professional experience and talent that came out of these instruments and singers. The songs they played had a kind of Santana sound to them. It was all improvised – there were a few covers, namely Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In the Wall’, which was truly excellent. Divino acted as a sort of chef d’orchestre, as well as playing his twelve string guitar, and would signal when the tone should go down or up, or would go over to one musician in parts and really get them fired up.

It was an amazing experience, to see and participate in this. I was only a guest, and was not asked to go up and play guitar or sing, but I never would have had the guts anyway. This was a level of musicianship that I have not yet attained! I played along with a couple of djembés I found lying around a few times, but that was it. And even that felt awesome because I felt part of this amazing band!

I didn’t take any photos or film – I really wanted to – but I did not see anyone else do this, and I figured it was way too exclusive an event to just start snapping shoots at people.

At the end, everyone gathered by holding hands, and there was a small speech given by Divino. He thanked ‘Mother Maui’ for all this great energy, and all the love and talent that reigned throughout the night. It was like a blessing ceremony, or similar to saying Grace before a meal… Something that I am not at all accustom to, but that fascinates me nonetheless. It was very hippie-ish, but hippie-ish in a kind of 30 years ago kind of way, which I thought was so much fun. I am very happy to have had the opportunity to witness something like that, and to perhaps be part of it again!

I met a younger guy there, a 22 year old dread-lock hippie looking boy, green clothes, who lives on nothing, and spends most of his days hunting and picking fruit in Maui’s jungles. He said that he would be able to help me out if I ran out of money and didn’t have any food, which was nice of him. Anyway, his name is Crafty. When I heard his name, I thought wow… so, I’ve come to this amazing place with this person called Poney, and have been greeted by the chef d’orchestre with great connections called Divino, and met a young hippie who can get me free stuff called Crafty…!

I couldn’t help but think when I was back in my bed that night that all this sounds like something out of a book! All the characters are named carefully to suit their different roles. So then I started asking myself whether I’m actually insane, and just inventing this whole Hawaiian adventure in my head, because I’ve been dreaming about it for so long. LOL.