Monday, March 12, 2007

Molokai Anomaly

I went to Molokai and nothing was there at least from the typical American perspective. At the first stop in town looking for a bite to eat the tranny waitress, who got friendly after we flirted with her, told us that you have to look around the corner on Molokai to see things.

From the beginning this place seemed to be in a strange time warp. The buildings in Kaunakakai, the main town on the island were dusty remnants from the forties and fifties. We quickly learned that business hours were short and haphazard. Most of the shops closed very early.

A big event here was to go to the back door of the bakery at 10pm and stand in line for fresh hot bread.

The slow sleepy town was expected. Arriving on the west side it was down right eerie to see the condo/resort complex next to ours abandoned. I couldn’t help but see this as some sort of premonition. It must have been built in the 80’s and now it stood empty. The irrigation had been shut off and the grounds were returning to the dried scrub of the leeward coast ecosystem.

It was quiet here. The kind of quiet that gets these resorts built, promoted and sold in the first place. Now it seemed strange with these empty abandoned buildings nearby.

The beaches were near deserted. The surf was strong with swirling tides and an approaching storm. A shore break crashed on the sands and many boulders were hidden in the water. It was not the best time or place for a swim.

The wildlife came close. After seeing many whales on the way over, I saw deer bounding through a field across the road. A flock of turkeys grazed the grounds of our irrigated condos. I was beginning to think of this place as the Wildlife Isle. Later I saw wild goats and long legged burros and heard strange birds.

On the third day the rains came. Driving the south coast to the eastern end we passed through maybe a dozen streams that crossed over the road. The rains poured down from the steep mountains above creating temporary rivers we were obliged to cross if we wanted to see more.

Twice we were told in ancient Hawaiian times Molokai was a place of magic and sorcery. Even back then many Hawaiians avoided this place. Today many of the residents of Molokai resist development and tourism preferring to maintain a simpler lifestyle. Now they have their own kind of political magic and have had some success in bucking the tide of consumption.

This island feels different from the others. There are powerful forces, natural and human at work here. They stand out and are some how easier to see. That old magic lives on in the gene pool, in the waitress serving cheeseburgers in an old bakery and in the tall well built wo/man with strong features walking silently down the road.

Molokai has a dark side. It holds a dark story from the past. There is a place at the base of tall cliffs were strong spiritual forces came into contact. It seems appropriate that it should have happened on Molokai.


christin m p in massachusetts said...

Your narrative at first had me falling in love with Molokai. I was thinking to myself "That sounds like my kinda place." But what is the dark story from its past?

christin m p in massachusetts said...

P.S. I don't understand why, but that bottom photograph seems to cast a spell, just as happened with the "place of exile" scene at the bottom of your "Kalawao" post. It invokes a sad feeling, yet at the same time it is hauntingly beautiful.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

The dark tale is coming up.

Deviant Deziner said...

Exile island looks like heaven to me.

I have always gravitated to those who embrace the darker side of life.

I think I would love it there.

chuck b. said...

"Look around the corner to see things"; I like that.

Xris said...

Looks magnificent. Dark and desolate. My kinda place [g].

Sad that the dominant wildlife are deer and turkeys and other introduced species.