Before continuing with this week’s installment, I need to introduce my co-author, Tweaker. My loveable cat deserves a mention for keeping me amused. In some way, shape, or form he manages to sit with me daily. I’d be lost without his antics. You may be seeing random photos of our collaboration over the next few weeks.
As for Kaua`i, we’d finally landed. Sunset occurred during the descent, which meant darkness had fallen upon the island. Without any inkling of what to expect, everything was going to be a novelty for us. For the moment we had our car and directions, which I’d downloaded from home. If all went as planned, the drive from Lihue airport was about 40 minutes. We would soon be in the southern part of the island for the next fifteen days.
When we got to the street we were in search of, it was difficult to make out what was on the left side of the road. Given it was pitch black out. I realized it must be the Pacific Ocean, as it was giving off a gentle rumbling. The streets
were narrow. I remember saying to my husband, “Whatever you do, don’t turn left. I’m 99% certain that’d land us right into the water.” My husband recognized the tone of my voice and decided to drive below the speed limit. When the sun rose the next morning, my concerns were justified. A left turn most definitely could have been trouble, but the view was spectacular.
We spent the first few hours relaxing, but once the sun had risen, I needed to get moving. Our first few days were spent visiting Waimea Canyon, Hanapepe (Talk Story Bookstore-a must), the swinging bridge, and every shop that Hanapepe had to offer. One must never bypass the Coffee Planation. Actually, nothing should be bypassed while you’re there.
As I mentioned in my first blog, hindsight is a strange thing. It was our trip to the Botanical Gardens, (McBryde and Allerton) when mystic island happenings started to surface. I didn’t know it then, but as time passed, I could pinpoint the subliminal messages that became reoccurrences throughout our stay.
An extensively informative young man led our guided tour. At one point he explained the Awapuhi flower (aka shampoo ginger) to our group. As you can see in the photo, the flower contains sap, which is used in hair products, such as the famous Paul Mitchell.
After the demonstration, he gifted the flower to me. As curious as I was about the Awapuhi, I wasn’t willing to put anything foreign on my head. I’d been using the same mail order product for ten years. When he extended the flower for the taking, I graciously thanked him, but declined the offer. I sensed a shift in mood. Not that he was rude, by any means, quite the contrary. It was a look of hurt pride, which I realized I’d been insensitive to. I put my hand out and told him I’d be honored to try the product. Now it was he who looked at me with skepticism. Without another word, I promised that I wouldn’t waste a drop of it. To my astonishment, there was enough sap in that flower to last the remainder of my stay, which was about thirteen days. I came home with soft silky hair. Not only did the young man give life back to my hair, but he may have spared our lives as well.
Before departing the gardens we were approached once again by our tour guide. He’d overheard my husband and me, discussing our potential hike of the Kalalau Trail. After about ten minutes discussing the hike, he had let us know that we were welcome to join him and his family, as they would be doing the hike over the weekend. Again, this young man showed heart, grace, and subtlety. He didn’t come straight out and voice his concerns about whether my husband and I could sustain the rigorous hike. It was in the manner that he posed his questions and told his stories of the trail, which led me to believe we weren’t fit enough to carry out the expedition.
As I reflected back on the conversation throughout the day, I voiced my concerns to my husband. In all fairness, he hadn’t picked up on the message the young man was trying to convey without insulting us. When I reiterated the conversation along with my own concerns, we decided to skip the hike. We did have a few more days before the weekend should we have changed our minds, but after doing some research on the Internet, we chose to skip the hike.
This installment may not have given you the answers to why I wrote Legend of the Coco Palms Resort, but what I did give you is the insight of my deep gratitude to my tour-guide. If it weren’t for my fond memories of him, my character, Kanoa Kahala, may have not come to be. After the initial thought to write the book, my next huge impact was this young man’s face etched in my mind. His sincerity and generosity will always stay with me. The pride and passion I heard in his voice about his birthplace could bring tears to one’s eyes. He was so engaging, that I could have listened to him my entire stay. There are some people who have the ability to affect one’s life in a matter of seconds, minutes, or hours, and I’m so glad to have been the recipient of this particular heart-felt soul.
I’d like to leave you this week with one of my favorite photos of the botanical gardens. No, it’s not my tour-guide, as I do wish you could have seen his beautiful hair. As my blogs continue I’m sure you will see me reference Hawai`i as being majestic. That’s the best way I can describe most things about the island. Everything is larger than life. You be the judge after seeing this photo.
See you next week and thank you for checking in.