Maui island excursion part 3

Today I want to talk about my favourite tour on Maui. You can split this tour in two for more enjoyment. After all you’ll explore one of the most spectacular coastal drives of the world. I liked the Road to Hana that much that I drove it three times. But before you go on this trip you should keep in mind that on this tour the road is the destination. Sure it can’t hurt when you check out what there is to see and make a first plan where you want to stop. 600 hairpin turns, single lane bridges, bamboo and rainforest, waterfalls and black lava beaches. Just float along.

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Maui Island excursion part 1

Ok, I have to admit that it`s a while since I visited Maui, but back then I have cheched out this island thoroughly and feel able to tell you something about it.
Maui`s nickname is the „Valley Isle“ and is actually divided in 2 parts that are connected through a broad and falt valley. The smaller northwestern part is where you will find most of the island. Between Lahaina and Kapalua are the best known beaches where you can go for a swim in the ocean.
großer Baum in Lahaina, Maui

Banyan Tree, Lahaina

Lahaina and Kaanapali, the best known towns

In Lahaina and Kaanapali you will find one resort next to the other and both towns do live from tourism. Kihei in the southwest has caught up and promotes itself as a family destination. Life is a bit more relaxed and most of the resorts offer condo style accomodation. The luxury resorts are located on the nortwestern tipp in Kapalua and in the southern district of Wailea. And as on most of the Hawaiian islands there are lots of golf courses.

The bigger southern part of Maui is dominated by the 10.000 feet high Haleakala, a dormant volcano, which names translates to house of the rising sun. I will explain why later.

You can’t make a full circle around Maui, so I will split my excursion in three parts. I will start our tour in Lahaina. In the 19th century this was the most important town in Hawaii. The first white settlers, missionairies from New England, built their new homes here. There goal was to bring Christianity to the pagans. Back in those days Lahaina had a very bad reputation, since the port was being used mainly by whalers, that landed here after months at sea and were looking for provisions and fun for the seamen. The missonairies were shocked whent hey first landed here, mainly due to the almost naked natives.

Lahaina, a town with history

historische Krankenstation in Lahaian

Seaman’s Hospital, Lahaina

Front Street still is the main street of the town and is nowadays home to art galleries and restaurants. On the makai (oceanside) side of the street you will find opportunities to drink a sundowner and have dinner with spectacular views. Front Street is the starting point of a historic walk, which will lead you to the most important points of the past. The best location to start your walk is the Baldwin Home Museum,located in one of the oldest houses in town. It was built by Dwight Baldwin who was one of the first settlers to arrive here.

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We continue through a small street that leads us to Lahaina Public Library.The lawn in front of the library used to be a large taro field, before it was converted in a lawn in the 1950`s. Next stop is the Hauola Stone. This piece of rock was seen as a healing stone by the Hawaiian priests. We continue to the light house, which is actually the oldest on the islands. The Pioneer Inn is the oldest hotel on the island and had famous patrons, such as Frnak Sinatra. The Banyan Tree (pictured above) covers with its branches a bit over 40.000 square feet. Those banyan trees  are traditionally the meeting point in every Hawaiian village. This one was planted in 1873. Across the street is the Courthouse where in 1898 the American flag was flown for the first time on the islands.

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Back on Front Street take a right and youb will come Episcopal Church, transferred from across the street back in 1909. When you reach Maluuluolele Park take a trun into Shaw Street and then into Waineè Street. There you’ll see the oldest church on the islands built of stone. On the adjacent cemetry you can visit Queen Keopuolanis grave. She was the first Hawaiian queen that converted to Christianity. On Luakini Street you’ll see the oldes buddhist temple of Hawaii.

Hawai 095From we continue to Prison Street. As the name already says, you will see the old prison of Lahaina. The Hawaiian name for the building is Hale Paahao, which means house with the iron bars. You follow Waine’e Street and take a left into Hale Street. Here you can visit Hale Aloha (House of love), which was built in 1858 in memory of the almost 6.000 people that died of the smallpox. This is the last stop on our historic Lahaina tour.

Hawai 096North of Lahaina is the resort twon of Kaanapali. Not a grown town, but a mere collection of hotels. The few high rises of the island are to be found here. And the longest stretch of beach of the island. In ancient times this area was strictly dedicated to the royals. One attraction to be named is the Whalers Village a mall withlots of stores and a Wahlers Museum. If you want to experience a luau, you should go to the Royal Lahaina, one of the best of the islands. Kaanapaliis the best palce to be, when you plan a few days on the beach while visiting the islands. But it would be a shame, if you take the long fight just to relax on the beach. That’s why I will continue with the tour.

If you like a more quiet vacation spot and still need a beach, you will love Napili Bay. On this small bay there are only two hotels. One of them is the Napili Kai Beach Resort with the Sea House right on the beach. They offer great food and fantastic views of the neighboring island of Lanai. A dream come true.

historisches Schulhaus am Strand

DT Fleming Beach Park

Kapaluais home to some very exclusive hotels and with DT Fleming Beach Park alos offers a beach that is not so crowded. And you will come across this ancient school house, where it must have felt like torture, if you had to attend class. I don’t think I would have survived this.

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An der Nordküste Maui’s

Just beyond Kapalua the street narrows to one lane and you should be ready for adventures if you continue. Those who have the guts will be rewarded with great views of Moloka’i. The road wriggles through towering cliffs. To the right they tower above the street and ton the left they fall steeply into the sea. If you meet oncoming traffic it can happen that you will have to drive in reverse for a while before you will find a plac where they can pass. On this road the route becomes the destination. And it is not for weak nerves. On the northern most tipp of the island you can visit Nakalele Blowhole. Once you have left this spot behind the road continues still very narrow and it does lead through rolling hills where you can discover a pristine part of Maui. Todays tour ends in Kahului, the administrative capital of Maui.

Kahului is also the town where you will find the airport. Apart from that there is not much to see in this big city, Hawaiian speaking, with 26.000 inhabitants. Next to the airport you will find a few shopping center with supermarkets. This is good to know, if you have rented a Condo and want to cook your own meals.

This is the end of todays tour. I hope you did enjoy it.

And as usual, I would be happy to read your comments. And if you have any questions concerning the Hawaiian islands, fell free to contact me.

Maui Island Excursion part 1

Ok, I have to admit it’s been a while since I’ve been to Maui, but during that visit I did explore as much of the island as possible and therefore will be able to tell you something about it.
One of Maui’s nicknames is the „Valley Isle“ and it actually consists of two parts that are linked by braod flat valley. It’s smaller northwestern part is the place where you will find the most hotels along the westcoast. Between Lahaina and Kapalua you will also find the best known beaches. Since the waters between the islands of Moloka’i, Lana’i and Maui are calmer than elsewhere on the islands, you can easily go for a swim here. Weiterlesen

Kauai Island Excursion part 2

Today we will explore the south and the west of Kauai. You can look forward to a bunch of different highlights. So make yourself comfortable and enjoy reading.

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Wailua River

Wailua River and surroundings

The Wailua River is the only river on the Hawaiian Islands, where ships can be used. If you are more of an active person you can book a guided canoe tour. For all of you that think this is too strenuous there are boat rides that go upstream to the Fern Grotto. During this ride you will have comments about the river and it’s surroundings.

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Fern Grotto

The Fern Grotto is remarkable because of the Ferns that grow on the ceiling and which are due to gravity hanging from it. What you won’t see and what you even can’t reach with your canoe are the Wailua Falls. Therefore I would suggest to spend a day hiking in Wailua State Park. Apart from a tropical rainforest you can explore quite a few sacred places of the ancient Hawaiians. The Kamokila Hawaiian Village  is a good starting point to explore this natural preserve. Beginning with a temple and ending with huts where the Polynesian people lived before the Europeans came, there is a whole village to explore and you will get a good impression of life in the old days. There is a nature trail that explains everything. Once you have visited the village you can go on a tour with an Outrigger Canoe, hiking or swimming. As mentioned before Kauai is called the Garden Isle and most attractions have a nature theme.

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Wailua State Park

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Wailua State Park

Lihue, the capital of Kauai

Leaving Wailua you will soon arrive in Lihue. The town itself is not very interesting. Hanamaulu Bay offers a swimmable beach, but the airport is rather close here. Kalapaki Beach is also a swimmable beach and apart from a few shops and bars you will find the Kauai Beach Marriott here. The hotel is not very inviting seen from the outside, but the interior is just beautiful. The most remarkable part of the hotel is the large pool in form of a hibiscus flower.

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Plumeria

An excursion into the world of legends

From the Nawiliwili Harbor, where you can sometimes see cruise ships, you will access the  Huleia National Wildlife Refuge. Part of this Park is the  Alekoko Fish Pond. The old Polynesians have a legend concerning this pond. Long before the Polynesians there were people living on the islands: the Menehune. These small people grew only to be 2,5ft. high, but possessed supernatural strenghts. They are very shy and so there aren’t many people that have actually seen them. When the chief of the Polynesians decided to built this new pond he went to the Menehune and asked them for help. They agreed to bulit it in one night, but insisted that no one would watch them doing it. The chief gladly accepted and so on the next full moon the Menehune started their task. A Hawaiian prince and his princess had a date the very same night and when they heard the noise of the construction going on they decided to sneak to the site and watch. Of course they were found and the Menehune ended their work instantly. The pond was only finished many years later by Asian plantation workers. As for the two lovers, they were punished by being transformed into rocks which can still be seen in the hills next to the pond.

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Kilohana Plantation railway

Kilohana Plantation

When we continue we will reach Kilohana Plantation. The name of it translates to „Place not to be missed“. The plantation home can be visited and offers a good sight into the life of the rich that were living here in the old days. A part of the house is nowadays the home of one of the best restaurants on Kauai. Gaylords at Kilohana offers fine dining at its best with ingredients from Hawaii. If you are lucky enough to get a table in the courtyard you will certainly pass a memorable meal. On the grounds you can also explore a few stores, especially the Koloa Rum Company Store is not to be missed. This the only distillery on the islands that produces rum which actually tastes very good. But the highlight of the plantation is the historical train that runs around the grounds. During the ride you will get more interesting information about the work life on a plantation. If you want to go to a luau I can recommend Kalamaku. Every tuesday and friday night you can experience a great show. Not as authentic as others, but very professionell.

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Plumeria

Koloa, Kauai

To reach our next stop it takes only a short drive. Koloa is a small historic village where the plantation workers used to live. You can see one of the oldest sugar mills in Hawaii. The houses are home to a few souvenir shops and galleries. It’s worth a short stroll.

Kauai’s southern coast, Poipu

Poipu on the southern coast is a resort town with a broad selection of mostly luxurious hotels and beautiful beaches. A bit inland there are two small shopping malls. On Mondays and Thursdays afternoon your shopping spree at the Poipu Shopping Village will be accompangied by a free live Hula show. On Wednesdays the Shops at Kukui’ula offer a Culinary Market with live-cooking and tasting. On Friday nights you can listen to Hawaiian musicians playing here. I want to point one shop at Kukui’ula: Lappert’s Hawaii sells very tasty ice cream made of Hawaiian ingredients. Delicious…….

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Orchiddengarten in der Kiahuna Plantation

Poipu has pristine beaches, where you can at least most of the time take a swim. But on certain days the currents are too strong for doing it. You have the choice between several bays. Baby Beach is suitable for kids, while Brennecke’s Beach is best for body surfing. The most popular are Poipu Beach and Shipwreck Beach. But only Poipu Beach has a lifeguard on duty. On this beach I had an encounter with a Hawaiian Monk Seal, although I first realized that a bunch of people were tying ropes and therefore cutting off a part of the beach. The conservation of flora and fauna is very important to Hawaiians and a lot of them engage in volunteering. Oh, and I found the seal most impressive.

A bit further west you will find another spouting horn. As I have told you before  you will find these along the coast of the islands. When the tide is high the water is pressed through them and builds fountains.

An impressive natural sight: the Napali Coast

From Poipu we continue to Ele’ele and Hanapepe. The drive leads us through coffee plantations that have replaced the pineapple and sugar cane fields. Hawaiian coffee tastes, due to the volcanic soil, different as any other coffees. It has less acidity, but a very intense taste. My favorite is still the Kona coffee, but I will tell you more about it, when I am writing about the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island.

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Napali Coast

Hanapepe is the starting point for excursions to one of the most beautiful regions of Kauai, the Napali Coast. This stretch of the coast can only be reached by water or from the air but is for me one of the most stunning coast lines on this planet. I recommend that you book a snorkeling tour to explore it. You’ll have to get up rather early in the morning, but you will be part of an awesome tour. When leaving Hanapepe your catamaran will be guided by dolphins. Apparently the best time to watch those highly intelligent animals is early morning. I am always enraptured by their games. Aboard the ship you will be served breakfast which you can relish in peace, since it’ll take some time before you reach the northern coast. At the turning point you will get a climpse of Ni’ihau, the forbidden island, which can be visited by invitation only. It used to be a plantation, but today it is protected by the owners and they aim to preserve the original Hawaiian culture. On your way back you should have your camera ready. You will have the sun in your back and the perfect light for some great shots of the colorful cliffs. At different locations you can see waterfalls tumbling over high cliffs into the ocean, while on other stretches you will see romantic beaches inviting you for a swim. In my first part of the Kauai excursion I wrote about the Kalalau Trail that runs along this coast. At some point the captain will anchor and you’ll be snorkeling. I never was a big friend of this sport, since all my attempts ended with a feeling that I drank half the ocean. But after the instruction by the crew aboard this catamaran, I was able to snorkel and was delighted. The underwater world off the Hawaiian coast is colorful and offers a broad variety. And if you are lucky you might even swim with a honu (turtle). The best to describe all this is to show you pictures. So here you go:

From Hanapepe we continue a bit further west to Waimea. There is not much to be told about this small town unless you are lookign for a romantic hideaway. The Waimea Plantation Cottages used to be a plantation and the small houses for the employees were turned into vacation homes. On the grounds you will also find a small black beach without lifeguard and in it’s natural state. Something else wouldn’t fit here.

THE highlight of Kauai: Waimea Canyon

One more reason why you should go to Waimea. This is the starting point for our grande finale of our tour around the island. The road is climbing the mountains and will lead you to the rim of  Waimea Canyon. It is the second largest in the US and is also called the Grand Caynon of the Pacific. It is about 10 miles long and up to 3000 feet deep. In contrast to it’s big brother you will see apart from colorful stones a lot of green, since due to the precipitation there are plants growing  in niches and on ledges.

Hiking in Waimea Canyon

There are two different trails you can take to explore the canyon. The short Ililau Trail is a nature path with lots of information about the formation of the canyon plus the flora and fauna of this area. If you hike the Kukui Trail you will descend along the western side about 2000 feet towards the ground. There you can camp overnight, but you will have to get a permission in the park. Since it can get very hot in the canyon you should start your tour early in the morning. And please keep in mind that you will have to climb those 2000 feet again. You will be rewarded with pure nature and fantastic views. And don’t forget to take enough water. There are no possibilities to buy anything on your way.

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Napali Coast

If you don’t want to make the descend, there are more trails to be found that’ll bring you to the top of the cliffs of the Napali Coast. And in this part of Kauai you will realize why this island is called the Garden Island.

Before I close my post for today, one more tip. If you like helicopter flights this is the place to treat you to one. This way you will see all this beauty from above. A truly unforgettable event.

Did I give you enough reasons to go to Kauai? Have you been there before and have more recommendations for first timers? I am looking forward to your comments.

Mahalo nui loa for your attention.

Oahu – circle island tour

Sunrise over Koko Head Crater

Koko Head Crater

Oahu’s south: Luxury in Kahala, nature in Hanauma Bay

In todays post we will start again in Waikiki and go on a tour around Oahu. Diamond Head is the landmark of Honolulu. The crater of this dormant volcano offers a great view of the skyscrapers forming the skyline of Waikiki. You can ascent it by a toll road and go for a hike up there. Those who are ready for some exercise wil  be starting the hike in Queen Kapiolani Park and climb the steep stairs to the top. On a bright day you can even see Molokai and Lanai from here.

Back at the bottom we first drive to the upscale neighborhood of Kahala. The hotel with the same name is one of my favorites. A real luxury treat with a more or less private beach. In the lobby you’ll find a gallery with pictures of celebrities that have already spent some nights here. One of the highlights is the spa, where every treatment room is a separate suite with it’s own bathtub. If you feel like, you can get  your treatment in a hut in the luscious gardens.

We continue our tour in a counterclockwise direction and will soon arrive at Hanauma Bay.

Hanauma Bay, snorklers paradise

Hanauma Bay

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Hawaii – How to get there and general information

view over waikiki and diamond head

View over Waikiki and Diamond Head

I’d recommend to start your Hawaii vacation on Oahu. First of all there are the best flight connections coming from Europe. When you catch an early morning flight leaving Europe direction San Francisco or Los Angeles you should be able to make a connection to Hawaii and arrive in Honolulu in the early evening. This way jetlag isn’t so hard on you. The hotels on the islands are accustomed to receive their guests at the oddest times. To be on the safe side, I would inform my first hotel about the late arrival. This way it’s guaranteed that your room is ready upon arrival. Just send them your flight number and arrival time.

view over Punchbowl Crater and the airport Honolulu

View over Punchbowl Crater and the airport

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Hawaiian culture continued

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In old Polynesian Hawai’i life must have a bit like living in paradise. Ok, probably only if you belonged to the right class. But I would assume that real stress was unknown. In this post I will talk about some cultural aspects you might already know from those cultural programs in hotels throughout the islands, but most likely don’t know their background and real meaning.

 Lei:

Like most traditions the Lei-Making has been brought to the islands by the first Polynesian settlers from the South Pacific. Those wreaths are not always made of flowers. You will find Leis made of shells, nuts, leaves, feathers and sometimes even animal bones or teeth. To give a Lei to somebody is always an expression of honor, respect and lots of Aloha. A Lei should actually never touch your neck, but only your shoulders.

The leaves of the Maile plant were being used for leis that were given to the Ali’i (royalty). This endemic plant is liaised with Laka, the godess of the Hula. These leis aren’t closed like a wreath, but open and look more like a flower shawl. In old times Maile Leis were also being used as a sign of settling peace between two chiefs. Today they are being used for special occasions like weddings.

My favorites are the Kokui nut leis. This tree is sacred to the Hawaiians, since they could use the oil for their lamps and also for healing. So this tree was a very important part of the daily life. And you can keep those leis forever. A lot of my female friends cherish them as jewellery. But mostly you will get the ones made of orchids, that are being cultivated on plantations around Hilo on the Big Island, close to the Volcanoes National Park. You can even visit some of those plantations. A lot of hotels offer courses in lei-making. In case you attend one of those don’t forget to weave in lots of Aloha. Cause in this world we are lacking love and respect, don’t we?

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Hula:

As mentioned in earlier posts Hula was given to the Hawaiians by the god Lono on the Island of Moloka’i. In ancient times this dance was only to be danced by men. Only when the Europeans and most of all the US-American soldiers came in great numbers to the islands women started to do the Hula for entertaining purposes. In a culture that doesn’t know letters, the people will have to find other ways to preserve their traditions and legends. Hula is a very beautiful way of doing this. Each movement stands for a word which means that well trained dancers will be able to tell stories of times gone by. Hula is often accompanied by chants. A cute and funny way to explain this to visitors is the Hukilau, a song that tells about men that go fishing in the ocean or a pond by throwing out nets. And it is very popular in the hotels throughout the islands to teach the first steps of Hula to tourists.

These days there is a difference being made between traditional and modern Hula. The traditional way has very strict rules while the modern Hula leaves room for interpretations. Although I have to admit that most Hula shows, don’t have anything to do with the original, I do have to admit that I just love them. The colorful costumes, the soothing music and the grace of the dancers movements all blend into a very romantic event. If you want to see the real stuff, you can visit the Merry Monarch Festival, held each year the week after Easter in Hilo. This festival is something like the world championship. But if you really want to be there you will have to make hotel arrangements at least a year in advance, or book a hotel on the Kona side of the island and then do quite some driving. Another event where you can see the real Hula is during the Aloha Festival in September in Honolulu on Oahu.

Ukulele:

Most people think that the Ukulele is THE Hawaiian instrument, but that’s not true. This „little guitar“ was actually brought to the islands by Portuguese plantation workers. The Hawaiians liked the sound of it and incorporated this instrument in their traditional music. While Hawaiian music is probably not everyone’s taste, I just love it and I own a nice collection of CD’s with Hawaiian music. Sitting on my balcony on a hot summer day, sipping a Mai Tai and listening to this music gives me a glimpse of paradise.

Talking about Hawaiian music. There is something the islanders have invented. It’s called slack key. And from what I understand this means that the strings of the instrument are being untightened until they form one chord when hit. Sorry, I don’t play the guitar, so if I’m wrong, please don’t hesitate to explain it the right way.

Talk Story:

This is one the favorite pastimes of the Hawaiians. But what is there to do at night sitting around a bonfire and no TV and no Wifi around? For some of you this might be hard to imagine, but these days aren’t that far in the past. The old Polynesians „talked stories“. Again, a culture that doesn’t know letters, has to find other ways to preserve their past and let the ancestors be part of the present. An official meeting begins often with a very special song, that a) invites the spirits of the ancestors to come and be part of the occasion and b) is asking them for safeguard. I had the honor to hear this song a couple of times and every time I’m getting goose bumps and do feel the presence of the spirits.

Hawaiian legends are very pictographic and often talk about bravery and love. But they can also be pretty cruel. I will sample some of them in later posts. If you know Hawaiian legends, please feel free to add some to this post.

And I am always looking forward to comments from my readers. 🙂

 

Hawaii – Culture

Polynesian roots

The Polynesian culture of the native Hawaiians fascinated me right from my first contact and I was trapped in admiration. It is so different from my European roots, but on the other side there are a lot of similarities with our pre-roman cultures. It’s based on the necessity to live in accord with mother nature and can teach us quite a lot in our time, where our technical progress has brought us to a point where we talk more and more about the global heating and climate change.

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For this post I diligently researched the net and found a lot of information on Wikipedia. My goal is to explain to you in my own words why I am so fascinated, but don’t want to tell you lies. The first thing you realize when starting to dive into this adventure is the fact that there are a lot of similarities between the cultures of the other South-Pacific Islands. This is taken as a proof that the first Hawaiians did arrive with their outrigger canoes from exactly those islands.

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Religion:

As I already explained in one of my posts, the Hawaiians didn’t know any letters. There are quite a few places to be found on the islands with petroglyphs, but most of what we know today has been transferred orally from generation to generation. This is why one of most favorite pastimes for Hawaiians is „Talk Story“. They sit together and and tell each other stories and legends of the past. I will post my favorites in one of my next posts. They are very pictorial and poetic.

But let’s start first with a description of the different gods, the Hawaiians worshiped.

There are 4 main male gods. Lono, a god of copiousness, who was also in charge of music. In his honor the Hawaiians celebrated every year the Makahiki festival. During one of those celebrations Captain Cook set foot on the islands for the first time. The legend has it that Lono descended from heaven to earth on a rainbow to get married to Laka. Another legend tells us that he is the one who -on the island of Moloka’i- brought the Hula to men. Ku was the husband of the goddess Hina. As a couple they united opposites in each other. He was the only one that got human offerings. Kane (this is at the same time also the word for man) was the creator of heaven and earth. He had a shell that transformed into a boat the minute it was placed on water. And then there is Kanaloa, the god of the ocean.

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A Banyan Tree, under these trees the Hawaiians used to meet

The four female goddesses are Hina, the wife of Ku, which was the mother of life. She incorporates all characteristics of a woman. Laka, the wife of Lono, stands for beauty and dance, and therefore for everything sensual in our life. Pele is the best known goddess on the islands today. She is in charge of fire and the volcanoes. Actually she’s a rather nice lady, but if you get her mad, she let’s the earth rumble and the volcanoes spit fire. Legend has it that she lived on Maui’s Haleakala from where she was ousted and found refuge on the summit of Mauna Loa on the island of Hawai’i. Somebody must have made her real mad, since she’s spitting fire alongside the Kilauea since 1983 without taking a break. Finally there is Kapo, a sister of Pele. She is a dreaded witch that catches men and doesn’t treat them too nicely. A real maneater.

A very important part of the religion is Mana. Mana means first of all power, but it stands also for a strong energy, force and self-confidence. A old legend says, that the bigger your body, the more Mana it can accumulate. Therefore it was wise to be somewhat overweight. Since even your shadow is able to collect Mana there was a Kapu (taboo) that forbade regular people to step onto the shadow of a Ali’i (aristocrats). If you broke this rule you were sentenced to death.

The word Kapu even found it’s way in our language (English and German). It stands for a very strict prohibition. Kapu’s were invented by the Kings and could only be lifted by them. For example there was a Kapu that forbade men and women to eat together, a part from being on a canoe on the ocean. And women were not allowed to eat pork, turtles, bananas or coconuts. But even after breaking one of those Kapus you were entitled to a second chance. You were brought to a sacred place like Pu’uhonua O Honaunau Historical Park on the island of Hawai’i.

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This is actual my favorite place on the islands. Today you can see an old Heiau (temple) and an original Hawaiian village. A convict was brought to the opposite side of the bay and had to swim through it. If he made it, he was a free man. But there were the best warriors and some unfriendly animals in the water to make it not too easy.

I am not much of a mystic believer, but when I came to this place for the first time on a very early morning I felt a very strong spiritual force in that place. There is a lot of Mana flowing. At night you are supposed to meat „night marchers“ here. These are the spirits of dead warriors that still walk the earth at special places. From what I was told they are usually harmless, but you shouldn’t risk to stand in their way. I know a lady with a lot of Hawaiian blood in her veins, that assured me that she has met those guys once. I myself am not very keen on meeting them.

That much for today. I will write more about this in a later post.

Hawaii – Language

When you do business with the Hawaiian Islands you will most certainly communicate in English, but soon you will realize that Hawaiians are using words you won’t understand right away. For a very long time the Hawaiian language and culture have been suppressed and anything Hawaiian was looked at as something uneducated natives would use.

Today this has gratefully changed and Hawaiians can once again be proud of their very own history and culture. These days there are schools that teach in Hawaiian and the culture goes through a revival that is  not only in the purpose to entertain tourists.

Origins

The Hawaiian language originates in the Polynesian (southern Pacific Islands), but some letters have changed from island to island. The letter K for example was replaced by a Okina (‚). It is actually more of a sound that you create at the back of your throat. T became a K and R was transformed into L. The Hawaiian Alphabet needs only 12 letters plus the Okina. Currently there are only about 1.000 native speakers, but with funding from the authorities and thanks to Hawaiian schools this number will increase over the years. On Ni’ihau, the so called forbidden island, which is privately owned, language and culture are highly protected. One can set foot on this island only after receiving an invitation from the owners.

If you are a German native speaker , like me, it is relatively easy to learn the language, since you pronounce the words just as they are written. An E will always be pronounced as in better and an A as in large. Since this language existed for a long time only orally, the written language was created after the sounds. Some of the words tend to be very long and syllables are being repeated, so you will have to read some words several times aloud before you can pronounce them. The name of the state fish is a very good example for this: Humuhumunukunukuapua’a.

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