The Real World: Hawaii – Episode Three

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

It occurred to me that I forgot to mention the food we ate after we went to Hanauma Bay and Sea Life Park. For lunch, Morah, Ashley and I went to a plate lunch shop called Loco Moco Drive Inn. The food there was excellent. For an afternoon snack, Morah and I went to Zippy’s where I had a bowl of their famous chili. Zippy’s chili is somewhat of an icon in Hawaii. I don’t think it’s possible to live in Hawaii and not at least have heard about Zippy’s chili. For dinner, Morah and I ate at a funky little Vietnamese pho shop called Pearl Pho. It was good, but there weren’t any other customers, so the employees just sat there staring at us. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was eating something the wrong way, but wrong or right, it tasted =so= good.

Tuesday morning found Morah and I at the Waikiki Aquarium. I took several pictures of various animals, including one really cool shot of a nautilus (not a link to the picture, sorry. I’ll have them online soon). The aquarium hadn’t changed much, but there was a new tank that had box jellyfish Moon Jellyfish in it, which kicked ass.

Right next to the aquarium is the Natatorium. It’s in better condition than it was when I left, thanks to a controversial $11 million renovation in 2000. Sadly, the saltwater pool itself is still in dire need of repair and the public is not yet allowed beyond the gates.

As you may have heard, the waves on the North and West facing shores of O’ahu were huge. The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational is only held when the waves entering Waimea Bay reach twenty feet or larger, so the event is only held every once in a great while. We wanted to see the waves, so we ventured up to Waimea Bay where traffic was inordinately heavy. The waves were =HUGE=! I didn’t take any pictures because it’s hard to convey their size (it helps to know what Waimea Bay normally looks like), so you’ll just have to believe me when I tell you it was an amazing sight.

While on the North shore, we stopped by Matsumoto’s for shave ice and Giovanni’s White Shrimp Truck for lunch. I had never had my shave ice with adzuki beans before, but I was surprised at their pleasantly sweet taste. I do have to admit that eating beans, ice cream and shave ice all in the same bite is a bit weird, but if you get the chance, you should try it. The shrimp at Giovanni’s ruled. It was =smothered= in garlic and so ‘ono (Hawaiian for delicious)! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had used garlic to kill the shrimp before cooking them. My only complaint was that you have to peel (and in some cases de-vein) your own shrimp.

Before I go on, I should first explain something about me and the paranormal. Ghosts don’t really scare me; nor do most urban legends. I tend to doubt the existence/authenticity of most religious and ghost stories, =except= for those that pertain to Hawaii. It may simply be that I’m more inclined to believe because Hawaii is where I grew up, but as my aunt pointed out, the scariest stories in the world always come from Hawaii (they’re called Obake). I don’t care if any of the Obake are true or not, I don’t take any chances when it comes to Hawaiian mythology.

Our next stop was at the Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau; a 5-acre, 300-foot bluff overlooking Waimea Bay. A heiau is a sacred Hawaiian burial ground. I’ve been to several and they’re always creepy. Pu’u O Mahuka is one of the more peaceful ones, but it still makes me nervous. In 1989 and 1990, the Waha’ula Heiau on the big island was directly in the path of a lava flow. Both times, everyone was convinced that this piece of important Hawaiian history was going to be lost forever and both times, the lava flows went around the heiau, leaving it untouched. Shortly thereafter, I visited the site and it was amazing to see a field of nothing but ugly black rock with nothing for miles except for this heiau.

Our last stop on the North shore was to my parent’s A-frame house in Ka’a’awa, which was previously owned by movie star Jason Scott Lee (and may still be). My parents said that the neighborhood was significantly different. I never lived in the A-frame because my parents moved while my mother was pregnant with me. I wanted them to go knock on the door and if Jason Scott Lee answered, pretend not to know who he was, but they wouldn’t do it.

On our way back into town, we stopped at the Pali Lookout. We took a few pictures and I showed Morah the old Pali Road. I had never walked down the old Pali Road, and when my aunt heard this, she told us we had to do it. The old Pali Road is overgrown and really rundown (at one point, we found an enormous boulder sitting in the middle of the road. In fact, it was on a bridge. We were super nervous). Considering the weather and the fact that it was just the two of us, it was actually pretty scary.

So now let’s examine why the Pali is a creepy place. There are several reasons, each as important as the other. The word “Pali” means cliff. This is exactly what the lookout is, except with a railing. When King Kamehameha and his army invaded O’ahu in 1795 (as part of his successful attempt to unite the islands), they drove the opposing army over the cliff. Another legend tells of Poki, the polymorphic spirit dog, which guards the sacred burial grounds in the area around the Pali. The third legend states that pork cannot be brought over the Pali. As the story goes, if you have pork in your car, the engine will stop before you get to the top (if you’re lucky. There are other stories of less-fortunate souls who tried to take pork over and either didn’t live, or barely escaped with their lives). The reason for this has to do with the old battles between Kamapua’a, the half-human, half-pig demi god, and Pele, the volcano goddess. According to one website:

According to Hawaiian legends, taking pork over the Pali is linked to the turbulent relationship between Pele, the goddess of fire, and Kamapua‘a, a human demi-god – half-man, half-pig. The two agreed not to visit each other, but taking pork over the Pali means taking a form of Kamapua‘a from his domain (the wet side of the island) into Pele’s domain (the dry side of the island). Those who ignore Pele’s warnings risk her stopping the car from bringing Kamapua‘a’s body over the Pali.

So anyway, Morah and I were walking along the Old Pali Road (sans pork) and it was overcast and a little drizzly. Everything was wet and the colours all around us were very saturated, which only added to the dream-like quality of everything. My aunt had told us that the road wasn’t very long and just to walk along it to the end and back. Everything was so quiet and still that it was creepy. What was missing was life. There weren’t any birds chirping and the plants all around were yellowing. Even the ginger plants that were encroaching on the asphalt were dying, and ginger is a really hearty plant. The road turned out to be a lot longer than we thought (and extended beyond the point where my aunt said it stopped). Morah and I considered going back, but we decided to go on a bit further because we would hate to have gone that far only to quit twenty or fifty feet before the road actually ended. We had no idea how much farther the road really went, but we didn’t want to miss out, so we pressed on. About ten feet after we started down the trail, I heard something in the bushes and, knowing the Obake, froze. Morah started to ask me something, but I shushed her. We stood stock still in absolute silence for at least twenty seconds (it felt longer). I looked around and tried to see what made the noise, but there was nothing there. I looked town the path, but it curved around a hedge about fifteen feet ahead of us. My heart was racing and I was nervous as hell, so we decided to go back (we had been gone for a while anyway and it the drizzle seemed to be working its way up to actual rain).

An interesting phenomenon in Hawaiian legends is that the person in the back always gets it first. That is to say, if a group of people are walking single-file through a forest at night, the big, hairy monster will eat the person in the back first. This is why I prefer to walk in the back of a group of people; it allows me to protect them by sacrificing myself first. I don’t think I need to tell you the order in which Morah and I walked back to the car.

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