The brief report you’ve all been demanding!

 

Atop Haleakala
A Haleakala silversword, which grows only on Maui, and only on this peak, atop Haleakala. Visibility today wasn’t as good as the last time we were here, but it was still possible to get a glimpse of the Big Island of Hawaii roughly a hundred miles away.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain)

 

Yesterday, we drove a bit around the western end of Oahu.  We ate lunch in a restaurant in Hale‘iwa called “Breakers,” and I want to mention it because the coconut shrimp (local, I think) and the fish and chips (locally caught ono, for sure) were among the best we’ve ever had, anywhere.  I recommend it.

 

Later, we drove over to Laie, via Waimea and Kahuku Point.  There, we had dinner with Keith Lane and Jennifer Clark Lane of the BYU-Hawaii faculty and, afterwards, took in the nightly show at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  It’s a new production — to us, anyway — titled Ha: The Breath of Life.  It was entertaining, and the audience (which, based on a few empty seats and the theater’s capacity of 2700, I would put at about 2600) plainly enjoyed it.  As always, they especially loved the fire dancers.

 

Candidly, I think I liked the previous production somewhat better, although that could be owing to the fact that our seats, this time, were pretty far over to stage left, so that we missed some important things.  More importantly, I really regret that there was no explanation, as there used to be, of the relationship of the performers and the PCC to BYU-Hawaii and the Church.  I don’t ask for overt preaching; a short and sample statement would have been more than ample.  For instance, at the very end, the performers are introduced by nation of origin (e.g., Fiji, Aotearoa [New Zealand], Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, and Hawaii).  It could simply have been said that they are students at Brigham Young University-Hawaii, a university sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

I think it an opportunity missed, not least because Mormons are widely thought to be rather benign white supremacists, and this cast featured a significant number of very brown Mormon faces.  (By the way, although I dislike tokenism, I’m pleased at this, too.)  And the audience itself included quite a number of non-whites, including Hispanics, African-Americans, and a large number of people from Japan.

 

Oh well.

 

Before driving home, we stopped by the Laie Hawaii Temple, which is breathtakingly beautiful at night.

 

The first and oldest Hawaiian temple. May it be the first of four!
One last look, for now, at the temple in Laie. This photo doesn’t really do it justice, even visually. And then there’s the gentle tropical breeze off of the Pacific Ocean, a few hundred yards away . . .
(Wikimedia Commons public domain)

 

This morning, we flew from Honolulu to Kahului, Maui.

 

Since we couldn’t check-in at our lodgings yet, we drove immediately to one of our very favorite places, the summit of Haleakala.  To do so, we drove from essentially sea level to an altitude just under 10,100 feet.  It’s a world apart from the beach resorts of Kaanapali, and I wonder how many tourist beachcombers are even aware of it.  A pity.

 

Atop the summit is an observatory complex that tracks satellites and other objects in space.  One of the instruments is said to be able  to monitor something the size of a basketball or a baseball — I remember reading the former; my wife remembers reading the latter; either way, it’s very impressive — at a distance in space of 20,000 miles.

 

Instruments atop Haleakala
A portion of the Haleakala Observatory complex   (Wikimedia Commons public domain)

 

On the way down, we admired Haleakala’s appropriately extraterrestrial landscape.

 

From another geological epoch.
Atop Haleakala, a weirdly beautiful landscape extends in all directions. And then you look over the clouds and the sea, and the islands in the distance. It’s truly a God’s-eye view.   (Wikimedia Commons public domain)

 

Even if you come to Maui intent on snorkeling and (seasonal) whale-watching — both of which are superb here — you really should, if you can manage, take a drive up to the top of Haleakala.

 

Practical tips:  It’s a National Park, so bring a pass or be prepared to pay.  And don’t be discouraged if it seems to be ringed with heavy cloud.  That may or may not mean much.  Even today, we climbed above the worst of the fog and had pretty good visibility.  The last time we were here, we nearly turned around because of pea-soup fog and sometimes heavy rain, and then emerged into brilliant sunlight, utter clarity, and far distant vistas in all directions.

 

Posted from Kaanapali, Maui, Hawaii

 

 

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