Wednesday, February 29, 2012

All About the Journey: Road to Hana Part 5

First off, Happy Leap Day! It only comes around once every four years so enjoy it. An extra day! What will you do with it? I took a walk with Jackson the Wonder Dog and am researching enjoyable ways to make money. How 'bout that?

VW did not send the video--having technical difficulties. So we have that hilarious video to look forward to.

I would like to wrap up the Hana saga today with a free-for-all of photos and some final thoughts on the whole adventurous beauty-packed day on the Maui East Coast.

My obsession with trees was in full force on this day. Looking back, it's probably good that I broke my camera early because in the first hour of this journey, I had taken as many pictures as possible of every kind of leaf, bark, branch, vine, flower, piece of dirt, bird, bird egg, molecule, insect, insect egg, and tree I saw. I had definitely gone overboard. Sorting through those photos would have made me so frustrated. Using someone else's camera helped me to calm down a bit and actually enjoy the sites instead of trying to capture every little thing. I was like a nature paparazzi. 
Typical tree hugger picture. I am glowing I am so excited. 
I love the way the light illuminates the vine leaves like this. I think, but am not 100% positive , that this vine is called the Taro vine. Ancient beautiful tree.

Our first hike showed us this view. I thought the vegetation looked neat.  I was still in my photo overload mode.

Ahh! The first waterfall we saw. It is but just a speck from here but later we drove past it, and I was not able to react fast enough to get a good shot. But I got this one from up the mountain. That's good enough.

Driving along the coast. 

Oops, take it again. There's a little black sand beach. Better shot.

Take 1 of random pretty scenic driving. Water meets land, land meets water.

Take 2 of scenic coast shot. 

As a big plus, the radio had all kinds of good stations. It happened to be Bob Marley's birthday the day we rode the Hana Highway so one station filled us up with magical Marley reggae. I loved the Hawaiian station. That's the inside of the jeep that carried us to and fro. 

I would just get so excited and have to take a picture of what we were driving through randomly. I loved all the green. I couldn't get enough. I wanted to capture moments. 

Funky Dr. Seuss tree. This is my special tribute to Dr. Seuss.  

"Spin it like a helicopter!" More funky Dr. Seuss trees to the right. 

Funky Dr. Seuss trees holding hands, or branches. Siamese funky Dr. Seuss trees.  Funky Dr. Seuss trees joined at the hip. Funky Dr. Seuss trees joined together for eternity, or at least a few thousand years. 

Loco for the coco. We stopped for coconut ice cream, and I cried it was so good. It was vegan ice cream because it was made with real coconuts. And it was so good. Look how resourceful they were to use the pieces of the coconut as spoon. Although as greedy as I am, I thought I lost some ice cream in the wood there. It was so fine. 

Coconut Glen's sign. Happy little place with some great people.

Taking it all in. Enjoying the beauty. 

These last pics were taken on my Blackberry because I ran out of room on W's phone. That is some little deserted island with one palm tree on it. One little lone palm tree. I though that was peculiar. 

The black beach we thought was really neat. We want to try this beach out at some point. We were running out of time and getting hungry at this point. 

The Banyan Tree. The massive, hugely gigantic, ancient Banyan Tree we encountered on the way up the mountain to the big-time waterfall that acted as the grand finale. This was our last hike, but not our last adventure. 

As we finally ended our last trail of the day around 5:30 pm, we crawled up, panting and sweating and hungry and tired, and were immediately rejuvenated by this sight. I never got the exact number of how tall it is, and it does not rank in world records, but it was the biggest one we saw all day. And we saw a lot. After all we had seen beforehand, we prayed for a major climax. Ask and you shall receive. We got up under this waterfall, to drink and bathe and feel the cold. Lots of mist and cold water I didn't even hardly notice at the bottom of this. It was gorgeous, seriously breath-taking. We looked up to watch the waterfall come down above us. The 5-mile was worth it. Look at that beautiful rock too. 

To close it up, before my cell phone lost power, I took this of the setting sun as we drove toward the west along the coast back to our part of the island. I'm surprised I stopped to take a pic because I remember my back hurting because I was so worried about not being able to get home. You see, there were no other cars on this side of Hana, and the land we rode through was windy and deserted. This part of Maui was the last eruption of Haleakala so there was only one tiny town with no gas station or anything. Anyway, part of the road was not paved and much of it was extremely narrow around cliffs that hung over the Pacific. And I was driving. And for the first time all day, I was fearing for my safety.
But we made it! And got all those great pics with just our phones! I know I won't get any Scholastic awards, but I am pretty proud. And we survived. 

You can guess what I'm about to say, the goody tag line of the day, the little piece of cheese. The Road to Hana is not about getting to Hana. Hana is a cool little town, and we hope to stay there someday, but the attraction is the road trip. If I could take this wisdom of enjoying the ride with me every day, I would be an unabashedly joyful, present lady. 

I forget this every day. I think it's the most important lesson of life: Don't spend all your time trying to get somewhere as fast as you can. By all means, go somewhere. But every step you take is meant to be enjoyed. In short, it's all about the journey. One day, certainly, you will look back and know this without a doubt. 

Liza Jane

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happy Birthday to W

It is a special day. My spouse is now 28. (He actually turned 28 yesterday, but it was a busy day, and I wasn't feeling too hot so let's pretend). My post today is tribute to my husband, who has truly changed my life. In a lot of different ways.

Just to show how cute he is...
W jumping up and down at our wedding last July.
Notice everyone having an awesome time around my husband, lots of laughing and smiling.

I'm running the risk of embarrassing him. But he should know...

If you know my man, you know that he is a darling person. As shown in those first two pictures, my husband is the most fun. People who are around him are always having a good time. His smile and laugh are bright and contagious. He will pull you in with his playful charm, and before you know it, you will feel better and happier than before. He is simply uplifting, a happiness spreader. He lightens up everything.

And we were lucky enough to find each other. The smirking guy with the dark hair to the right of W's shoulder is my cousin. Today is his birthday too. Happy Birthday dear Eric!
Look at that sweet smile. Love those cheeks.
In the middle of my wild and rebellious single days at Ole Miss in 2008, this man smiled at me and caught my attention from across the room. Later, he found me.

W: What are you doing?
Me: I don't know. What are you doing?
W: Whatever you're doing. 
Me: (laughing) Good answer.

That's how the whole thing got going. That was my first encounter with the pleasing charisma and innocent charm of the guy who would become my partner. I didn't know it then, but I had snagged a special fellow. And he had snagged me--which was not an easy feat back then because I was right in the middle of spreading my wings--to add to his praise. 

Still having a great time together.
Sunday night at my friend Virginia's apartment in New Orleans, I gave him his cake. I wanted show him how much I care. (Virginia is sending a video of the cake incident that she happened to get on her iPhone so stay tuned--will probably post tomorrow.) It was a great time. Riding on the city of New Orleans never fails, especially for a birthday.

Our friend Janna drinking something called Shark Attack. Special ingredient: the blood of an innocent victim. 
SV, me, and VW riding around NO. Living where I do has generated a new appreciation of girlfriends and girlfriend time together. I drink up every second with my amazing friends. 
We went to an awesome restaurant Casamento's for some raw oysters, or ersters as the true cajuns say, as SV so kindly pointed out to me. 

Mike, the oyster guy, keeping us entertained as we waited for a table. 
So today, I want to say happy birthday and thank you to my husband for making my life so a) fun and b) rich and c) wonderfully beautiful. He has brought so much love. I don't know where I would be without him, literally. Just pretty glad he was born. 

Liza Jane

PS: Happy happy birthday to Eric and W's grandmother and my great grandfather who would have been 110 today! Some great people born at this time. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls Part 2: Road to Hana Part 4

The all-knowing, omniscient guidebook told us to stop again, that we could hike up a hunter's trail and encounter some cool waterfalls at the end. Again, we stopped and looked around for the entrance to such a trail, but this one was not as hard to find as the other. There was a big sign that said "Hunter's Trail" so we knew this time that we were on the right track. W got to the sight first, and I said, "What is it dear husband? Is there anything to see?"
W looking at something that made him put his hands on his hips like so.

Something to see.
Yes, there it was. The guidebook underestimated this one in our opinion. It was breath-taking. Where are we? Oh my goodness--look at that water. W's first question: can we swim in it? Of course. I'm thinking, "How did I end up with this fish man?" Then I see he has his towel just in case. 

Side view of walls of this waterfall and valley. What did I do to deserve this?
That's me just pondering this wonderful place. Look at all that green--every shade. My favorite color is everywhere. It's enough to make this day one of my favorite days ever in my life. But what am I looking at?
High up. My thoughts at this point ranged from, "I hope no one ever jumps off this" to ... well, no thought at all. Just awe. 
I have a thing for bridges (my hobbies and interests range). This one over this big waterfall made me stop and snap. 
One more of the bridge! Notice that sky and the valley. As we walked on, this was our view of the bridge from the other side, where we found another surprise around the corner...
Another freaking waterfall. This one was shorter but had an accessible pool with a little rock beach. This smaller one led into the bigger one you saw a second ago. What do you know--W has gotten in before I can turn around. I estimate scientifically with a shriek that the water is 40 degrees, more or less. And then I am convinced and peer pressured by some elder ladies standing there to get in with him. 
"Hurry up and take the picture!" I screamed at the lady taking the picture. Yes, I am very respectful and decent, yelling at older ladies I don't know. "I'm turning into one of those people in the Atlantic Ocean with the ice on their faces at the end of Titanic!"See how I cling to W as if the water is going to jump up and assault me. But the waterfall is pretty with the scenery behind it. 

After the pic, I thank the lady (I didn't really yell at her, technically). She proceeds to tell me she just crossed the pool and jumped off a ledge at the other end before we showed up. Wow, lady, way to make a 25-year-old feel inadequate and sissified. Thank you. Feeling really good about myself now. 
Splashing around. He stayed in. Showoff. 

Nevermind. 5 seconds later, my husband says uncle. W said, "Whew! That is real cold. I can't even stay in there." The older lady showed us both up. Oh well. I don't do frigid water. I don't care how pretty it is. 
But I can put my feet in. Look how clear the water. Don't look at the chipped toenail polish though. I didn't know if it was sanitary, but I didn't care. I drank this water. It was so clear and cold. I wanted to drink it, and I did. I figured this was the way the ancients drank water, from clear pools like this? And since I am obsessed with native and ancient peoples, I do what they do. It tasted good, refreshing, rejuvenating. 

Later, I learned it might have given me diarrhea. Oops. Oh well. Glad it didn't. I'm living on the edge. 

No offense to TLC, (Oh goodness--now I'm referring to a hip hop girl band from the 90s--what has it all come to? And I have referred to Titanic in the same post--am I still stuck in the 90s? Was Titanic in the 90s anyway?) but I recommend chasing waterfalls. I know they were talking about doing drugs and serious STDs, but if we are talking about other things like dreams and goals, please don't stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to. Chase those waterfalls! Go higher! You can always get deeper, you can always improve and reach higher. We love our Bee Lake where home is, but chasing higher waterfalls was a joy. 

We are off to New Orleans for a wedding! Should be a good time. Have a beautiful weekend. 

Liza Jane

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls Part 1: Road to Hana Part 3

Part 1 of Part 1 of Part 3 is just a hole in the wall. The hole in the side of the mountain that crawled through (told you about a couple of days ago).

Don't know how this one got away from me when I was posting the other day, but my inbox lately looks like Pandora's Box so here it is a little late:
Don't know what we were thinking when we climbed into this thing.
Enough with the Cave Woman saga. It's like I'm calling myself some kind of prehistoric superhero. Anyway, on to our next tale of danger and intrigue--Secret Waterfall #1.

Part 2 of Part 1 of Part 3:
I told W to pull over between some mile markers because apparently, there was this cool pool and waterfall where you could dive into the water. Praying W wouldn't want to do it and that maybe some trained and skillful local happened to be doing it at the same time we were there, I wanted to see this place.

All we found when we stopped was the beginning of a path that led into some really congested woods. We were actually crawling at one point (which is not a big deal if you look at the whole day), but I mean these woods were just packed with every type of shrubbery. The trail disappeared within seconds after we started into the forest, and then we started relying on the sound of the waterfall to get us to it. I started veering to the left and following the sound, climbing over and swinging from branches and trees. I felt a little like Sacagawea.

All of a sudden, the woods opened up to a clearing, with a gorgeous clear pool, leading to a fast and powerful waterfall that pushed through two big black rocks and into a flowing, dark pool below. Surely, this is not where people dived. But what was really special to me was how these orange and red flowers had fallen on the black rock. They looked like they had been strategically and evenly placed all over for a spa effect, you know? At our hotel, they had placed those red hibiscus flowers everywhere: on our tub, by our sink, on the steps in the lobby, at the front desk. I thought that was a good touch and made things seem romantic and pretty. But when God and nature placed the flowers around a pool and waterfall for us, it was mystifying. They looked so perfectly and wistfully positioned.

W sitting at the mouth of the Secret Waterfall #1. Notice the pretty flowers on the rock in top-right corner. Notice the pretty moss on the rock too. 
En route to his place in the first picture. I said, "Concentrate. Watch every step. Do not fall. Focus. Now look at me really fast so I can take your picture."
Just sitting on a huge lava boulder, watching a powerfully strong waterfall.
Notice where this waterfall led--people dive into that--through there? What?  They might as well have an ambulance and lawyer posted here at all times. Notice the pretty orange flower to the left of the opening, perfectly placed.

We threw the phone across the waterfall so I could shine for a little bit. And then I came up with this sexy pose that makes me look like I have a back problem and no legs, face illuminated like Moses.
The flowing current. I love the way water looks before and after and during waterfall. 
The swimming pond above the waterfall that we seriously considered getting into, until I put one foot in and could not feel my toes for the next 5 minutes. I wanted to get in so bad, but was it worth it to be miserably uncomfortable for a few minutes just to say I had gotten in, just for the sake of doing it? We will never know.
Symbolism of my indecision. Shoe on, shoe off. Get in, stay out. Should I stay or should I go?  To be or not to be? I sat here like this for a while--you'd think I was considering a career or something, which I really should put this kind of mental energy into.  
Crawling around the rocks and waterfall like a monkey. 
So after we figured out that we were kidding ourselves if we were thinking we were going to get into the water, we headed back through the make-believe trail and found the way back to the highway. People were parked next to us, and they were standing across the highway next to a bridge. Oh! That's the place  where you can dive and swim in the pool. Where were we?

It doesn't matter. We had found our own little secret place. We had missed the big attraction, but found our own little treasure. Sometimes that happens, you know? You planned to go somewhere and ended up somewhere else, but it all seemed planned anyway and better than you would have imagined.

Liza Jane