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Maui

The first time I was in Maui, I wrote a poem (see below). I wrote it in my head as I walked from Lahaina to Ka´anapali, while I eavesdropped on a curious religious service, by the beach that lined the road from the capital to the resort area.

I had just bought a book of Hawaiian mythology, and I was under the spell of Iz, the late Hawaiian musician. The beauty of the islands, the Polynesian features of its inhabitants, their bewitching traditional music and relaxed lifestyle; there was nothing about Hawaii that didn´t fascinate me.

In a way, the poem aims at understanding why people with such rich traditions quickly embraced the Christian faith, and to pay tribute to their own adaptation of Western religious rites, which included drumming by the beach.

I feel in love with Hawaii the first moment I saw her. I don´t know if it is because Hawaii is so identified with volcanoes, and the divinity controlling volcanoes in the mythology is a goddess (Pelle); but I like to think Hawaii as a she.

Before I continue, you need to listen to IZ sing in the beautiful Hawaiian language:

A trademark photo of IZ

You have to listen to that music and picture a green land of friendly people, a place where harmony permeates all things, where all creatures live in peace.

Maui sort of grew in me. The first times I was there, it was just Lahaina and the resorts. I had the MOST DELICIOUS sushi at the WESTIN MAUI on the beach, surrounded by beautiful waterfalls and an intoxicating sunset; I swam in the blue waters and snorkeled in a deserted beach with my BC friend Shannon and her wonderful Jamaican husband Anthony, I had my first Ginger Rush for breakfast at that lovely coffee shop near the dock, and I had pineapples I am not capable of describing, as I listened to IZ pouring his soul out on my headphones.

Later on, I would discover the famous (or infamous; depending who you hear it from) Banana Bungalow crowd; but that is really another story, one that includes a night spent on the beach under the Maui starts, and it deserves a blog of its own…

There was so much to MAUI, so many sides to this well-known and yet mysterious island. Even the luaus I never attended have captured my imagination. There are some places that have such a strong culture, that they just grip you by the heart and don´t let go.

It is impossible to see MAUI, to meet its people,

to have someone carve Polynesian marks upon your skin (like I did; you guessed, another story…), to listen to its musicians, and leave without feeling inside your gut that it is not the last time; without of promise of return.

For MAUI is one place you will always want to go back to, no matter how much time has passed, if things have changed, no matter how many active volcanoes may threaten you from the island´s core; MAUI will be forever yours.

CAVALRY CHAPEL OF THE SEA

Preaching obedience

to the laws of God

with the conga drums

on the waterfront

JESUS IS COMING

from the neon sign

on the highway

Better to die than to burn

he said then he played his drum

Assemble on Sunday by the beach

to listen to him preach

of Jesus coming

and of Kingdom come

they should be praying to a demi god

and living by the polynesian ways

and caring less about the laws of sin

and of its punishment

A land inviting to all the things

the bible deems impious

Maui

Let go the microphone

and embrace the drum

drink to the marrow of the coconut

and find the secrets

of the underground

temptation lay

behind the priest

that solitary beach

that so called doom

of all humanly pleasures

jesus is coming

from the neon sign

over the highway

as we drive away

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