Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Of Housekeepers and Human Sacrifice

 We begin, today, with a random assortment of photos.  A triggerfish, sunset  at Hapuna beach, A Beach in the daylight, a fuzzy picture of a turtle, and Mokini Heiau.

So, I’ve been trying to find a way to create a unified piece that includes our car, our condo and our trip to Mokini Heiau. I think may have a finally come up with a theme that weaves them all together.

To begin: our 2010 Dodge Journey had 500 miles on it when we picked it up at the rental agency. Not a bad automobile as American made SUV’s go . The day after we got here, warning lights started going off. The ABS, stability and AWD systems lights go on and off with, what has now become, soothing regularity. Rob called the rental car company and they pretty much took the Greek approach: no problem. Meaning, it’s no problem for them. So far, it hasn’t conked out on us, so we shall continue to drive with fingers crossed and prayers to the car kahunas. Every once in a while it does remind us that we are at its’ mercy by giving a fairly hard lurch as Rob makes a turn or accelerates.

The Aston Shores at Waikoloa is our home away from home. When we checked in, on the 20th, we were all assigned to the same building, which has never happened before. Ok. The Wolotira branch went to check out the new digs and found…a king sized bed and a double. No hide-a-bed, just that sorry little double for Alena and Adam to SHARE. I went back and complained and the cheerfully apologetic girl told me that A) there were no rollaway beds and if there were, they would be $35/night. Yeah, that’s right. $35/night. B) they could easily reassign us. So, off we went to the next condo. It was fine, and as we began unloading for the second time, Ms. Cheerful called us to say that they had a better place for us, in another building. Newly renovated, and since we were going to be here for “13 nights, so we want you to be comfortable.” Not sure what the comfort level of someone staying , say, 12 or even 11 nights would be, but we appreciated the sentiment.  The renovations seem to amount to new countertops and appliances.  The bathroom (only one. The kids have a powder room to share.) that we all bathe in hasn't been done since the '80's and tiles are beginning to come loose and the corners of the tub are, well, not the same shade of beige that the tub is supposed to be.

The new room looked fine upon first inspection. As the days and nights have rolled by the condo has slowly been revealing her myriad flaws. Our king bed has a decided divot on my side and the springs in the box spring rub together every time you move, so that your motions can be heard by everyone. The kids beds are, purportedly, singles. We suspect they used Smurfs for sizing purposes because both kids hang off the beds. They, too, squeek, and the room is an oven by 8AM. One of the kitchen cabinets is unusable because it smells like a Zombie’s mouth. Window shades come apart with startling regularity, and the kids toilet has been leaking. The screen door on the kids slider fell off the very first time Alena opened it. Oh, and dead cockroaches magically appear!

We keep reminding ourselves that we are in Hawaii, so little things won’t bug us.

Except for the continuing war with the housekeepers that Tina and I are having. The deal is they come in and take out trash, make beds, and wave the vacuum at the carpet every day. Supposedly, every fourth day, the do a “full clean.” After 9 days, I was still waiting, so I asked our housekeeper when we were scheduled. She went all Philipino on me and suddenly lost her ability to speak English. “Full clean? Full clean? You ask supervisor.” Oddly, she spoke perfect English 20 seconds later when I asked her to get someone here to fix the toilet. Apparently, there’s some sort of TP and paper towel rationing, too because the kids went two days without until Alena had finally had enough and went to the office to get some. We did finally get a “decent” cleaning, which means that Ralph, the pet dead cockroach in the kids bathroom, was laid to rest. We’d been using him to gauge the type of cleaning we were getting.

One of the cooler things Rob and I have done is to go up to Mokini Heiau, which is a very large and very old Hawaiian temple. It sits on the northernmost tip of the island (if you think of the island as being shaped like a chiweinie’s head, the heiau is at the tip of Lola’s ear). It’s about as desolate a place as you can imagine—no people, few critters, and lots of wind. It is eerily quiet (except for the wind) and what gives it a 10 on the heebie jeebie scale is that this was a place used for centuries for human sacrifice. Thousands of people died there. We always think of the Hawaiians as being laid back and happy, but the ancient Hawaiians were seriously nasty people. They had a caste system that would make the Indians sit up and take notice: if you even stepped on the shadow of someone above you, you paid with your life. That’s nasty. One thing this site does have going for it is that it faces directly onto the south side of Maui, 30 miles away.

So, here’s my thought: perhaps we could resurrect the heiau, sacrifice a Dodge or two, threaten a housekeeper or two call it good?

Critter count:

Monk seals-2

Turtles-a dozen or so

Humpback whales-a dozen or so





Saffron finches-many

 Up next:  Into Madame Pele's Maw

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