Last day in Maui

August 26, 2006

Mark Carlson, composer, rugged individualist, and fearless vacationer, has been touring Maui while I’ved holed up in this time share in Kihue finishing a new choral piece. He slathers himself in SPF50 sunblock, puts on his LL Bean hat, and with maps in hand takes off to explore, hike, and take pictures. Here is a picture from one of his hikes on the North shore. In 1964, a tsunami wiped out everything on the Northeast part of the island with the exception of this little church, built in the late 19th century, and still standing.

church.jpg

Hearing about the tsunami didn’t really help my time here. They have evacuation signs everywhere, so assuming we all had enough time to get in our cars and peacefully climb up the [“not extinct”] volcano, everyone would be fine. Having finished said choral piece, yesterday I got to join Mark and we went up that mountain, er, volcano. On the way we saw the only remaining sugar mill on the island, belching hot steam into the muggy sky. (I’m dying to come back and do a photo essay in black and white on this place.)

sugarmill.jpgWe [Mark] drove up a long, well paved road up, up, up and up, and omigod we climbed 10,000 feet until we saw an observatory. We were above the clouds. As you may have experienced with gorgeous natural places, it’s hard to get it all in a photo, but the views were absolutely stunning. We looked down into the Haleakala Crater, out at the ocean, out into the sea, off at other islands in the distance, and there we were above the clouds.

haleakala.jpgIt was bone chilling considering we dumb Californians were wearing T-shirts and shorts, but we braved the cold, tromped around taking pictures and seeing the endangered Silversword plant which “attached itself to a California bird millions of years ago” and has managed to survive atop this volcano that looks more like the surface of Mars than it does Hawaii.

silversword.jpg

Parched and tired, we finally got back down around 7:30 and went to Moose McGilicutty’s for dinner. We stopped in a wine store and met the owners –– two gay guys, lovers, who had left San Francisco in the mid-80s: “we lost all our friends to AIDS. It was still called ‘grid’ at that time.” We realized that Maui doesn’t seem to be much of a gay island, which was fine: it wasn’t what we were looking for anyway. My partner has been sending me love notes and love calls from LA saying come home soon, your family misses you. And I miss them too. Mark begins teaching at Santa Monica College on Monday. He has successfully done quite a few of the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzles, and “rumi-nated” over his selection of Rumi poems which he will be setting this fall. I jump back into finishing the music to the film Cages (which has now been sold and distribution assured), and then another wedding next weekend (Damon and Jane) in Santa Rosa. We had hoped to do a syllabus for the music theory courses that we are both teaching at UCLA this fall, but the books remained untouched.
Today we are off to the western shore where all the big resorts are. I guess the sugar factories closed at some point and decided to reinvest in resorts instead: good call.

Aloha!

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