I don’t know a lot of Spanish. I probably know just enough to get myself in trouble. As my tongue trips over itself trying to make the unfamiliar sounds, what I hear coming out of my mouth is often not the same as the sounds that my brain is telling it to make. I especially have trouble with the Letter R, and the double R. My fat, lazy, American tongue seems incapable of making that lovely trilling sound. Still, I am managing to communicate, in a very limited fashion, with the Spaniards.
I took a year of Spanish in junior high school, and another year in college. For those of you who don’t know, that was a very, very long time ago. More recently, I had 2 weeks of private lessons in Guatemala a couple of years ago. While I have never been anywhere close to fluent, and can speak only in the present tense,and my grammar is atrocious, a surprising amount of vocabulary is coming back to me. Enough anyway, that I have been able to confidently order food and drink, rent a bed or a room for the night, and buy bus tickets. I even walked up to a stranger and got directions to a restaurant where we could buy breakfast. It is all very rudimentary, but traveling is easier when you know at least a little of the language.
Molokai is a relatively small island with less than 8,000 people. It has a highway system that connects the various population centers together, but it is lightly used enough that there are no traffic signals on the island. Maui (especially in Lahaina) on the other hand has traffic, and parking issues. Molokai calls itself “the most Hawaiian of the islands”. What this means is that it is a low stress place to live and a great place to raise a family, but lacks a lot of the amenities that tourists expect. If you are looking for a tropical setting to relax in, Molokai is your place. If you are looking for lots of trendy restaurants and bars, and plenty of activities, Maui is more your speed.
Lahaina is an older town, most of the buildings date back to the early 1900’s. We stayed at the Pioneer Inn, built in 1903 and oozing with charm. It is in the thick of things, with the harbor to one side, and bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops all around.
After 6 blissful weeks on Molokai, I was ready for some action. In fact, even though Lahaina is a small town, I was like some country bumpkin seeing the big city for the first time. I was like a kid in a candy shop. As we walked down Front Street for the first time, I was oohing and aching and pointing at everything. I could’t wait to try some of the really touristy stuff.
Somehow, I talked Trog into going on the Submarine attraction, even though he had not quite recovered from the ferry ride from Molokai. It is an actual submarine, half a mile off-shore. It dives down to 130 feet below the surface. We got to see coral reefs, and lots of fish, and a submerged boat wreck. I found it fascinating and I think that Trog was not too traumatized by it.
That night we went to the Luau. It was a short easy walk from our lodgings, and set on a beach that, they say, was popular with the Hawaiian royal family, back in the day. They served a five course meal with an open bar. Each of the first four courses was representative of a different region (Hawaii, Aotearoa, Tahiti, and Samoa) and culture of Polynesia. These four courses were preceded by mai tais and some banana and sweet potato chips with a tropical salsa. All of this was followed by a dessert course, and each course contained three separate dishes. Lots of food (and drink). And each course was accompanied by a performance of the music and dance (and costuming) of that region. I am a sucker for any kind of folkloric dance performance, and had not gotten my fill of hula, so this was the perfect ending to my Hawaiian sojourn.