Two scoop Groundation @ Kauai and Maui, one big scoop @ The Pipeline, O’ahu; Twain tight-lipped on Maui getaway; I’m Lewis, he’s Clark & she’s Sacagawea; Aloha is not a slogan.
Twin Falls fruit stand on the Hana Highway
Last week’s shows took us back to the old days of touring with Groundation. On our first trip to the islands we stayed at the infamous Banana Bungalow in Wailuku, eight to a room. This time we stayed at the Pioneer Inn in Lahaina, by all accounts a very historical spot. Maui has an extraordinary reputation for quirkiness. Charles Lindberg is buried here, ’round the backside of the big volcano. In the spring humpback whales are as common as pigeons. My boy Mark Twain spent six weeks here when he was a travel writer back in the 1800s. When he got back to his desk the only thing he wrote about it was this:
“It has been six weeks since I touched a pen. In explanation and excuse I offer the fact that I spent that time…on the island of Maui. I only got back yesterday. I never spent so pleasant a month before, or bade any place good-bye so regretfully. I doubt if there is a mean person there, from the homeliest man on the island down to the oldest. I went to Maui to stay a week and remained five. I had a jolly time. I would not have fooled away any of it writing letters under any consideration whatever. It will be five or six weeks before I write again. I sail for the island of Hawaii tomorrow, and my Maui notes will not be written up until I come back.”
Predictably, he never wrote them up; whatever happened in Maui stayed in Maui. Your faithful pal Diesel had a jolly time, too, but maybe not as jolly as Mr. Clemens.
Lani at Venus
With Trombone-man Kelsey riding shotgun, we wound down the well-trodden Hana Road, reaching the Seventh of the Sacred Pools right at dusk. We were accompanied by the lovely Lani and her six-month old daughter Carmenita. A Maui native, Lani looked like Sacagawea out there, diving into pools and hopping over rocks while Kelsey and I slapped on bug-repellent and fumbled along in pursuit. I feel sorry for folks that come here and don’t have local friends to show them around.
More tropical beauties
We’ve worked for it. Groundation has been coming to Hawaii for years, earning friendships. The way I see it, if you want to be welcome in a place like this you need to have two things: First, you need to show respect. This is important in any culture, but especially in Hawaii. Second, you need to have something to trade, something to offer. At the very least, that means money. Most tourists come here with little more than that, so they only see the surface of things. If you’ve got a joyful heart or a good reggae band, that might get you in the door, and once you really feel welcome here, you know what the fuss is about. And it doesn’t hurt to like macaroni salad.
On O’ahu, my old friend Mikey took me around for chicken katsu and mochi. Then we blundered right into a mass-hula in front of the Royal Palace. After botching that photo-op we spent an hour in the museum absorbing artistic interpretations of Hawaiian culture (everything from surfing to quilts) and social issues like the bombing of the island of Kaho’olawe. Soaking it up.
The Pipeline show was great, very peaceful, with up-and-comers Product opening up, and veterans Ooklah the Moc in support. Some faces were missed, but there were some new ones backstage as well, and memories of shows gone by floated at the edges of our thoughts.
I felt more welcome in Hawaii than ever before. Overworked Hawaiian bouncers pulled aside the velvet rope for me even without my backstage pass, and a hard working waitress kept her cafe open an extra hour for us. I blinked twice when I saw she’d given me the kama’aina discount on my fish sandwich. She smiled as I stared at the check in disbelief. “You guys killed it at the Hard Rock last night.” I’m here to tell you: Aloha is no joke.
Groundation's first time on O'ahu