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Wednesday, October 20, 1999

Ho'okipa, Shanti, and the House of Twos

Garrett* dragged me out at 7am to surf Ho'okipa. This would be the first surfing I've done in a long long time, and the first surfing I've ever done on Maui. Ho'okipa is one of Maui's most forgiving spots. That doesn't say much.

The beach is about five feet wide. It's a small patch of sand between the rocks and spiny things, in which the waves slosh around gently enough to negotiate but not so gently as to ignore. The water is shallow for a ways out, so you have to paddle near the surface to keep from pawing the unfriendly sea creatures. It's nerve racking for me, because I'm used to San Diego where the waves can pummle you into the sand (or rocks and reef in this case) just yards from shore. I'll have to go a few more times before my subconscious gets the idea that the waves truly have dissipated by the time they reach the shallows.

After paddling hard to get out past the breakers, I looked back to find I was now being rapidly washed out to sea. In California, the currents travel along the coast, so you never go very far in a rip. But it occurred to me that now I'm on an island in the middle of the ocean currents, and this channel was shooting me out to sea on my way to the south pacific or something. The current was faster than I could paddle, so I cut sideways toward the surfers that were the furthest outside, figuring the current would subside most quickly in that direction. I ended up not in a bad spot, though a little outside, but there were enough big sets coming in that I didn't have to go anywhere to catch my first wave.

Well, more accurately I would say it caught me. I was actually a little late on it, with the lip peeling over already just as I'm turning my board to catch it. It's a bad habit from surfing my little board in San Diego-- waiting until the wave is just about to fall over and then jumping in with a couple quick strokes. I'm learning that's not a good habit for waves well overhead. Well, it worked here, but I accelerated so quickly that the water grabbed my back leg as I was trying to stand up and wouldn't let it go. Determined to catch the wave, I rode it with one leg and one hand and managed to turn it and keep it in front of the white water, but by the time I got my other foot free the wave was starting another break in front of me and I didn't have the speed or manuverability to cut under it so I smacked into it and hoped I wasn't going to hit bottom.

By now I was getting tired and since I had my first finding-the-beach negotiation ahead of me I figured better to head in while I still had some energy to spare. Getting in wasn't too bad, but again I kept waiting for that big wave to come up behind me and smash me against the rocks. I landed safely, and read a chapter or two of Cryptonomicon while Garrett* finished his morning dose of surfing.

Finally Sera took us to see a house worth looking at. It turns out to be a house my friend Laila has been telling me about for a while-- she says every time she passes by it, she thinks how perfect it would be for me. But when she described it to me, she made it sound like a horse barn with plumbing, so I wasn't too excited about it. But it's nothing like a horse barn.

Sera calls it the House of Twos. It is, in fact, two houses on one lot, with two pools, and two Ohanas (separate studios with kitchen and bath). It's sufficiently grown in, on its two acres, that all four houses are mostly invisible to eachother. They all look down over a huge jungly gulch, which is co-owned in a trust with six other properties and so will never be mowed down. I'm told that on a clear day (which this wasn't) you can see the ocean over the gulch.

The better house, which is actually the smaller of the two, is made of cedar and redwood, with a variety of flooring from wood to carpet to stone, and has a comparably designed attached guest apartment with its own kitchen and bath. Most of the rooms have one wall of windows looking down on the gulch (and ocean). Basically, from anywhere on the property, you're accosted with scenery. It's a nice place. I'm trying to imagine how I could both afford and utilize such a compound...

Laila took us to visit her friend Shanti, a young woman imported to Maui by a psychotic blue-green algae salesman. She's carrying his baby, but living with her lawyer because it's the only place she feels safe from Mr. Algae. Even in her beach-ball-belly state, Shanti is quite attractive and sharp to boot. If only everyone on the island weren't a die-hard mystic. She had a minor contraction while we were there; she's planing to catch her own baby in a big plastic bathtub.

She sent us home with some Huge avocados, and Garrett* made a Mahi marinade while I passed out on the couch with a killer headache (probably a result of today's attempt at being a morning person). Soy sauce, fresh ginger, garlic?, a container of orange juice I saved from the airplane ride five days ago, and I'm not sure what else... marinated and then broiled in the bottom of this old propane oven... Delicious! Who needs chicken anyway.

I dragged Garrett* out for one last foray into town to get some bottled water, following the "Ew, ick, I'd never drink the tap water here -- have you seen where it comes from?" we got from Laila. With typical Hawaii logic, the cheapest bottled water was from California (Black Mountain?) and the most expensive was from Hana, on Maui. While I was there, I asked if they could special order some Precious low-fat motzerella cheese, and was informed that they couldn't order any cheese made with renet (taken from the stomach lining of cows, used to curdle milk). Alas, I'll have to find a less ethical store to buy my cheese from, which may be difficult anywhere near Makawao.

I felt silly walking out with two gallons of water imported from California, the state I'd just fled in search of clean air and water.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com