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Sunday, October 17, 1999

Jay's Place and the MTBF (Mean Time Between Fruit [Falling])

Still no luck finding a place to live.

There was a place I stayed a few years ago, known once as the Duck Pond but now simply Jay's Place since the duck pond has been overaken by bananas. I've had my eye on it as a place to buy, but Jay doesn't want to sell it even though he's never here. But, he's never here, which is how I came to rent it last time, so I've been following it as a possible rental. Last I heard, it was rented out to some woman. But there are four separate structures on this property, so maybe there's still space...

Low and behold, a couple of phone calls and we learn the main house (living room, kitchen, dining nook, bathroom; no bedrooms) and nearby double-decker bedroom are available for around $300/week which isn't bad here for short-term accommodations for two.

Particularly because this is not just a room in a house in some neighborhood. This is a quaint (ok, run down) shack in the jungle, with fruit trees, a stream through the middle of the property, and total privacy. (Turns out the woman renting the other building is out of town until November.) You get here by turning into a hole in the bushes off Makawao road, and following a steep, windy paved driveway down into the gulch, through a tunnel in the vegetation, from which you pop into a clearing where the houses and trees and stream are.

When we first walked up to the main house, a large yellow lemon fell from up high onto the lawn nearby. But wait, no lemon tree in sight, just coffee trees... Turns out it's not a lemon, but a huge liliqo'i (passion fruit) just fallen from a vine growing high up in the coffee tree. The ground is scaterred with them, and because their rind is pretty tough they're quite good for days after they've hit the ground, so I fill the three fruit baskets with them.

There is a macadamia tree here, fat with nuts, and a few avocado trees, the largest of which abuts the main house and is maybe three stories tall with hundreds of avocados hanging from it. None are quite ripe, though.

At some point I notice I've managed to stain my second and last decent plain shirt with a line of liliqo'i juice-- such a bright orange that I think it's a clump of pollen on the surface when I first see it.

The place smells of propane everywhere, including outside and in the nearby bedroom (which has no propane appliances whatsover). The tank reads 20 lbs out of 95, the start of the grey zone. Hmm.

There's a small black cat that lives here, very aggressively affectionate. It paces with me as I pace on the deck, and plans deviously whenever I sit on the outdoor sofa there. I'm allergic to cats, but eventually my hands are occupied with something else for a moment and I find a cat instantly curled up in my lap. I give in and pet the cat for a while, but alas it does not prove to be a hypo-allergenic cat so I encourage Garrett* to make friends with it instead.

We followed up on another possible long-term rental which turned out to be in a scary neighborhood with no Haoles (pronounced how-lees, translation: caucasions) in sight, reminiscent of east Palo Alto or numerous Los Angeles burbs. The house itself was a two-story whitish box surrounded by cracked sidewalks and rusty cars in the street. To use Mauitian terminology "it had bad energy". We didn't stop to look inside.

When we returned, we called around some more and finally made contact with one of the few places that we hadn't established was taken yet. They'd been out over the weekend, so they were just starting to return their dozens of messages now. It's a place up in Kula, beyond Kula Lodge. We'll check it out tomorrow.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com