Tropical Paradise

 PMe2019lahainaat here:

So, shoot me, every once in a while I take a trip that has utterly nothing whatsoever to do with writing—unless one counts a need to rest my erratic brain and tired Muse. This year, the trip was to Maui. And if our Hawaiian guide wasn’t spinning yarns, then in Hawai’ian, Maui probably ought to be pronounced Ma-oo-ee, but it isn’t. There are all sorts of guides on how to pronounce all the vowels in the twelve-letter language, but my brain quits after three vowels strung together. You can listen to pronunciation here or read the guidelines here . As a book reader, I’m always concerned about how words actually sound and then bemused by the many pronunciations beyond the one in my head.

We stayed in Lahaina, which has a long history as well as gorgeous blue waters. (And gets Paradisepronounced Lahina more often than La-ha-ee-na.) I doubt anyone knows precisely when the Polynesians traveled from the Big Island to the smaller volcanic islands, but after taking 80 person canoes across the Pacific, the original settlers certainly had the ability to populate the other islands as soon as they saw the need.

The Big Island makes all the history books, but anything that happened there, eventually reached the smaller ones. Spanish sailors probably visited the islands, but the first recorded westerner was Captain James Cook in 1779—because of his timing. He arrived on the Big Island in the middle of a sacred festival and

one-acre Banyan

one-acre Banyan

was mistaken for Lono, the God of Fertility and Music. Oops. In another year, the natives figured out he was a mere mortal and killed him. Good luck only lasts so long.

Mostly, Cook introduced the battling chieftains to western weapons so their battles could be even more deadly. You gotta love civilization. After the dust was settled, one chieftain emerged as king ,and this is where Lahaina’s history becomes more visible. In 1802 (look, our Regency era!) Kamehameha made Lahaina the capital of Hawaii and built a brick palace there. A town grew around it, and this was the center of Hawaiian government for over fifty years.

Historicbldg

Historic Lahaina

Once the western world discovered the creature comforts offered by Lahaina, it became an enormous whaling port. As we can attest, the sun always shines there, the sea is calm, and the weather seldom varies—tropical paradise.  At times, there were as many as 400 ships in port—with the accompanying hard-drinking, wenching, fighting sailors from around the world. So much for paradise.

Which means—ta-da—it was time to allow in the missionaries, which happened in the 1820s. While the Regency world was slowly following Reformist movements and buttoning up for the Victorian era, so were the Hawaiians, sorta. The missionaries provided schools, new ways of dressing (I’m going to guess not in gossamer gowns and heels), a printing press, and officially translated the native

Hanawaterfall

Hana waterfall

tongue into a simple alphabet. Because of the rugged terrain and sparse population on the other side of the island, the high school in Lahaina remains one of the few public boarding schools in the country. (Hana and the wonderful waterfalls are on the rugged side of the island.)

The missionary compound in Lahaina, built in 1834, is now the oldest house still standing on Maui. It’s open to the public, as is the old prison, built in 1854 to confine fractious sailors.

In 1860, the first sugar plantations were started and lasted until 1999. Today, the cane and pineapple fields are mostly empty as the companies that owned them departed for cheaper labor climates. Magnificently, the Maui government decided those fields must remain agricultural so the island doesn’t develop into a sea of high-rise condos and shopping centers as they have elsewhere.

Oh, and that banyan tree I tried to photograph above? It was planted in 1873. There's a better picture here. It's a wonderful gathering place and often shades street musicians and family groups.

I don’t know, maybe I should put my Regency heroes on ships to Hawaii. What do you think? What would be your dream vacation?

80 thoughts on “Tropical Paradise”

  1. I’ve walked under that banyan tree! It’s truly amazing and a fitting ornament to paradise.
    But dream vacations??? I’ve dreamed of many places, and visited as many as I could. New Zealand. Ireland. The Amazon. Egypt. Italy. The list goes on and on, and I keep working on it!

    Reply
  2. I’ve walked under that banyan tree! It’s truly amazing and a fitting ornament to paradise.
    But dream vacations??? I’ve dreamed of many places, and visited as many as I could. New Zealand. Ireland. The Amazon. Egypt. Italy. The list goes on and on, and I keep working on it!

    Reply
  3. I’ve walked under that banyan tree! It’s truly amazing and a fitting ornament to paradise.
    But dream vacations??? I’ve dreamed of many places, and visited as many as I could. New Zealand. Ireland. The Amazon. Egypt. Italy. The list goes on and on, and I keep working on it!

    Reply
  4. I’ve walked under that banyan tree! It’s truly amazing and a fitting ornament to paradise.
    But dream vacations??? I’ve dreamed of many places, and visited as many as I could. New Zealand. Ireland. The Amazon. Egypt. Italy. The list goes on and on, and I keep working on it!

    Reply
  5. I’ve walked under that banyan tree! It’s truly amazing and a fitting ornament to paradise.
    But dream vacations??? I’ve dreamed of many places, and visited as many as I could. New Zealand. Ireland. The Amazon. Egypt. Italy. The list goes on and on, and I keep working on it!

    Reply
  6. That would work. Younger son, going into the Royal Navy as a Midshipman, or one a journey to visit an uncle on a sugar plantation, meets a remarkable young Englishwoman, or falls for a native girl. There are a lot of possibilities. Why not?

    Reply
  7. That would work. Younger son, going into the Royal Navy as a Midshipman, or one a journey to visit an uncle on a sugar plantation, meets a remarkable young Englishwoman, or falls for a native girl. There are a lot of possibilities. Why not?

    Reply
  8. That would work. Younger son, going into the Royal Navy as a Midshipman, or one a journey to visit an uncle on a sugar plantation, meets a remarkable young Englishwoman, or falls for a native girl. There are a lot of possibilities. Why not?

    Reply
  9. That would work. Younger son, going into the Royal Navy as a Midshipman, or one a journey to visit an uncle on a sugar plantation, meets a remarkable young Englishwoman, or falls for a native girl. There are a lot of possibilities. Why not?

    Reply
  10. That would work. Younger son, going into the Royal Navy as a Midshipman, or one a journey to visit an uncle on a sugar plantation, meets a remarkable young Englishwoman, or falls for a native girl. There are a lot of possibilities. Why not?

    Reply
  11. I coule go with the sorta proposed Hawaiian book. Regency? (as suggested) or Malcom/Ives?
    All I’m up to now is a “staycation” and that is probably just stay in the house. But the whole world still beckons to me. Nowadays, I keep letting you wenches take me there. So thank you SO much for this trip.

    Reply
  12. I coule go with the sorta proposed Hawaiian book. Regency? (as suggested) or Malcom/Ives?
    All I’m up to now is a “staycation” and that is probably just stay in the house. But the whole world still beckons to me. Nowadays, I keep letting you wenches take me there. So thank you SO much for this trip.

    Reply
  13. I coule go with the sorta proposed Hawaiian book. Regency? (as suggested) or Malcom/Ives?
    All I’m up to now is a “staycation” and that is probably just stay in the house. But the whole world still beckons to me. Nowadays, I keep letting you wenches take me there. So thank you SO much for this trip.

    Reply
  14. I coule go with the sorta proposed Hawaiian book. Regency? (as suggested) or Malcom/Ives?
    All I’m up to now is a “staycation” and that is probably just stay in the house. But the whole world still beckons to me. Nowadays, I keep letting you wenches take me there. So thank you SO much for this trip.

    Reply
  15. I coule go with the sorta proposed Hawaiian book. Regency? (as suggested) or Malcom/Ives?
    All I’m up to now is a “staycation” and that is probably just stay in the house. But the whole world still beckons to me. Nowadays, I keep letting you wenches take me there. So thank you SO much for this trip.

    Reply
  16. Lovely blog, Pat. I’ve been to Hawaii but it was so long ago, and I was hoping to visit again on my way to New York in July, but couldn’t squeeze it in. I don’t remember that magnificent banyan tree — wow! I’m sure if I’d seen it I would have remembered. There is something magical about such trees, I think.
    As for dream travel, I think next time I go overseas, after NY that is, I’d like to go back to Europe, stopping off in the middle east on the way. but we’ll see.. .

    Reply
  17. Lovely blog, Pat. I’ve been to Hawaii but it was so long ago, and I was hoping to visit again on my way to New York in July, but couldn’t squeeze it in. I don’t remember that magnificent banyan tree — wow! I’m sure if I’d seen it I would have remembered. There is something magical about such trees, I think.
    As for dream travel, I think next time I go overseas, after NY that is, I’d like to go back to Europe, stopping off in the middle east on the way. but we’ll see.. .

    Reply
  18. Lovely blog, Pat. I’ve been to Hawaii but it was so long ago, and I was hoping to visit again on my way to New York in July, but couldn’t squeeze it in. I don’t remember that magnificent banyan tree — wow! I’m sure if I’d seen it I would have remembered. There is something magical about such trees, I think.
    As for dream travel, I think next time I go overseas, after NY that is, I’d like to go back to Europe, stopping off in the middle east on the way. but we’ll see.. .

    Reply
  19. Lovely blog, Pat. I’ve been to Hawaii but it was so long ago, and I was hoping to visit again on my way to New York in July, but couldn’t squeeze it in. I don’t remember that magnificent banyan tree — wow! I’m sure if I’d seen it I would have remembered. There is something magical about such trees, I think.
    As for dream travel, I think next time I go overseas, after NY that is, I’d like to go back to Europe, stopping off in the middle east on the way. but we’ll see.. .

    Reply
  20. Lovely blog, Pat. I’ve been to Hawaii but it was so long ago, and I was hoping to visit again on my way to New York in July, but couldn’t squeeze it in. I don’t remember that magnificent banyan tree — wow! I’m sure if I’d seen it I would have remembered. There is something magical about such trees, I think.
    As for dream travel, I think next time I go overseas, after NY that is, I’d like to go back to Europe, stopping off in the middle east on the way. but we’ll see.. .

    Reply
  21. That is quite the phenomenal tree! I’m reminded of a tree that my sister, cousins, and I used to play in, on, and under that we named ‘the kitchen tree.’ This was near the Rose Garden in Auckland, NZ.

    Reply
  22. That is quite the phenomenal tree! I’m reminded of a tree that my sister, cousins, and I used to play in, on, and under that we named ‘the kitchen tree.’ This was near the Rose Garden in Auckland, NZ.

    Reply
  23. That is quite the phenomenal tree! I’m reminded of a tree that my sister, cousins, and I used to play in, on, and under that we named ‘the kitchen tree.’ This was near the Rose Garden in Auckland, NZ.

    Reply
  24. That is quite the phenomenal tree! I’m reminded of a tree that my sister, cousins, and I used to play in, on, and under that we named ‘the kitchen tree.’ This was near the Rose Garden in Auckland, NZ.

    Reply
  25. That is quite the phenomenal tree! I’m reminded of a tree that my sister, cousins, and I used to play in, on, and under that we named ‘the kitchen tree.’ This was near the Rose Garden in Auckland, NZ.

    Reply
  26. Oh, my dream trip is either to Hawaii or any tropical island!!! I would bring my Kindle loaded with books and stake out a place on beach with an umbrella and just relax!!!

    Reply
  27. Oh, my dream trip is either to Hawaii or any tropical island!!! I would bring my Kindle loaded with books and stake out a place on beach with an umbrella and just relax!!!

    Reply
  28. Oh, my dream trip is either to Hawaii or any tropical island!!! I would bring my Kindle loaded with books and stake out a place on beach with an umbrella and just relax!!!

    Reply
  29. Oh, my dream trip is either to Hawaii or any tropical island!!! I would bring my Kindle loaded with books and stake out a place on beach with an umbrella and just relax!!!

    Reply
  30. Oh, my dream trip is either to Hawaii or any tropical island!!! I would bring my Kindle loaded with books and stake out a place on beach with an umbrella and just relax!!!

    Reply
  31. The Caribbean has some gorgeous tropical islands. I loved St Lucia. Does your Kindle work in sun? I had to buy the kind that does, not that I remember what it’s called.

    Reply
  32. The Caribbean has some gorgeous tropical islands. I loved St Lucia. Does your Kindle work in sun? I had to buy the kind that does, not that I remember what it’s called.

    Reply
  33. The Caribbean has some gorgeous tropical islands. I loved St Lucia. Does your Kindle work in sun? I had to buy the kind that does, not that I remember what it’s called.

    Reply
  34. The Caribbean has some gorgeous tropical islands. I loved St Lucia. Does your Kindle work in sun? I had to buy the kind that does, not that I remember what it’s called.

    Reply
  35. The Caribbean has some gorgeous tropical islands. I loved St Lucia. Does your Kindle work in sun? I had to buy the kind that does, not that I remember what it’s called.

    Reply

Leave a Comment