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May 21, 2010

A lot of people are under the impression that Maui is this magical place where palm trees and rainbows abound.  If that's what it were actually like, I would not be here, and if you grew up thinking that weathering a hurricane was a good way to spend your vacation, you would not be here either.  I live in Kihei, which is on the south-western coast of Maui, and it is a desert.  We get about six inches of rain here annually, and it tends to come all at the same time, in February.  The rest of the time it is hot and dusty.  North of here, from North Kihei to the North Shore, most of the land has been given over to cane fields, which are periodically burned as a process of the harvest.  Prior to planting, the red dust blows in off the cane fields like a scene out of Steinbeck.  And on those glorious days of cane processing, it rains down black ash all through Kihei.  If you want lush forests and rainbows, waterfalls and tropical foliage, you can head towards the Northern side, but be prepared for the insects against whom there is no natural competition, and who have thus risen to the top of the food chain.  The very top.

The following pictures are of Kihei, where the third world awareness of the last two thousand years has yet to catch up to the first world amenities of the most recent fifty or so.

The Truck.  I have probably taken about forty different shots of this truck, on three seperate occassions.  It is my favorite thing on Maui, and I have not yet taken a photo that will do it justice.  We're talking about a county where it takes seven years to pave seven miles of road, so I'm not worried that this old truck, abandoned in it's own fifty acres of fire hazard, will be towed away any time soon.  In the distance is Haleakala, the volcano that makes up the greater part of the island.  I did not have my camera either time I went up there, and I will not go again until my car has some more reliable breaks, thank you.  Ha ha, Dodge Caravan, fool me twice!  But it is quite amazing, suitably desolate for my tastes, without one single rainbow or waterfall.

An excellent view of the West Maui Mountains!  I love power lines, simply because they are hideous, and I don't mean that facetiously in any way.  They add an element of humanity to what would otherwise be unadulterated and majestic grandeur, and I have very little interest in nature unless humans have defaced it in some way.  In fact, I am loathe to draw that line between Humanity and Nature, as powerlines and raodways are no less natural than birdsong and game trails.  Being human, however, the only known species to have developed a sense of the aesthetic, I can classify said powerlines and roadways as hideous.  I love them because they are hideous, and they are beautiful because I love them.

Kihei is a desert.  I may have mentioned this.  At the end of the day, one is not so much "wilted," or "not quite so fresh as this morning," as one is absolutely and quite literally filthy.  The airborne red earth clings to the skin.  The above and following are shots from an off-road trail, outside the manicured and irrigated lawns in town.  Hidden in the tall brown grasses are the burnt out and abandoned husks of cars and golf carts.

Lo! A burnt out car!  This place was very nostalgic for me, as I was raised on rally racing, and have a natural fascination with ruins of any variety.  A burnt out car is ruin enough to set me hyperventilating.  Then again, so will a broken gate, so maybe I just have asthma.  I'm really looking forward to the day the sea finally claims Venice, and I hope it is in my lifetime, as I believe it will make even more successful a ruin than it has a city.  Venice underwater!  Okay, breathe…

Bird on a wire.

And another shot of the truck, different day, different time of day, a better time of day really, but the weather wasn't as good, so the clouds and mountain view are poor.  Look at that grass, though!  Look at that awesome abandoned truck.  Who the hell wants to see a waterfall with a rainbow over it , when this truck is right here in Kihei?  I have a whole folder of photographs of this truck.  I can't get enough.  Unfortunately, since I have taken to riding my bike rather than driving my car around, I haven't really felt like pedalling my Huffy one-speed up the hill and five miles away just because it looks like the clouds might be good and the light is right..  Sloth overcomes art!  That, and I am a little bitter against this truck since I have taken so many pictures of it and none of them are right.  Fuck you, truck! 

In other news, I finally got my fat (ha ha. ha.) paycheck from the Adam Sandler movie that was filming here.  Look closely during the restaurant scene, and you may see my blurry elbow as I pretend to drink a ten hour old mai tai.  Any news that has trickled down to my end is shaping this movie into one of the worst of the year, so I may renege all claims of involvement.  Adam Sandler and Jennifer Anniston don't do much to sell me on a movie, but it was interesting to do something I've never done before, and would have to be both stupid and amnesic to do again.  But I learned how to play poker, an was subsequently adddicted, so at least something came out of it.

I am making a psychic wager on Midas Touch for the English Derby.  So far, my results do little to encourage persistence in this endeavor, but it is moderately thrilling, nonetheless.  It does you no good to be stingy with your money anyhow.  You ought to throw it away now and again.  I can put it on a horse that may or may not pay off, or I can simply surrender it to the pirates at Foodland, it makes very little difference.

Those last two paragraphs make me look like an impenitant gambler.  Well, I suppose that is not entirely inaccurate.

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