I just got back from a vacation to Maui, Hawaii. It was the first trip that I had taken without my extended family (siblings, parents, cousins, etc) in decades. I haven’t traveled much, so this was a new adventure. I went just with my atomic family (wife/kids). Here is a quick run down of some of the things we did:
- Stayed at a fancy resort
- Swam in the pool
- Swam in the ocean
- Traditional Luau
- Catamaran Sailing
- Snorkel at Molokini Crater
- Canoe Sailing with more Snorkeling
- Tried out Scuba
- Tour of Lahaina (Including the Banyan Tree)
- Tour of Maui – The Road to Hana
- Kids had a surfing lesson
- Fancy and local meals including but not limited to:
- Slappy cakes
It was alot of stuff and I think we balanced out the trip so it wasn’t too much of a whirlwind.
The thing I will remember most is the interactions we had with the tour guides on the road to Hana. I won’t recommend them because they were terrible, borderline criminal. However, it gave me a very strong impression of what life is like on Maui.
Metaphor: There is a plant that was brought over to Maui hundreds of years ago called Chinese Bamboo. It’s not a useful plant, you can’t eat it, can’t smoke it and it’s ugly. However, it LOVES Maui. It grows and grows and grows and you can’t get rid of it. It’s called an invasive species and it ruins the local plant life.
Maui has been invaded by a different species that is ruining it’s native culture and also can not be stopped. It’s called industrialization, tourism and modernity. For hundreds of years, Sugar plantations have taken over the Maui landscape. They subsume a massive amount of fresh water. Sugar dominates the economy and local government. Then tourism arrived. The resorts take in an enormous amount of water. All of the restaurants catered to the rich influx of foreign visitors. Housing was bought up by rich celebrities. Oprah Winfrey is a huge presence on the island. Finally, modernity made it’s mark.
The local culture is slowly fading away. There is no stopping it. Just like the chinese bamboo, sugar, tourism and modernity are growing like wild on the island. The locals said they don’t want to end up like Oahu, which has been described as like Miami beach, all resorts. However, I don’t think they have much of a choice. The history of Maui is mostly a history of how big companies like Dole have manipulated governments and local residents into a money making machine. Another island, Lanai is owned 90% by Larry Ellison and only has 3600 residents left.
The whole thing makes me think of a native american reservation, except with nice beaches. The place is beautiful, but there is a certain sadness about it. We had a great time, but I am left with this feeling. It’s a facade, an illusion. It’s the matrix. I don’t mean to bum anyone out.
Blogging sometimes goes in unexpected directions.