Friday, September 29, 2006

The Road to Hana

So, we drove to Hana. That is, I drove, and Megan clung to the door and rethought the whole atheism thing. The road was too winding to build up much in the way of speed, but the profusion of blind curves and one-lane bridges more than made up for it. We stopped periodically to look at waterfalls (most on private property, with "No Tresspassing" signs that went largely ignored, though not by us), peer at the grand ocean views offered by lookout points and the dense surrounding greenery. Which, if you take photographs of them, end up looking like pictures of water and leaves. Examples to follow shortly.

All told, it took us a couple of hours to make the drive. Hana itself isn't much of an attraction, just an average small town with a fabulous location. Maybe I was just imagining it, but I got the impression that the people who lived there were not overly thrilled by their town's international reputation as a great place to visit in your rental car. The culinary options were certainly limited-- your choice of the fancy restaurant at the one hotel or an overpriced sandwich window down by the beach. We went with the sandwiches.

The beach was a black sand one, allowing me to check off an item on my 'things to see' list. Close up, black sand looks an awful lot like asphalt, only sandier.

We had considered continuing on to the innacurately named but felicitously alliterative "Seven Sacred Pools", another hour or so down the road, but the day was wearing on and a girl can only do so much driving. So we turned around and headed back the way we came, stopping on the way out of town at a little gift shop-cafe-smoked fish-candied coconut emporium, where we had some really excellent banana bread and a somewhat lumpy smoothie, served to us by a girl who was the first person from Hana to go to Brown (home for summer vacation, doesn't like the winters in Providence). Thus fortified, we faced the return journey.

One thing on Megan's tropical to-do list was to swim in a waterfall pool, so to that end we made a stop at the twin falls, a spot reccomended by both our guide books for just that purpose and proof positive why you should never put too much faith in the accuracy of guide books. The falls were described as being "a short walk" up the path, which was true, for certain values of short. Other people might call it more like half a mile, but hey, details. Totally omitted was the fact that, to get to the waterfall after making this short hike, one had to cross a section of concrete, about one foot wide and six feet long, then make one's way over the rocks and through a couple of waist-deep pools. All of which is especially challenging if one happens to be wearing one's wedge sandals which, though comfortable, are not exactly intended for off-roading. There are times when it is useful to be unafraid to go barefoot.

Needless to say, we did not make it all the way to the waterfall. (The swimming part was what finished it.) But we did have an Adventure.

2 comments:

Karen Murphy said...

Bummer that your Hana experience was less than blissful. I had one of my best nature experiences ever near the Seven (not actually seven) Sacred (not so much) Pools. If you avoid the SSPs, which are actually pretty neat but end in a Mako shark feeding ground--don't go past that last pool--and head uphill instead, there are very few tourists, and you pass through a beautiful bamboo forest on the way to a waterfall with just one pool and no tourists. When you stand still in the forest, the sound of tall bamboo stalks clicking together is amazing. (We also spent the night in Hana, which made the commute to/from civilization and the extra SSP driving time much less daunting.)

Daisy said...

Really, I didn't have such a bad time; I think I just got carried away with the snark there. The drive really was beautiful and Hana was very cute, if refreshingly non-tourist oriented.

I'm bummed I missed the shark feeding ground, though.