Is this story a tragedy or a triumph? About 1/3 of Molokai, or about 60,000 acres on the drier West End, is owned by a Singapore conglomerate. Their subdivision, known as Molokai Properties Inc., or Molokai Ranch, shuttered its Kaupoa Beach Village and the Kaluakoi Hotel, as well as its rodeo arena, movie theater, restaurants, golf course, gift shop and gas station in 2008. They left the island and 120 of 7500 residents were unemployed. The golf course became overgrown, the infinity pool at the hotel was filled with sand. Why did this happen? Local people, many more than 50% Hawaiian, fought hard to prevent development of Laau Point into 200 homesteads for the wealthy. I was at the final meetings when those for and against spoke in front of the council about to render its decision on the development. Knowing how many native people have lost their land and their way of life to corporate greed, I felt pain in my heart that once again this could happen on Hawaii. Afterall, most of this state is overdeveloped and choked with tourism. But the locals against development won! And is the island better for it. Please visit Molokai and decide for yourself.
The picture above is part of an ancient Hawaiian fishpond I looked upon from my house. The king and his subjects trapped the fish and feasted in the 1800s. Molokai is almost totally unspoiled from the days of the old Hawaiian. People there still subsistence hunt and fish. They discourage development and progress of any kind. Molokai is known as the friendly isle, and it is once you have been accepted. I was fortunate to work for Molokai Occupational Center and to write a column in the local newspaper for a year. I learned to play golf there and walked the ragged course in the mountains playing in my bare feet. In the winter the humpback whales come to mate and calve and they play in the waters just off shore. On calm days we took our kayaks out to see them, and also visit the green turtles whose big heads stuck out of the water while they gulped in air. Tomorrow, the story of Molokai Ranch.
I have always wanted to see the desert in bloom at Joshua Tree National Park. I finally got to wander with my camera this April, 2010. I loved the hidden blooms that only showed their face when you got away from the road and looked at the ground. Each area of the park had a different proliferation of a certain type of cactus. From high desert where Joshua Trees bloomed, to middle desert with Chollas and Ocotillos, to low desert with Yucca blooms. Carpets of little tiny yellow flowers were throughout, as were purple prickly pear and beaver tail cactus flowers. Rocks with the shape of faces, shadows and light, piled high, loomed and lurked everywhere. All the rain we had this year probably made it better than usual.
I walked the Via De La Rosa in Jerusalem in 2008. I carried a cross as we walked through the Arab quarter of Old Jerusalem. I am not Catholic. I am not religious. The cross was thrust upon me by the Catholics with whom I traveled. What an experience. The Arabs crowded each side of the narrow alley ways on which we walked. They jeered and some talked loudly on their cell phones. I felt a tiny fraction of what Jesus felt when he was reviled by the Jews and Romans. We started with sky above our heads. As we walked, the path bordered by shops got narrower and the sky disappeared as roofing took over. We put down our cross at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. What a place that is!! I will write about it next.
Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built over the rock on which Jesus was laid out after being crucified and taken down from the cross. Most Christian faiths have a section of the Church It is layered, connected with narrow, steep stair ways up and down. Up the stairs on our right is the Greek Orthodox section. The air is thick with incense, colored glass globes swing from the ceiling everywhere. Mother Mary and the saints inhabit glass cases. The priest in black robes and a long beard glare at us as we enter the area of the altar. Each person crawls under the table/altar and kisses the rock underneath. I was touched and spiritually moved.
Life is a blank canvas on which we paint our impressions, experiences, wisdom, compassion, and laughter.