Thanks to wikipedia and the television show Adam Ruins Everything, I had a basic understanding that not all the history of Hawaii was rainbows, beaches and palm trees. There were also plagues brought by germy explorers, stolen land, wrongful subjugation, squashing of native traditions and other shameful stuff most people don't like to think about while on a tropical vacation.
Our tour bus driver on the Road to Hana delivered a heavy-handed sermon on these historical misdeeds and traced his native Hawaiian bloodline, all before we stopped for breakfast. Our tour group consisted of Chad and me from Austin, another couple from some other part of Texas and seven African-American (this is relevant, I swear) senior citizens from Chicago who were all acquainted with each other. Our tour bus driver went on to state as part of his history lecture that Barack Obama was not legally president of the United States of America, because he was born in Hawaii which should still be recognized as an independent nation. This statement was met with stony silence from every person on the bus (besides the driver) and a few dropped jaws.
Later our tour guide/driver relayed a story about chickens on Maui getting loose during a hurricane, explaining the feral chicken population. He said, "Like Malcolm X, these chickens were saying, 'Free at last, free at last. Thank God, we're free at last." (Nope. That is a loose quotation taken completely out of context from a speech by Martin Luther King Jr.) After a beat, one of the ladies from Chicago said, "That's okay. He doesn't know our history. He knows his own history." I appreciate that Carol from Chicago said this, and diffused an awkward and offensive moment.
Assuming you don't get the same tour guide driver we endured, I highly recommend taking a guided tour with a professional driver of the Road to Hana. The Road to Hana features 617 curves, 54 one lane bridges, tropical rainforests, bamboo jungles, black sand beaches with lava tubes, waterfalls, cliffs and tropical streams with pools. We enjoyed the breathtaking scenery while a local, professional navigated the crazy curves and one lane bridges. Our tour stopped at a beach with lava rock outcroppings, a famous black sand beach, Oheo Gulch (a.k.a. Seven Sacred Pools), a lovely local farm to market stand, Wailua Falls, Charles Lindberg's gravesite and another farm to market stand in the rolling hills of the dry side of Maui. The Road to Hana tour allowed us to see an amazing diversity of Maui landscapes and climates. The day we went was drizzly, but the day before we went had heavy rains complete with rockslides. Thankfully we weren't impeded by rockslides, but were treated to rushing waterfalls.
|Black Sand Beach
|The beautiful flowers hanging in those trees are bright turquoise
|Baby pineapple plants
|Oheo Gulch (a.k.a. Seven Sacred Pools) raging waters
|A tall, raging waterfall & some ladies' heads
|Maui's version of the Grand Canyon
Due to a brief stop to let road construction clear and traffic on the way back to our resort, our Road to Hana tour took just under thirteen hours. We loved the amazing views on Road to Hana! My photos from that cloudy, drizzly day don't do it justice. In retrospect, I even appreciate the history lesson from our tour guide. But, for real, he should work on his heavy delivery, and consider his audience with a bit more care and thoughtfulness.
More from gorgeous Maui soon. (So. Much. More.)