Tales from the Edge of Hawaii
Waipio! I read a lot about this place before we even started packing for travelling to Hawaii! Rainforests all over, three thousand feet high cliffs, immense waterfalls, just a few people living and growing taro in the verdant valley. It sounded too idyllic to be true.
Waipio valley is a place of legends. Located on the north of the Big Island, Hawaii, it was the home to many Hawaii kings over years. It was devastated by tsunami in recent times, in 1946. Before that time, Waipio valley was rather populous for its size. It had held some 5000 or more people. At this time, however, only a handful remain in its rather primitive surroundings, without electricity or running water, growing taro and doing subsistence farming.
Waipio valley has black sand beach, like some other places in Big Island. It has been the location for many movies; most recently for the movie "Underworld", which, as an aside, was a monumental 200 million dollar flop!
As we were leaving Waipio valley lookout, a slightly unwashed looking young man (along with a better washed young woman) were frantically gesturing at us with some strange looking fruits in hand. I thought they wanted to sell the fruits. The fruits (Rambutan, which we have never seen before) looked rather fascinating, so we stopped. It turned out that they wanted to hitch a ride, and were going to pay us for the privilege in kind, or, in Rambutans. I said that they could take the ride, however, I didnt want the fruits.
They turned out to be farmers who stay on the highlands and go down to Waipio valley to farm everyday, looking after their taro field. The man, named Chris, is a transplant from San Diego who has left the big city life to settle down in this far corner of Hawaii, and looked rather happy, even if a bit strange, for it. With him was Jessica, who has come from Canada to work in the farm for a year now. Unfortunately, their stop came too soon, and we didnt get to hear much of their story, which, I am sure, would have been an interesting one.
M went back on the barter and took a few of the fruits, and for good reason too, for they served us well on our last day in Hawaii. We said bye to Chris and Rebecca, and drove on the beautiful highway over the Honoka coast.
Its a pity we never made it to the valley floor itself in our trip to Hawaii. We did make it to the valley overlook a little before sunset. It was too late to hike down to the valley, and more importantly, too late to hike back up. I guess some places must remain unseen and mysterious in our memory, so we go back there again.
Onwards to Hilo, where it must be raining.