Archive | Maui RSS for this section

How to Avoid Dog (and perhaps other animal) Bites

For the first time in my life, I’ve been bitten by a dog!  I always thought that if I wasn’t afraid of an animal, if I didn’t make eye contact, and just walked away slowly, a barking dog or wild animal wouldn’t bite me (bears or sharks, I realized, might be another story).

This method has worked for me my whole life–even once in Waiehu, an isolated community on Maui, when a pack of dogs came charging up the road as I was walking by.  Also several years ago in Ubud, Bali, on Monkey Forest Road, I had an adult wild monkey (that weighed about 25 pounds and could have had rabies)  climb up my leg looking for food.  I stayed calm; it saw I was carrying a water bottle, not something edible, and climbed  back down.  I was wearing long pants and had been meditating and doing yoga every day, so I didn’t freak out, and the monkey went on its way.

Bali monkey - fearless

Bali monkey – fearless

On the same road another time, when Johnny was eating an open coconut, two juvenile monkeys charged him.

Johnny with his favorite Bali drink

Johnny with his favorite Bali drink

Quickly (and wisely), Johnny tossed the coconut; the monkeys went after it, and he was safe (and they were happy).

However, other people are not so wise.  Do NOT mess with wild animals!

This woman was luring the wild monkeys to climb up her body to get a banana she was holding above her head!

This woman was luring a wild monkey to climb up her body to get a banana she was holding above her head!

Had the monkey who climbed up my leg gotten a treat from someone like this woman?

But whether dogs or monkeys, sometimes, I’ve discovered, what has turned out okay before, doesn’t  work.

Last Saturday as a friend and I were walking on the road in a residential neighborhood in Makawao, Upcountry Maui, a yappy, bored little dog jumped through a hole in its fence and came charging.   With all the confidence of my past experience, I just ignored it and kept on walking slowly away. I’d already passed  her house when  the  dog came up behind me and bit my left calf –  leaving four puncture wounds!  Now, six days after the attack, I still can’t go in the ocean because of the wound, and I’ve had to go to the doctor.

After this experience and some research, I have revised my thinking about dog attacks.  These links give good  advice:

1) This site tells what to do to help prevent an attack and what actions to take if the aggressive behavior escalates:  <;

2) This source repeats some of the information, but it’s helpful too. <;

3) This site helps you “read”  a dog’s body language:<;

And what did I do?  My first reaction to the bite–normally rather quiet me who never curses,  started screaming:  “What the xxxxx!   Whose xx## dog is this?  Get this ###XX dog off the street!   It just bit me!!”   I was pissed and more shocked than really hurt, and I’ve obviously not been doing enough meditation lately.

My bloodcurdling yells scared the dog back though the hole into its yard  and brought out the next-door neighbor and his young daughter.   I learned that this “jewel” of a dog, Ruby, had previously bitten the neighbor on the hand, Ruby’s owners knew about that attack, and the hole in the fence was not new.

I hold Ruby’s owners responsible.  That day, they were both at work and had left their two big dogs, who slept through the whole encounter on this hot afternoon, and Ruby, a terrier/chihuahua mix,  out in their yard.  Cesar Millan, “the dog whisperer”  and writer, says that leaving your dog in a fenced yard is for the dog like leaving it in a big cage.

Cesar Millan The Dog Whisperer

Cesar Millan – The Dog Whisperer and my favorite source for dog behavior <;

Millan says that most problems with dogs can be solved by walking it for three hours a day!  (He charges a lot for that advice if he gives it to you personally).  However,  if you don’t have that much time to be the alpha person in your dog’s life, he says at least walk the dog a half hour a day (which would be good for you too) – and put the dog on a treadmill!    It’s likely that Ruby hasn’t been walked in a long time; the big dogs may be reacting to the neglect by sleeping.

Once I knew this wasn’t Ruby’s first unprovoked attack, I was very clear that I would report the incident–even though Ruby is a little dog and  the bite didn’t look like much at first.  It’s not as though I make my living as a leggy model, but the wound bled, became swollen and bruised; it hurt.  I’ll spare you the gooey visual.

I reported the attack to the Maui Humane Society right away.  Although they didn’t have an animal control officer in Makawao that afternoon, they sent an officer the next day to give citations for unleashed dog and dog bite.

The Maui Animal Humane Society website says, ” Maui County Code 6.04.045 outlines special regulations for dangerous dogs. Owners of a dog that has been deemed dangerous face a maximum penalty of $1000 and/or 30 days in jail should they fail to comply with the requirements of owning a dangerous dog.”  From: <>  But the owners can avoid the worst of the penalties if they keep Ruby contained and  get her training.

When the Maui Humane Society officer called for my report, I said I would of course go to court.  If the neighbor had done that when he was first bitten, it’s likely that I wouldn’t have been attacked.

Thankfully Hawaii is  rabies free.  However, we do have  nasty bacteria such as MRSA, (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to most antibiotics).  Puncture wounds are not good especially in hot climates.

A couple of people, including neighbors open for future Ruby attacks,  said to me – “Oh, it’s just a small dog.  Are you really going to report it?”  Yes!  It’s  the owners who should be feeling guilty about the attacks and making sure they don’t happen again.    Zero tolerance should be the policy here.  Besides, Ruby and her owners will need to get training–and everyone is likely to be happier and safer as a result.

If you have a dog, be a responsible owner.  Of the almost 5 million dog attacks in the U.S. each year (and many involve family pets), half of those injured are children.  So train your dog.  Train your children (and yourself) about what to do.  I know now that it’s not enough to be unafraid; dogs like Ruby will bite.

I’ve learned:

—  Be calm and don’t make eye contact is just the first step in reacting to an aggressive animal.  That’s usually enough to avoid a bite, but not always.

— Be ready to back away (I won’t turn my back on a barking dog again), command “No” (in the language of the land), throw something to distract it if possible, and if necessary, be ready to fight if attacked.

— And get medical treatment right away for a puncture wound.  A tetanus shot lasts 10 years, I’ve learned, unless you actually get a puncture wound, and then it’s good for only five years.

A dog can be “Man’s best friend,”

If a dog gets lots of exercise and attention, he is likely to be a happy dog.  Nalu and John after a hike through Iao

If a dog gets lots of exercise and attention, he is likely to be a happy dog.  Best friends Nalu and Johnny about to hike through Iao Valley.

But some dogs are bored, neurotic, neglected, and/or nasty. Be aware — stay safe.

Aloha, Renée


Maui Surprises: Whales at Dawn

Even before dawn, the ocean is beautiful.  Paddling in a six-person outrigger canoe, as I do, I ‘m often in a boat to see the sun rise over Haleakala.  Now that it is whale season, we sometimes get to see humpbacks too.

Before dawn- clouds over Haleakala

Before dawn- clouds over Haleakala

Before dawn from the canoes

View from the canoes

Off our bow- a whale

Off our bow- a whale

Although endangered, humpbacks can be found in all  oceans, and they migrate annually from summer feeding grounds near the poles to warmer winter breeding waters closer to the Equator.  Our humpback whales come to Hawaii during the winter months to give birth and mate before making the journey back to Alaskan waters, about a 6,000 mile round-trip, about 30 days each way.

According to Earth Trust, humpback whales feed only during the summer months when they are in cold, nutrient rich waters. Opening their mouths bring in about 500 gallons of water at a time.  They have no teeth, but their baleen plates serve as a strainer to filter out small fish such as herring and mackerel.  They consume 2,000 to 9,000 pounds of fish and krill a day!  Approximately 25% of what they eat during the summer is stored as blubber and used for energy and insulation for the winter–when they come to Hawaii.  They can lose one-third their weight before they eat again! (<;).

The Maui News (2/1/13) reports, “NOAA’s last official full whale survey six years ago found 10,000 whales in Hawaiian waters, with the numbers growing.”

It’s illegal to chase whales or to approach within 100 yards (the length of a football field); however, we can let them come up near us.   Adult humpbacks grow to 38-48 feet long and weigh about a ton a foot—so although they are gentle giants, I get nervous when we are really close.  It’s thrilling, actually.

Waiting for whales

Waiting for whales

We hold our paddles up when we are close to a whale so that vacationing condo dwellers with binoculars don’t report us to the Coast Guard for chasing whales.


Sun peeking through the clouds over Haleakala

Humpback whales become reproductively mature between 4 and 8 years old. Gestation is  eleven to twelve months, so  when she returns to Hawaii,  the mother gives birth to a single calf, which is  approximately 13 feet long and two tons! The mother feeds her newborn about 100 pounds of milk, which is 55% fat, each day.

NOAA says, “Underwater nursing poses unique challenges, which are overcome in a number of ways. First, nursing occurs in short bursts. Second, the mammary gland is triggered by direct pressure, so the calf can insert a rolled tongue into the mammary gland and trigger the flow of milk. Third, the consistency of the milk is thick, and much closer to what we would call yogurt, this helps the milk stay together rather than dispersing into the surrounding water”<;.

The humpbacks get their name from their arched back.

The humpbacks get their name from their arched backs.

Mom and calf

Mom and calf

The calf nurses for five to seven months until  back in nutrient-rich waters of the North; then the calf is weaned. By then, the calf has doubled its length and has increased its weight five times to about 27 feet and 10 tons. It will continue growing until about ten years old.  Usually, a female humpback will bear one calf every two or three years, which is one reason they are an endangered species.   Although no one yet knows for certain,  the average life span of humpbacks in the wild is estimated to be between 30 and 40 years.

Humpback whale--they are the size of a bus!  From :

A humpback whale is  the size of a bus! From : <;

A pectorial fin  - with the windmill farm on the West Maui Mountains in the background.*

A pectoral fin – with the windmill farm on the West Maui Mountains in the background.

Pectoral fins

Pectoral fins

The pectoral fin of the humpback can be one-third its body length.

The pectoral fin of the humpback can be one-third its body length.

Fishermen tell about the fish that got away.  This is my photo of the calf that had just breached--jumping up and splashing down.  We think it had just nursed and was feeling good!

Fishermen tell about the fish that got away. This is my photo of the calf that had just breached–jumping up with 2/3 of its body out of the water and splashing down. We think it had just nursed and was feeling good!

Last Thursday going out  even earlier than normal, we were on the water at 5:30am in the dark with a cloud-covered sky, so we didn’t even have starlight.  We came up upon a whale that may have been sleeping.  The first indication was when we heard it breathe.  We were so close I could have touched it with my paddle!   That’s too close.  Remember even the newborns are at least two tons.

Perhaps a wave goodbye

Perhaps a wave goodbye

The humpbacks are in Hawaii from about November until May, but the peak part of the season is from January to March.  There is still time for you to see humpbacks here this year.  Come visit.

Aloha, Renée

* Unless otherwise noted, photos by me

Maui Surprises: Faces

Hawaii is one of the most racially diverse places in the world; no one group holds a majority.   We are  Hawaiian, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Caucasian, Japanese, Pacific Islanders, Mexican, and other.    According to the 2010 census, 23% of the residents of Hawaii claim multi-ethnic origins; no other U.S. state comes close to this percentage.  This “mixed plate” of mingling traditions and cultures enriches our Hawaiian islands—and we get visitors from around the world too.  Maui is a wonderful place to people watch.

Tourist couple at  Makena Beach (Big Beach) xxx

Tourist couple at Oneloa Beach –my favorite –(aka Makena Beach or Big Beach)

Big Beach

Big Beach – waves and sand art

From India perhaps

Visitors at Ali’i Lavender Farm

local Mauians

Local Mauians

Many faces; many ethnicities

Many faces; many ethnic origins

Of the about 157,000 residents on our three-island (Maui, Molokai, and Lanai) Maui County, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders now comprise only 10.5% of the population (

According to Sam L. No’eau Warner in “The Movement to Revitalize Hawaiian Language and Culture,” ” The Hawaiian people thrived for 1,000 years after migrating to Hawai’i in the eighth century (Beechert 1985).  They had developed highly organized social systems, and upon contact with Europeans in 1778, the Hawaiian population was estimated to be 800,000 (Stannard 1989). . . . By 1878, only 47,5000 Hawaiians still remained (Schmitt 1968). . . .

Hawaiians were economically self-sufficient.  They also had a highly developed religious system, which, together with their understanding of the natural environment, nurtured and protected the natural resources . . . Although unwritten, Hawaiian at that time was a sophisticated language with a long and rich tradition of oral literature. . . .

Initially, contact with Westerners resulted in the death of 80% [growing to 94%] of the Hawaiian population through introduced diseases (Stannard 1989).

The present ethnic mix of Maui is the result of migrant sugarcane and pineapple workers especially during the mid-to-late 1800s.”   Even today, immigrants come to work in the fields and seek a better life for their children; now most are from other Pacific islands and from Mexico.  Children of immigrants lead our Maui businesses and government, and Maui faces show the rich ethnic diversity of its people.

Queen Ka'ahumanu Mall shoppers

Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall shoppers

On the way to the food court

On the way to the food court

Kids watching hula

Kids watching hula

Waiting at the mall

Waiting at the mall

Painter with small Lahaina shop.

Artist from Central America in his Lahaina gallery.

Pensive man in Lahaina

Pensive man in Lahaina

Waiting young woman and wooden sea captain

Waiting young woman and wooden sea captain

Happy visitors

Happy visitors

Plodding workers in Lahaina

Local workers in Lahaina

Visitors from N.Y.

Visitors from N.Y.


Observers at an endangered Hawksbill turtle nest excavation on Big Beach

Wailuku First Friday

Wailuku First Friday

T-shirt vendor at Wailuku First Friday

T-shirt vendor at Wailuku First Friday

Henna tattoo

Henna tattoo anyone?

Island style hot dogs

Island style hot dogs

Tasty selections of food

Tasty selections of  Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese, and Japanese food – and more

Food, friends, and music on Maui

Food, friends, and music on Maui

Street entertainment - and  good people watching

Street entertainment – and people watching

Of course, everyone is on a cell phone too.

Of course, everyone is on a cell phone too.

Then there is Little Beach.  Go on a Sunday night for drummers and more.

Servas guest, Carina, on Little Beach.  We shared her matte and enjoyed the fun.

Carina, Servas guest from Argentina on Little Beach. We shared her matte and enjoyed the fun.

Fire dancer at Little Beach

Fire dancer on Little Beach

My favorite faces on Maui

Some of my favorite faces on Maui

Come enjoy the ethnic diversity you’ll find on Maui.

Aloha, Renée

*All photos by me

Maui Surprises: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Marilyn Monroe House

You too may have seen Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in Spring Green or Chicago, but did you know that Frank Lloyd Wright also designed a house for Marilyn Monroe–and that it is on Maui?

Painting of Frank Lloyd Wright  in The King Kamehameha Golf Club in Waihu, Maui

Painting of Frank Lloyd Wright in The King Kamehameha Golf Club in Waikapu, Maui

Although Marilyn Monroe never had the house built, the plans were used to create the clubhouse for what is now The Kamehameha Golf Club.

The King Kamehameha Golf Club

The King Kamehameha Golf Club*

On the roof of  Frank Lloyd Wright's design for Marilyn Monroe

On the roof of Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for Marilyn Monroe*

Rounded corners, rounded windows

Rounded corners, rounded windows *

Landscaping contributes to design

Landscaping and statues contribute to the design*

In the spa - shapes are important in a Frank Lloyd Wright design

Even in the spa – shapes are important in a Frank Lloyd Wright design*

That's me -- reflected in a mirror in the men's spa (my one chance).  The men's spa is much bigger than the women's!

That’s me — reflected in a mirror in the men’s spa (my one chance).*

The men’s spa is much bigger than the women’s because, they say, more men are members.

Photo of Marilyn Monroe - in The King Kamehameha Golf Club women's spa.  *

Photo of Marilyn Monroe  hanging in The King Kamehameha Golf Club women’s spa. *

Frank Lloyd Wright windows

Frank Lloyd Wright windows*

From a private dining room looking out a Frank Lloyd Wright window.*

From a private dining room looking out a Frank Lloyd Wright window.*

Window reflections*

Window reflections*

According to an article by Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi in a Special to the Star-Bulletin, “If circumstances had been different, the imposing rose-colored structure that stands in Waikapu, in the foothills of the West Maui Mountains, would have wound up as a vacation home for Marilyn Monroe and her playwright-husband Arthur Miller — instead of the clubhouse that’s the centerpiece of The King Kamehameha Golf Club.

In 1957, the jet-setting couple asked renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design an escape for them near rustic Roxbury, Connecticut . . .  [that included], among other features, a cinema with a film vault, a nursery and a swimming pool with a gentle slope leading to a running brook.

When the couple’s marriage dissolved in 1958, however, so did their dream of building the 10,000- to 14,000-square-foot country estate. Wright died the following year, and for the next 30 years, the blueprints were tucked away in the archives of Taliesin West, an architectural firm in Scottsdale, Ariz., that grew from Wright’s practice.

In 1988, Wright’s design was reborn after Hawaii entrepreneurs Howard Hamamoto and Masaru “Pundy” Yokouchi and their Tokyo business partner, Takeshi Sekiguchi, visited Taliesin West.”  (from <;.

Beautiful glass, beautiful details

Beautiful glass, beautiful details*
Ceiling light*

Stained-glass ceiling light*

Another Frank Lloyd Wright stained-glass ceiling light*

"The Marilyn Monroe House" set on a Maui golf course.*

“The Marilyn Monroe House” *

Come to Maui; you’ll discover other surprises.  

Aloha, Renée

* photos by me

Maui Surprises: St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

When you drive past Hana to the back side of Maui, where the car rental agencies don’t want you to go,  the narrow, rough roads allow you to see rocky coasts, steep drop-offs, pounding waves, Charles Lindbergh’s grave, cattle, only a few people–and in Kaupo, one of Maui’s oldest churches.   For nearly 100 years, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church,  established in 1862,  served a thriving community of  Native Hawaiians, ranchers, fishermen, and farmers.

St. Joseph Catholic Church, Kaupo, Maui.  The volcanic rock wall to the right once serves as the xxx

St. Joseph Catholic Church, Kaupo, Maui.*

According to Friends of St. Joseph, missionary Catholic priests evangelized on Maui beginning in the mid-1800s.  Making use of local building materials, residents dove for coral and ground it into cement.  Even today, this cement holds together the original  stones of St. Joseph.

Bishop Louis Maigret blessed St. Joseph Church on June 29, 1862.

When the Kaupo population dwindled to only a few families in the 1970s, St. Joseph closed and fell into disrepair.   However, during the late 1980s and early 1990s,  church members restored St. Joseph and rededicated it on July 6, 1991.

In 2011, Friends of St. Joseph celebrated the  150 year anniversary of St. Joseph Church.

Anniversary celebration at St. Joseph's

Anniversary celebration at St. Joseph’s.  Photo from:

Whenever there is a fifth Sunday in a  month and you are in Kaupo, be there by noon if you would like to participate in a St. Joseph mass, which is followed by fellowship–and a potluck.  March 31, 2013, should be the next mass and celebration–but check with the Catholic church in Hana  before driving all the way to Kaupo.  

In the meantime, you may wander the grounds whenever you get to Kaupo.

Volcanic rock walls of what used to be the church rectory.

This volcanic rock wall used to be part of the church rectory*

St. Joseph Church graveyard.

St. Joseph Church cemetery *

Come visit.

Evening clouds from St. Joseph  Church

Evening clouds from St. Joseph Church*

Aloha, Renée

* photos by me

On the Way Home: Pittsburgh, Loveland, Bloomington, St. Louis, and Vegas–and back to Maui!

The holidays make me think of family, so finally, I’ll report on the rest of our trip on the U.S. Mainland, an important part of which was getting to visit relatives.

On the way to Loveland, near Cincinnati, to see Paul, my oldest nephew, and his great family, we first spent several days  with Servas hosts.  The first was a wonderful Servas family outside Philadelphia; they welcomed  us on very short notice.  We first met them in a park to listen to a great concert!

Music in the park

Music in the park

The xxxx Family

Servas hosts: David and Jenny’s musical family.

And then our surprise was Pittsburgh–no more steel mills but a wonderful city of rivers, bridges, museums, and music!  The incline, which is what used to take workers to the steel mills, is now a tourist cable/trolley car ride.

Pittsburgh at dusk

Pittsburgh at dusk

Barry and our friendly Servas host, Marguerite xx

Barry and our friendly Servas host, Marguerite.

Then on to Loveland.

Although near a city, their town is woodsy and green.  Can you see the face in the tree?  Paul and Piper added it to one of their trees.

Although near a big city, Loveland is woodsy and green. Can you see the face in the tree? It’s Paul and Pipe’s addition.

Cole and Piper Lynn

Piper Lynn and Cole

Paul and Piper Lynn

Paul and Piper Lynn – bouncing on tree limb

Cole and Wendy

Cole and Wendy

Yummy dinner with family

Yummy dinner with family

Then on to Bloomington, Indiana (home of basketball — Indiana University) to see cousins Vanessa, Ryan, Ashlyn, and Carsyn.

Vanessa and Carsyn making dinner

Vanessa and Carsyn making dinner

On the swings

On the swings

Family dog

Another cute family dog

Then back to St. Louis in time for fireworks.

Fireworks over the Mississippi River

Fireworks over the Mississippi River




Rocky – another family member

St. Louis neighborhood cafe where we laughed and talked.

St. Louis neighborhood cafe where we laughed and talked.

Cousin Elaine has been researching our family history with the help of a Wisconsin cousin and Vanessa.   They found we are related to Mary Laney Backensto Moreland whose grave is in the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.    One hot summer day, my sister, cousin, and I ventured out to see what we could discover.  Established in 1857, Bellefontaine Cemetery has numerous historic and extravagant tombstones and mausoleums for prominent local and state politicians, as well as soldiers of the American Civil War.

Newly discovered (by us) family graves from 1863.

Newly discovered (by us) family graves from 1863–including that of Mary Laney Backenstoe Moreland.

Mary Laney Backenstoe Moreland’s  will was executed in 1864 in St. Louis City. [When Elaine first wrote to me about Mary, I read that she was executed in 1864, which makes a very interesting twist–but not true].    Mary was married to Hanson Moreland a businessman and wagon builder who built the first fire engine for St. Louis and owned land in the city.  Hanson died  on 6/9/1863.  Those buried in this same plot include Mary D. 4/3/1863, Wm. H. Nelson 4/3/1863; Mary Backenstoe 4/3/1863, Virginia T. Moreland 4/3/1863; Lloyd H. Moreland 4/3/1863, Mary L. Moreland 3/22/1864, Fred Fursch 2/20/1867; Mary A. Moxham 6/11/1878.  We don’t yet know why five of them, including Mary Backenstoe, have their date of death as 4/3/1863.  My grandmother, on my father’s side, was a Backenstoe, and my dad’s middle name was Moreland.

The graveyard contains those known and unknown:

Graves of orphans

Graves of orphans

Grave of a known St. Louis man.

Grave of a well-known St. Louis man.

Some of the prominent people buried there include William S Burroughs (writer), Adolphus Busch (founder of Anheuser-Busch), William Clark (of Lewis and Clark), and Thomas Hart Benton (the politician).

Elaine, Trish, and I had fun wandering among the graves in this beautiful old St. Louis cemetery.

As a family, we also celebrated birthdays and being together.

Sister Trish and brother-in-law Chuck.

Sister Trish and brother-in-law Chuck.

Brother Al and sister-in-law Lori.

Brother Al and sister-in-law Lori.

Niece Jennie and her husband, Mark.

Niece Jennie and her husband, Mark.

We’re particularly proud of Mark who besides being a great dad and husband, works in a challenging career, coaches elementary school basketball teams, and  has been continuing his education–for years.  He recently graduated with about 160 credits to earn his B.A.   Yeah, Mark!

Our next stop was Las Vegas where Barry has family–and according to him–you can get the cheapest flights between the Mainland and Maui.

Las Vegas sunset

Las Vegas sunset

Shrimp and poker--Barry's happy

Shrimp and poker–Barry is happy!

Then on to Honolulu to visit friends Jamie, Jeremy, and Lilia:

Jamie and Lilith

Jamie and Lilia

With Lilith, Jeremy, and Barry.

With Lilia, Jeremy, and Barry.

We flew from Honolulu to Molokai and then on to Maui.

We flew from Honolulu to Molokai and then on to Maui on this Pacific Wings plane.

Molokai Cliffs

Molokai Cliffs–from the plane

Maui Cliffs

Maui Cliffs

What is this I see as we come down to land?   There are Hawaiian Canoe Club outriggers out in the harbor.  They have been practicing the whole time I was gone!

What is this I see as we come down to land on Maui?  Hawaiian Canoe Club outriggers, our Kihei Canoe Club rivals,  were out in the harbor. They have been practicing the whole time I was gone!  I have much to do to get ready for regattas!

And we’re back to our son and friends …

Johnny and Nalu at Keanexx

Johnny and Nalu at Keane, on the road to Hana.

and turtles . . .

Endangered Hawksbill Turtle - photo by Cheryl King of xxx

Endangered Hawksbill Turtle – photo by Cheryl King from the Hawksbill Recovery Project of Hawaii Wildlife Fund.  Go to <;.

and the whales are now back for the winter.

Although it is great to be on the road, it’s wonderful to be back home.

Aloha,  Renée

*Except where noted, photos by me.

Flat Stanley is on Maui!

Flat Stanley - the book

Flat Stanley, according to the book, is a resourceful boy.  After a bulletin board hung over his bed falls and unfortunately flattens him, Stanley started traveling the world (since he can easily fit  in an envelop, which saves a lot on air fare).  He makes the best of his difficult situation.

My great-nephew, Bryce, who is in 4th grade, mailed Flat Stanley to me, and I have been showing him Maui.

Here is  Flat Stanley’s  report to Bryce and his class.

One of the first places Flat Stanley saw was Tasty Crust.

Locals on Maui love Tasty Crust especially for breakfast

Uncle Barry, Flat Stanley, and tasty pancakes

Not too far away from Tasty Crust is Iao Valley.  Locals go to Iao to swim in the cold water; tourists go to see the waterfalls and replica houses of  the many ethnic groups who live here on Maui: Hawaiian, Filipino, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Western missionary.

Flat Stanley in one of the many huge banyan trees in Iao Valley

Flat Stanley with a stone lion in Iao Valley Heritage Park

Flat Stanley and cousin John: The Iao streams are not only great for cooling off on a hot day but also a source of clean water

Hiking is great on Maui.

At Iao Needle, hiking with John and Nalu.

John let Flat Stanley ride piggy back for the Iao Valley hike

Flat Stanley at the Iao Tablelands

Flat Stanley and a rainbow. We did get a little wet. It's a good thing that Bryce laminated Flat Stanley

Of course, you probably know that Maui is famous for its beaches.  Maui has been voted  “Best Island in the World” by Conte Nash Traveler  readers for 17 years, so of course, Flat Stanley wanted to see the Pacific Ocean.  Maui is about 3,000 miles from any continent, so there is a lot of ocean around it.  Look on a map to see how far Hawaii is from the rest of the U.S. mainland and from Asia too.


Do you see Maui? (map from The Lonely Planet)

Map from:   <;

Many people love to come to Maui especially in the winter. The sand is soft, the ocean warm. Many couples come for their honeymoons.

Justin, Jade, and a little friend blowing bubbles on the Kam III Maui beach

Of course, Flat Stanley wanted to see a Maui sunset.

Maui sunset

On another day, we rode upcountry (up the side of Haleakala, the volcano) and saw ranches and farms.

Flat Stanley on the pumpkin wagon at Kula Farms

Flat Stanley spotted a very creative mailbox.

Upcountry mailbox

Flat Stanley has come with us, of course,  to celebrate a few holidays.  As usual, for instance, we went to the beach for our Thanksgiving dinner with friends.

Thanksgiving at Kam III

Another day, we hiked the Maui Coastal Land Trust preserve.

The Maui Coastal Land Trust manager, Flat Stanley, Aunt Renée & good friend Pat

When we drove upcountry one Sunday to join our Quaker Friends in Eve’s Sacred Garden,  Flat Stanley came too.

Flowers, birds chirping, a bubbling stream: a peaceful setting for meditation. Flat Stanley with Buddha

Flat Stanley comes to gatherings with friends.

Good friend Denise at her birthday party

Although 90% of our food and energy are imported  from at least 3,000 miles away–so we really need to work on sustainability–we do have good locally grown fresh food.

Tasty greens from our garden--with a heart-shaped grilled potato slice. Flat Stanley doesn't eat much, but he knows to eat fruits and vegetables.

Because the temperatures are very moderate on Maui,  we feel it is winter when it rains–especially in Kihei where we live.

At sea level where we live, the temperature doesn't usually get below 60 degrees even in the winter.

Sometimes we can see even double rainbows--see the one forming on the right?

Since you go to a Catholic school, you might be interested in the churches here on Maui.    The missionaries had a big impact on the culture and religion of the Hawaiians.

Keanae Congregational Church--Built of lava rocks, this one was established in 1857

The church  was the only Keanae building to survive the devastating tsunami of April 1, 1946.

Another interesting church is the octagon-sided Holy Ghost Catholic Church upcountry in  Kula; it was built in 1875 by Portuguese immigrants who had come to work on the Maui sugar cane plantations.

Holy Ghost Catholic Church & cemetery

photo by,_Hawaii)

Stanley wanted to see more of Maui, so we drove to Hana with friends.  The road crosses 52 one-lane bridges through rain forests.  The area is one of the wettest places on Earth.

Shanghai interns Elaine, Jasmine, Stacey, & Yvonne with Flat Stanley near a roadside waterfall

Hana town

Many tourists rush to get to Hana, but as with life, it is the journey that is important.  We stopped to eat lunch and hike at Waikamoi Ridge, saw Keanae, took breaks to see waterfalls, and had a good time on our trip.  We stayed in cabins at Wainapanapa State Park.

Tom and Denise came and joined us

Although it rained a bit (we were in a rain forest), we got to hike, talk–and eat well.  John was our excellent cook  🙂

Yvonne, Elaine, Jasmine, Deanna, & John - getting ready to leave after our weekend at Wainapanapa

Flat Stanley, Barry, and I got to spend another night.   The next day we went to Hamoa Bay.

Flat Stanley and Uncle Barry checking out the waves at Hamoa

Playing on the beach at Hamoa

Playing in the waves at Hamoa

There’s windsurfing at Ho’okipa.

Doesn't this look fun?

Photo by

There’s much more to do on Maui.  Hiking in Haleakala, paddling outrigger canoe, watching whales, going zip-lining . . .  What do you like to do?   Come do it here on Maui.

Flat Stanley at a Maui pool

Come visit us.

Aloha, Flat Stanley and Aunt Renée

Opportunities for Zhejiang Province, China and Maui County, Hawaii

Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University and visiting University of Hawaii Maui College administrators and faculties meet for talks

Recently, University of Hawaii Maui College colleagues came to visit Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University here in Lin’an, China.

UHMC visiting faculty at the welcoming luncheon: Liping Liu, Jan & Randall Moore, Dr. Cathy Thompson, and because we are at ZAFU this year, Barry and I

The feast at the ZAFU third floor cafeteria

The ZAFU and UHMC discussions explored several ideas of how our schools could become more closely linked.

ZAFU administrators including Claudia and the newly appointed Director of the International Office, Professor Kathy Fang

Our UHMC participants

We discussed both predictable but also innovative possibilities.   For instance, an important opportunity for U.S.  students wanting to learn Chinese is to  come here to ZAFU; it is a good and an affordable choice.  Students receive six hours of classroom instruction four days a  week in small classes with students from around the world.  Those coming to study Mandarin are on the ZAFU campus with 22,000 Chinese speaking students.  So there is plenty of opportunity to practice this  complex  and increasingly useful language and become familiar with the Chinese culture.  Tuition is about $2,500 a year.  See for more information.

A typical small and friendly ZAFU Mandarin class: students are from Italy, Belgium, Ghana, Holland, Indonesia, the U.S. and Japan

Other possible connections include:

Sustainability projects – Maui and Zhejiang have the bamboo.  The Bamboo Foundation and the Green School are good models of what has already been done to use bamboo in building and more. On Maui, David Sands has already gotten approval and built five model bamboo housesHe is involved with the International Bamboo Foundation: P.O. 790716 Paia, HI  phone: 808-572-8129.  See the website at  It seems like our colleges could and should get involved in this essential path for  sustainable  for the future.

Tea Culture Promotion – ZAFU is the only university in China that has a tea culture major.  Tea is an essential element of Chinese culture (as well as for the Japanese).  Both have made tea an art.  Students  training in tea culture  here at ZAFU give performances  in Lin’an, Hangzhou and beyond.

Tea ceremony presentation for UHMC faculty

ZAFU Tea master, Liping, and Dean Kathy

These  rich  cultural experiences could, for instance, be brought to Maui for  presentations at high-end hotels such as  The Makena Resort: .  Lois Greenwood, wouldn’t an authentic tea ceremony be a wonderful addition for the guests at The Makena Resort?  The ZAFU tea culture majors could also teach VITEC classes to the residents of Maui   Since Maui has a large Asian population, many residents are likely to be interested in learning about their culture. Japanese visitors may be  curious about how the Chinese tea presentation differs from their own.  Others are likely just to be interested.  A beginning with a focus on Chinese tea culture could also lead to calligraphy and other Chinese arts.  The Maui Arts and Culture Center could showcase  the tea culture performances <>.

Tea ceremony practitioners and audience

Transition of Chinese students to top U.S. universities:  Many Chinese students want to study abroad.  One question Barry and I get here in China is, “What is the most famous university in the U.S.?”  For the Chinese, going to a prestigious school is extremely important.  Before we try to answer a student, we want to know what he or she will be studying since the quality of programs vary within each school and we consider their English fluency.  Some of the Chinese students have what we see as an unrealistic view of their their own capabilities.  In general, although they do have discipline, and they do know how to work hard,  U.S. universities, especially the top ones, are very competitive.  A student must be excellent to survive. According to a 2005 report issued by The Education Trust,  approximately 35 percent of students who enter US colleges will drop out during the first year — and those are often native English  speakers. (  A

The Chinese students going to the University of Indiana, for instance, will pay about $30,000 just for tuition.  Add books, food, and housing costs, that fee rises to $43,351.  They also  need the airfare to get to the school.  <>  However, the average annual salary of urban employees in China’s non-private sector rose to 37,147 yuan (or about $5,600)  in 2010 according to a May 5, 2011 People’s Daily report.

Because her spoken English was very limited, we struggled to understand one student who told us money  for school was not an issue  for her family.  Her parents,  however, may disagree when she likely flunks out of her first year when she is competing with native English speakers.   So Barry and I see a real need to have transition programs for many of the Chinese students.  Just as U.S. students often start at community colleges for their core courses and then transfer to universities to complete BA or graduate studies, many Chinese students, we think could (and should) do the same.  At UHMC, we have the excellent Maui Language Institute <> for those students who do not yet qualify for U.S.  universities.  For those who do, they may be wise to start at a school such as UHMC <> to acclimate to   a US school, one with small classes and with experienced teachers instead of the huge freshman classes  of major universities, ones often taught by T.A.s.  Once the students have built their skills and gained transferable credits, they can move on to top universities that specialize in their fields of study–and they are likely to do very well.  ZAFU and UHMC could set up transition programs for Chinese students wanting to do well in American universities.

Our schools could trade medical knowledge and expertise.  In the U.S., there is a growing recognition and interest in Oriental medicine.  A friend on Oahu has just enrolled in a four-year program there to become a doctor of Oriental medicine.  Perhaps our UHMC could make good use of the training ZAFU  graduates receive to promote special semester or summer Oriental medicine classes on Maui.  In exchange, our UHMC Dental Hygenist program faculty and students could  send representatives here to ZAFU.  There is a huge opportunity to share what we know in the U.S. about dental hygiene.   Our UHMC Dental Program leaders, Joyce Yamada and Rosie Vierra could offer  their knowledge and expertise to develop a program at ZAFU.  See our UHMC  site <>.   ZAFU could offer a dental hygienist program here that could be a model for China.  The possibilities are vast.

Of course, an obvious connection is teacher and  student exchanges.   Right now, ZAFU is actively recruiting faculty  who speak Mandarin and English to teach in almost all programs at this  campus in China.  If you or someone you know was born in China but emigrated to another country, ZAFU wants their skills at this university.  Those interested should contact Mr. Bao Haiyong (Bob) <>.

As for the ZAFU Foreign Languages Department, it often searches for qualified native English speakers.  UHMC could be an excellent source.   Besides our regular tenured faculty, UHMC has a pool of very well-educated and experienced instructors.    Lecturers in the UHMC English Department, for instance,  have at least a Masters Degree, are professional, and have experience teaching on the college level.  Most love teaching; they would be very capable in teaching  English classes here at ZAFU; for themselves, they  would gain valuable new classroom and Chinese cultural experience. Barry and I have had an incredible year here and  recommend the experience.  Those interested can apply to Ms. Vickie Ge, ZAFU Administrator & Coordinator of Foreign Teachers/Experts at her e-mail address–<>.

We hope to expand and grow in connections between our two schools.  We look forward to bright futures for our students and our communities.  Our ideas can make that happen.

One of the joys of being in another country is trying unfamiliar dishes. Here Cathy, sitting between Liping and Dean Kathy, is eating duck tongue for the first time.

On the morning our UHMC group headed into Hangzhou and then back to Shanghai, we got to meet the ZAFU official,  Dean Yu, who with our UHMC Liping and Vice-Chancellor Suzette started the sister school relationship  between our two institutions  several years.  Liping kept referring to him as Dean Fish Head,  which I though was  rather surprising (and a bit rude) especially since Liping is always very professional.  But no, Liping uses “Fish Head” as  an affectionate title.  “Yu” means fish in Mandarin,  and as dean, he is the head of his department, thus “Fish head.”

Dean Yu, "Fish Head," and Liping -- two who started our ZAFU and UHMC relationship

May our relationships continue to grow and our ideas flourish.

Zài Jiàn and Aloha, Renée

%d bloggers like this: