Friday, October 28, 2011

Deja-vu...?

What strikes you, As soon as you exit the plane at Lihue airport, is a strong sense of deja vu.
Actually, no. Deja vu is not the correct expression in this case, because, one could argue, it would be obvious that you feel you already saw a place ("deja vu") if you have already been there (and I have already been several times at the airport of Lihue).
It is rather some states of mind that you feel inside, in your lungs, in your stomach. You feel it, but you can't realize what it exactly is.
I believe that this feeling is evoked mainly by smell. Of cinnamon and ginger, but, above all, of very ripe fruits. A sweet smell, a little sticky (maybe even for the high rate of humidity). Not unpleasant at all, but very strong. It also hints of peat and fat undergrowth. The island smells very different from where i live. It almost seems to recognize something ancestral and primitive, which belongs to my genetics, but without any cultural tie, in this sense deja vu. Like it is for a lion roar: it would scare anyone, even those who had not ever heard its sound.


Kealia bay
You perceives something different also about hearing. Not the usual reverb of some sand between heels and fake-marble floors, typical in the airports, with artificial aseptic and metallic voices in the background. Here the speakers spread sugary Hawaiian melodies, the announcements always begin with aloha and end with mahalo. Everything comes a little muffled to the ears (maybe also for the warmth and moist of the air, after the air conditioning there was in the aircraft). This feeling is even increased when you exit the airport, and there is constant noise of the surf on the beaches or the waves crashing on the cliffs.

People are extraordinarily, almost irritatingly calm and quiet. With haoles (as i look - and i am) they are all very friendly. With the locals (like R) they start to speak strict pidgin seeking - and usually finding - common friends or relatives they share.
The cars move slowly and the traffic rage simply does not exist. The flow of events is not managed by clocks but instead by the availability of time of whoever is involved. Almost one wonders how it is possible that society respect schedulings designed on absolute time (eg public transport timetables).
This time we landed at night, but I like to arrive to Kaua'i during the day, because all of the sudden it offers, from the highway, some dramatic views of the mountains, similar in shape to the Dolomites, but colored with different shades of green (in the tropics vegetation is able to invade every available space). From a distance they look almost surreal, the colors a little blunt by humidity.

The best tasting food is the tropical fruit. I stuffed my face with papayas - who has never been to the tropics can not understand: the papayas we have in Italy taste like plastic, while over there they are sweet and buttery. Mangos, avocados, pineapples, star-fruits, bananas of every size and flavor, coconuts, typical macadamia nuts, lemons, limes, pomelos, passion fruits. At Kaua'i you can find wholesome and tasty goods at the farm markets (markets where fruit and vegetables are sold directly by the producers.)
And then there's the fresh fish, which is also sold in form of poke (raw fish salad dressed with sauces, spices and seaweeds, to eat with chopsticks).
Wine is unusual, but the beer flows is like rivers...
To food a specific post will be dedicated. After all, the reason (or the excuse) of our holiday over there was the participation to the typical luau, at the family reunion.

1 comment:

Rowena... said...

See? Seen through your eyes, Hawaii is that much more beautiful. Next time we must plan the trip a little better so that the first thing we do as soon as we land is to grab some papayas, beer and Chicken in a Barrel for our first island meal!