Thursday, November 10, 2011

Flat Alexandra and Flat Amy's Journal Entry from La Perouse Bay

We took Flat Alexandra and Flat Amy to see the lava flows at La Perouse Bay.  Flat Niamh visited the site last year and that post can be seen here: Flat Niamh's Journal Entry From La Perouse Bay.

Since all of the girls were really intrigued by the landscape, we consulted Wikipedia for some more information, all the following text is either directly taken from Wikipedia or is slightly abridged from the original Wikipedia text. 

 The bay's Hawaiian name is Keoneʻoʻio. It was at La Perouse that the first Westerners set foot on Maui. When the French explorer Jean François de Galaup La Perouse landed here in 1786, scores of Hawaiians from the village of Keone'o'io came out to greet him.  It was later named for the French explorer Captain Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse. In 1786, La Pérouse surveyed and mapped the prominent embayment near the southern cape of Maui opposite the island of Kahoʻolawe. The bay is the site of Maui's most recent volcanic activity

Here is a picture of Molokini, a volcanic crater that is partly submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean.

 Here's another view from Makena Road, looking out over the lava flow toward Molokini.
 See the lava flow coming down the hillside? And the volcanic cones? They look like little hills.  
Here is the monument dedicated to La Perouse, it is made of volcanic rock.
The rounded peninsula that dominates the northern half of the bay and extends up the coast a short distance was formed about 900,000 years ago by an eruption of basaltic lava that originated in the southernmost landward expression of the Haleakala Southwest Rift Zone. A small string of cinder cones extending inland to the northeast marks the axis of the rift zone.

La Perouse Bay lies directly south of the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve. Fishing is prohibited within the reserve, which is home to many endemic and other fish speciesmarine mammalsgreen sea turtles, and coastal plants.[3]
From north to south, the reserve spans four ahupuaʻa (land division extending from the uplands into the sea). These are Onau, Kanahena, Kualapa, and Kalihi. The reserve was named for the land and sea around the lava flow named Cape Kīnaʻu at the southern end of ʻĀhihi Bay.[2]Niamh was expecting to see smooth lava which is called pahoehoe lava.  However, most of the lava at La Perouse Bay is ʻAʻā,  meaning "stony rough lava", but also to "burn" or "blaze". is one of three basic types of flow lava. 

The reserve's land boundary was specifically designed to encompass the young rugged lava flows on Haleakala volcano’s southwest rift zone. Much of the reserve is barren, rough and jagged ʻaʻa lava with some smooth pahoehoe lava fed by the Kalua O Lapa cinder cone. These lava flows form Cape Kīnaʻu and coat the adjacent sea floor. Also within the reserve is the coastal part of an older, similar sequence of lava flows northwest of Kalua O Lapa. This older sequence, the Kanahena flows, erupted from an unnamed fissure at about 1,400 feet (430 m) altitude.[3]

The incoming tide formed tidepools.  We saw a few small ocean animals.  We did not see any sea turtles or spinner dolphins during our visit, but the area is a nature preserve where both animals, as well as others stop to "rest".

Five eruptions within the last 500 years are known from East Maui. Kalua O Lapa is among the youngest. Two radiocarbon ages have been determined of charcoal collected from beneath Kalua O Lapa lava and spatter deposits. The average ages indicate the lava flowed sometime between 1419 and 1621 AD. Radiocarbon dating of the Kanahena lava flows leave its age unresolved. The best estimate is between 1024 and 1183 AD.

The area contains many archaeological sites, including fishing shrines, salt pans, and heiau, or religious platforms. The road ends at the parking lot/entrance to the seashore and marks the start of the King's Highway,[4] a trail that circumnavigated the island, originally built by Pi'ilani and later improved by Governor Hoapili, sometimes called the Hoapili trail.

Flat Amy and Flat Alexandra certainly hadn't seen anything quite like this before! And we're not done just yet.....check back for new posts soon!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Flat Amy and Flat Alexandra's Journal Entry from Haleakalā

Although the weather is still very nice and quite warm this time of year, there's quite a lot of rain compared to summer time.  Niamh really wanted to take our visitors up to the summit of Haleakalā.  The tallest peak of Haleakalā is 10,023 feet above sea level and comprises 75% of the island of Maui! Haleakalā means "House of the Sun" in Hawaiian and in Hawaiian folklore, the depression at the summit of Haleakalā was home to the grandmother of the demigod Māui. According to the legend, Māui's grandmother helped him capture the sun and force it to slow its journey across the sky in order to lengthen the day.

We stopped at the ranger station at the park and asked for some information to send back to Ireland.  They gave us some great educational materials.  Here's a quote from the pamphlet explaining how the Hawaiian Islands were formed:

The Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated major island group on earth: they are 2,400 miles from the closest  continent. The chain reaches from the big island of Hawai'i to Kure Atoll and it is still growing. For at least 81 million years, new islands have been forming as the Pacific Plate moves northwestward over a stationary plume of magma rising from a "hot spot" within the Earth's mantle. The fluid rock makes its way up through the ocean floor, and countless eruptions over hundreds of thousands of years eventually create a volcanic island. But the plates unceasing movement slowly separates the volcano from its source, terminating its growth, even as a new volcano rises from the ocean floor..."

-National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior

Since Maui is an island, storms come in very quickly, and the clouds can obscure the crater and the views from up on the summit.  We had a look at the weather forecast and decided that we should scurry on up the road to try to make the best of the most promising weather forecast. 

Here they all are, looking up ath Haleakalā from down on Makawao Road.  See the two clusters of clouds moving in? We had to race them up the hill.  Even though it's only about 22 miles from the base of Haleakalā to the summit, it takes about 45 minutes to drive up because the road meanders back and forth with loads of twists and turns.  Directly behind them is a field of sugar cane. 

And here are the girls looking up toward Haleakalā as we make our way up in the car.
 By the time we got up to about 6000 feet elevation, we were above some of the clouds.
Here they are looking around at the summit.  It looks like they are on the moon, doesn't it?  They are at the observation center which is about 9000 feet above sea level. 
 And here is the crater! It is about 7 miles across. And don't worry! It hasn't erupted since 1790. We are hoping to take the Flat girls to see the lava flows at La Perouse Bay.

The temperature near the summit tends to vary between about 40°F (5°C) and 60°F (16°C) ; we encouraged everyone to bundle up, but being of hardy Irish stock, Flat Alexandra and Flat Amy were not troubled by the brisk conditions. 

 Then we went the rest of the way up to the very top-10,023 feet! Look at the view looking west out over the island.

 Having another look at the crater from a higher vantage point.

And look at this interesting plant! 

The Haleakalā silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum)  is a threatened species.  It grows in volcanic cinder at altitudes of 6,800-9,500 feet and can live for up to 50 years.  They were almost grazed to extinction during the 1920s but are making a comeback.  Niamh thought they looked like something you'd see on the moon.  

Well, we are keeping our guests busy so there should be some new posts soon....check back for updates. 

Flat Alexandra and Flat Amy go to Maui!

We have had some company over from Ireland for the last couple of weeks.  We are taking them to Maui with us to show them around a bit before sending them back home again. We'll be doing some catching up on posts as well since they've already visited several points of interest in Southern California, and our own Flat Niamh and Flat Clara got to go along to New Orleans, Louisiana. So watch for some updates soon!


Flat Niamh and Flat Clara's Last Weekend in Buncrana, County Donegal, Ireland

The girls last day in Buncrana. They took a stroll along the Swilly and enjoyed the winter sunshine..

Monday, November 7, 2011

Flat Niamh and Flat Clara's Journal Entry from Will and Lisa's Dia de los Muertos Party!

Flat Niamh and Flat Clara went along with Paul and Robin to Will and Lisa's Annual Dia de los Muertos party.  Always a festive affair, guests are always greated warmly and can expect to enjoy delicious food and some wonderful live music.

Here they are with Will, visiting with a boa!

And here they are at the ofrenda with Lisa and Robin.

Niamh and Clara are very much hoping to make it to next year's party.

Flat Amy and Flat Alexandra's Journal Entry from Calle de Olvera, Los Angeles, California

We took Flat Amy and Flat Alexandra along with us to Calle de Olvera (Olvera Street) which is the oldest street in Los Angeles.  It is located in downtown Los Angeles, and is a shopping district full of Mexican shops and restaurants. We went for the Día de los Muertos fiesta which is held every year.  Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is actually observed and celebrated over  two days, November 1st and 2nd, in which people throughout Latin America remember friends and family who have passed away. It is both a happy and sad occasion. Día de los Muertos  is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place  in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2) although the tradition can be traced back to pre-Columbian times. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas honoring the deceased using sugar skulls (calaveras de azúcar),  marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed.

 Here are all four girls striking a pose at the entrance to Calle Olvera; Niamh and Clara are wearing their embroidered Puebla dresses. They are a Mexican folk garment, originally from the State of Puebla, Mexico.  They have been considered stylish in California since the 1940s and 50s, right through the 60s "hippie era" to the present.

We stopped at the Avila Adobe, which is the oldest house in Los Angeles.  Los Angeles is actually a very short way of saying the original Spanish name for the city:  El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porciúncula River). Los Angeles is a lot easier to say. Some people call it "The City of Angels", and people who live there call themselves Angelenos. More than 12 million people live in Los Angeles; it is the most populous city in California, and the second most populous city in the United States. Los Angeles was founded as a tiny little town on September 4, 1781 by a group of forty-four settlers  There is lots of history in the area! 

We went shopping for a few things for our ofrenda, such as papel picado and some copal incense.  We also looked at these pretty fans. 

We crossed over to the plaza to look at the ofrendas being assembled for the novenarios which are held every night between October 25 and November 2.

 This ofrenda is being assembled.

We stopped to eat lunch at La Golondrina ("the swallow") and had some very delicious Mexican food.

Some musicians were passing by so we asked if they would sing a song for our guests and they kindly complied with our request for "El Rey".

Here is a video of the song, sung by its composer José Alfredo Jiménez :

And here are the lyrics in Spanish, and English.
El Rey

Yo sé bien que estoy afuera
pero el dia en que yo me muera
sé que tendras que llorar
Llorar y llorar
llorar y llorar
Diras que no me quisiste
pero vas a estar muy triste
y asi te vas a quedar
Con dinero y sin dinero
hago siempre lo que quiero
y mi palabra es la ley
no tengo trono ni reina
ni nadie que me comprenda
pero sigo siendo el rey
Una piedra del camino
me enseñó que mi destino
era rodar y rodar
Rodar y rodar
rodar y rodar
Después me dijo un arriero
que no hay que llegar primero
pero hay que saber llegar
Con dinero y sin dinero
hago siempre lo que quiero
y mi palabra es la ley
no tengo trono ni reina
ni nadie que me comprenda
pero sigo siendo el rey.

English Translation:
I know very well that I'm out (of your life)
but the day I die
I know you'll have to cry
to cry and cry
to cry and cry
You may say you never loved me
but you're going to be really sad
and that's how you're going to stay
With or without money
I always do what I want
and my words are the law
I don't have neither a throne nor a queen
nor anyone that understand me
but I keep being the king
A stone in the journey
taught me that my destiny
was to roll and roll
to roll and roll
to roll and roll
Then an arriero told me
that you don't have to arrive first
but you have to know how to arrive
With or without money
I always do what I want
and my words are the law
I don't have neither a throne nor a queen
nor anyone that understands me
but I keep being the king.

We also heard them sing "Cielito Lindo", here is a video of the song, as performed by Los Lobos, a Los Angeles band. 

Cielito Lindo 
De la Sierra Morena,
Cielito lindo, vienen bajando,
Un par de ojitos negros,
Cielito lindo, de contrabando.

Ay, ay, ay, ay,
Canta y no llores,
Porque cantando se alegran,
Cielito lindo, los corazones.

Pájaro que abandona,
Cielito lindo, su primer nido,
Si lo encuentra ocupado,
Cielito lindo, bien merecido.

Ese lunar que tienes,
Cielito lindo, junto a la boca,
No se lo des a nadie,
Cielito lindo, que a mí me toca.

Si tu boquita morena,
Fuera de azúcar, fuera de azúcar,
Yo me lo pasaría,
Cielito lindo, chupa que chupa.

De tu casa a la mía,
Cielito lindo, no hay más que un paso,
Antes que venga tu madre,
Cielito lindo, dame un abrazo.

Una flecha en el aire,
Cielito lindo, lanzó Cupido,
y como fue jugando,
Cielito lindo, yo fui el herido.


English translation:

Through dark tresses, heavenly one,
a pair of deep brown eyes,
lower as they approach, a stolen glance.

Ay, ay, ay, ay,
sing and don't cry,
heavenly one, for singing
gladdens hearts.

A bird that abandons
his first nest, heavenly one,
then finds it occupied by another,
deserves to lose it.

That beauty mark you have
next to your mouth, heavenly one,
don't share with anyone but me
who appreciates it.

If your little mouth, my dark girl,
were made of sugar,
I would spend my time
enjoying its sweetness.

From your house to mine
there is no more than a step.
Before your mother comes,
heavenly one, give me a hug.

Cupid shot off an arrow,
heavenly one,
And though he was playing,
I was wounded.


Next, we went to a bakery called Mr. Churro which sells, well, churros. Churros are kind of like donuts except that they aren't round.  They are like a donut stick sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  Mr. Churro has churros rellenos (relleno means 'stuffed') that have chocolate, custard, or caramel inside.  They were also selling Pan de Muerto, which is a type of pan dulce (sweet bread) made for Día de los Muertos.  It is very good with hot chocolate. 
And finally, we went home and set up own ofrenda with the help of Flat Amy and Flat Alexandra. The papel picado, colorful paper that is decoratively cut, is hanging above the ofrenda. 
¡Muchas gracias por su ayuda Amy Plana y Alexandra Plana! ¡Feliz Día de los Muertos!