Returning to my Tribe

Trip Start Jul 03, 2005
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Trip End Sep 01, 2005


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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Sunday, July 3, 2005

Listen to an African jam (Mamady Keita: Soku 10MB download)summer_2005.1120413060.03-sxkx.mp3 TARGET=NEW>
Aloha Family and Friends,

On Maui this week:

After 3.5 years in Asia, I got off the plane in Honolulu, Hawaii after my 11 hour flight feeling pretty good since I had a nice tai chi workout in the aisle of the plane through the middle of the night. I only had $1200 New Taiwan Dollars in my pocket and walked over to an ATM to use my Bank of Hawaii card that I hadn't used in 3 years. After entering my pin three times and failing, I was told that I would have to wait another 5 days before I could try again. I managed to exchange my Taiwan dollars to $40 USD, but was still a little worried about how I was going to stretch $40 over 5 days. I boarded my connecting flight for the smaller Island of Maui. When I arrived to Maui I wanted to call my friend but had no change for the payphone. I went over to the visitor information desk where a big Hawaiian woman was sitting. I asked her if she could change $1 for 4 quarters. She takes out a handful of coins and says, "Here you are... you don't have to give me that dollar... I want to give it to you." I was already holding the dollar in my hand and handed it toward her, saying, "No, no, I have it right here, thank you." But Auntie Aloha says, "C'mon, let me spread some aloha will ya'... here you are." So, I took the four quarters with the biggest smile on my face and said "Mahalo Auntie", then told her of my previous moments concern over money. Right off the airplane and instantly I'm getting the winds of aloha blowing in my face.

My next island experience happened on my way to my favorite beach party. I needed some water and decided to stop at Hawaiian Moons Health Food Store. Before I went in, I promised myself to only buy water and not get caught up for hours drooling over the many foods I love but haven't had for three years... after all, I was on a mission to get to the beach party. I did get a little side tracked checking out some foods when this shining brother walked in with long curly golden ringletted hair. He looked at me and said, "hey bro! My name's Jonathan... love you man! Hope you're having an excellent day!" I introduced myself and he then said, "Yeah, you are Precious!" Jonathan then pointed over to the water shelf without knowing what I came to buy and said, "you have to buy this water... it's the best in the world!", pointing to a sparkling water bottle. He then asked what I was doing for the day. "Going to Little Beach", I replied. He said, "alright, I'm heading that way too, can I catch a ride?"

As we were leaving the store, Jonathan asked 2 girls out on a date (one being the cashier) and then told a 3rd how beautiful she is and how much he liked her bikini. I haven't cruised with dudes like this in Taiwan... But he's a pretty normal Mauian. As we drove, I asked him questions about what he likes to do? "Eat healthy foods, drink pure water, hike and jump off waterfalls, and take naps... yeah, I love naps." A few moments later, and only half-way to our destination, He says, "Ooooohhhh, there's a nice patch of grassy grass in the shade. Drop me here bra and I'll take a little nap now." So, Jonathan got out in the middle of nowhere to go enjoy that patch of grassy grass in the shade of a big tree. We said our goodbyes and Alohas and I cruised on, reflecting upon my days of care-free living in my camper van on Maui. Nice to be back!

The Little Beach Party was wild!!! First I joined all the nude swimmers and surfers for a swim the natural way... Then I got into a music circle that slowly evolved as more and more drummers showed up. As the sun began to set, the drummers began getting tight and the remaining 100+ people at the beach gathered round forming a big circle. The scene was so tribal! Great energy to quench the thirst of the Native Earthian within! Wild, gorgeous, naked dancers in the middle of the circle enticing the drummers to play faster and louder, thus increasing the amperage and energy of the crowd. As the sun went down the fire spinners began... Moving rhythmically in sync with the drums... tantalizing the crowds' senses with there beauty and fire. As I laid my hands into my drum and pounded the pain out of them, I realized what a wonderful, natural, healthful, communal gathering this was... and how fortunate I was to be present on this Sunday. Our modernized world doesn't allow us to live this way everyday... but nice to be able to get tribal once a week! These guys are livin'!
Babies and adults frolicking about and playing in the water a'nude. Babies sucking from their mother's tit out in the open... looking so natural and ordinary. Before leaving Taiwan, I had talked with my Taiwan friends about my concern that I may experience Culture Shock upon returning to Maui and straight off the plane, heading to this Little Beach Party... but Culture Shock was not what I experienced... I experienced the same feeling of "Home" that I experienced the first time I went to Maui. Hawaii is the only place I've gone where people don't blink when I tell them my name. Maui folks give the biggest and most frequent hugs of the places I've visited... and the weather... the weather is perfect everyday... Perfect. It's really nice to be back home.

My friend Joy welcomed me to stay with her and her two kids in their beautiful home. Not only is the home so beautifully decorated inside... but when I look out of any of the large screen windows and doors, all I see are views of the turquoise ocean, neighboring islands, Maui's Haleakala volcano, and flower/fruit tree gardens. It's been so nice catching up with Joy and playing with her kids whom are so wonderful. These kids that I've missed so much have matured excellently with age and are so enjoyable to be with! Joy thought I might enjoy having my own place, and then today setup a house sitting job for me to watch her traveling neighbor's beautiful home... and here I am enjoying Mother Maui's and friends' continual embrace and welcoming back home. Oh, but did I mention EXPENSIVE! The food and rent costs here are 6 times the price of Taiwan. That hurts! I'll have to teach a lot of tai chi classes to live here on Maui. And find a few part time gigs as well! But maybe worth it.

Yesterday, I got to spend a nice afternoon catching up with my buddy Brett. We used to play drums together and give bicycle tours together. We had a great swim with perfect waves, played some drums, and enjoyed a laid back sunset. Friday I will see my Maui Tai Chi teacher and go to a drum practice at the beach. Forgot to bring some camera equipment, so pictures will follow later. Hope your summer adventures are going well and look forward to hearing about them.

Love and Aloha,
Precious James
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