A Travellerspoint blog

The Big Island (Hawaii) Part 1.2

Am I finally ready to write this part?

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The next morning we packed all our valuables in our backpacks, and headed out for Akakka Falls. (Did you hear that ominous music? Or was that just me?)

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Hiking in the heat with the laptop and such on my back was tiresome. We tried hitchhiking, but nobody was picking us up with these huge backpacks. We tried to catch the bus, but the big island seems to find it funny to not put up any signs for bus stops. You either know where the bus stops, or you don't. We asked a few people where the bus stop was along the way, but so few people take the bus, that every answer we got was different. Eventually we made it to the Akakka Falls sign, and we resigned ourselves to another hour, maybe two hours to hike. We passed a few stores and decided to stop in. Joe got some ginger ice cream, and we enjoyed the air conditioning. Then back to the heat, and the up hill hike with no shade at all.

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About 20 minutes later a car finally pulled over for us. It was a kid and his sister in their 20's. They said the back of their truck was open if we wanted in, and we really really did. Just being under the bed cover (the tall metal kind, not the tarp) was a relief.

His name was Guyer, and hers was Megan (I think). She was visiting him from Michigan with her family for the holidays. He went to university here for marine biology and was heading back to the continental US to get his masters. Another 10 min. drive and we were there. We parked on the side of the road rather than in a parking space because the lot seemed full of tourists (maybe only 50 spaces). We unloaded his truck and thanked them as the couple they were meeting came over. They were going to hike up to the top of the falls, and they invited us to join them. Guyer said that only locals really know the hike to the top, and that the path isn't really maintained so you have to kinda know where you were going. We said sure, but weren't sure about bringing our backpacks up a trough trail. He told us to just put them in the cab of his truck and we could get them when we get back. Luna was nervous about leaving all her valuables in his truck, but I told her that a locked car was just as safe as a locked dorm at the hostel. She agreed, and we started to hike up the trail when Joe pointed out that we hadn't seen the bottom of the falls yet which were just around the corner. Megan's best friend hadn't seen it either, so we decided to do that first.

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Joe stepped on a guys ferns he had sprawled out on the grass that he was folding into hats and things, but the guy seemed okay with it (I'm sure it happens to him a lot). Then 2 seconds later, we saw some real falls!

Okay, now this is kinda pathetic. I have videos already uploaded to the site of China, but I haven't uploaded any from this day (procrastination at its best). I guess I finally have to look through these videos and pick some to upload...

Okay, I've actually sat down and watched these final videos that were left on my camera. It sucks that I could have been using the camera's 40GB hard drive to act as an extra back up. I don't know why I was so obsessed with erasing the thing every time I downloaded the videos to my VAIO. I haven't erased a single video since this day, and I still have space to spare. *Very heavy sigh* And without further adieu, here is a nice video of the falls:

We didn't get to stay long because Guyer was in a hurry to get back to the entrance and head up the side of the hill. So we walked along the circle passing all sorts of magnificent trees; some bamboo, some fern, some banyan, and some palm trees decorated in huge leaf vines so much so that you couldn't see any bark.

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Then we came to the small falls, and they were again, absolutely great. Guyer once again pressed us on, and I couldn't help but think that after our hike was over, I would be okay walking back to our tents b/c it was all down hill, and I really wanted to stay at the falls longer after all the hard worked we did getting up here. Now, the march back to the car. Megan wanted to get something out of her purse, and Joe wanted a snack. “Where did you put the backpack?” My throat tightened, really? He couldn't see the giant backpack behind the passenger's seat? Really?! I snapped at him, “Its right there behind the seat! He looked again, and this time I saw him search. This time, my stomach tightened. I ran. Pushing Joe aside I put my arms behind the chair to move things aside to see under them (not that our backpack was small enough to hide under something anyways), but there was nothing to push aside. His cabin only had 2 seats, and a fold out bench behind each of them constituted the back seat. Those were still folded up, exposing the bairn ground. Empty.

Megan pushed me aside to look for her purse, and I let her. She had hope enough to check under the front seats, I did not. Luna grabbed my arm. “Where is all our stuff?” I shook my head at her, I couldn't answer. I reached around my side to pull my purse to the front and retrieve my cellphone to call the police. My purse... for the first time on this trip, I had left my purse. We went swimming once on the beach in Waikiki (stupid, I know) with all our stuff tied to one another on the beach, but we always kept an eye on our bags. If someone tried to run off with them, we were close enough to shore to get there before they could untie them. If they tried to run with all our stuff, to out run us they would have to be champion weight lifters and runners. The other time we placed our things on the beach in a pile with another family's things who were staying on the shore. Then, never ever at any other point in the past 3 months had I been without my purse. This time, I forgot that I placed my purse inside the backpack after walking for 15 minutes b/c it was so hot, and putting the purse in the backpack made the load seem lighter somehow. Never! and I mean Never! on this trip had we placed the backup hard drive in the same bag as the laptop. We always kept them separate, otherwise, what was the point of having a backup?

Maybe you wonder why it has taken me so long to write about Hawaii. Maybe you've figured it was our original excuse. Too many beaches, not enough Wifi. Or maybe you figured out the truth. I could not write about this. Tears swell into my eyes even now. But I am not stopped by this. I blink several times, and I move on. Only videos, only pictures, not memories. I still have those, for what I can remember. I still have the blog, which is 300% more than I could ever hope to remember about this trip. But how avoidable was this? If I had just carried my purse! We took the camera and camcorder with us, and my purse was their carrying case. Them, my backup hard drive, and then my wallet. It was just as heavy as carrying the camera and camcorder separately, hence why it was so easy to always have it on us. We always wanted to be able to take video or pictures. If I kept it on me, we would still have our movies! Hundreds of videos that never made it on the internet... gone! So many memories of us talking, I will never get to look back on. Now the tears are dropping to my shirt. I wipe my eyes, and move on. Joe had me carry all both our wallets since his was stolen a week ago (again, I will get to that blog when I can). So all of our cash, our credit cards, our checks... in the purse. What do we do? I had both cell phones in the purse too, which we usually don't do, but we were condensing our valuables and the purse seemed like the best place. How do we call for help? Guyer was already on his phone calling the police. Megan's purse was also gone. “Megan, what was in your purse?” “Everything Guyer! Everything!” she said with her hand to her forehead. “My cash, credit cards, iPhone, iPod, drivers license...” Our ID's! Our driver's licenses were in there, and so were our passports! And my iPod and my GPS. This was the first time I had remembered to move them into our valuable bag. We've left our tent fairly regularly while in Hawaii, but we always take the laptop and my purse with us. Usually I forget to pull the iPod and GPS from out of the bags inside the tent, but this time I remembered to, and this time they were taken. Yay me.

Megan's friend's boyfriend said he saw a shady maroon station wagon/ van parked near where we parked, and they drove off to try and find it. Kolekole Beach Park was apparently a well known place for drug dealers to go to after robbing people at Akakka Falls (the woman at the permit office could have mentioned that, along with the no drinking water, I had to inform Joe and Luna about that after they got back). They also knew the guy at the coconut stand down the street, so they would stop by to talk with him first. The cops were on their way, and we were sharing Guyer's phone calling credit card companies. I called my mom, “Mom, its Vanessa... yeah, I can't talk right now, but I need you to cancel all our credit cards, we've been robbed.” To my astonishment, she let it go at that, and I hung up and passed the phone onto Luna, not that she could do anything with it. How helpless she was at that moment. Strong, independent, beer drinking Luna at age 20 traveling the world by herself, and now for the first time, totally cut off from her home comforts. Her jeans. Her most beautiful pair ever, one that the just told her friend last week that she would never find another that fit her like those did. They had a little hole on the inside of the right thigh. What would this man do with her jeans? “Nothing!” was her response.

They think they know who did it. A meth addict from the Philopeenes. Charlie, the guy who owned the coconut stand, was also white, so he knew what it was like to be targeted by thieves in Hawaii, and specifically the guy in the maroon car. When the 2 cops arrived we tried to tell them that we think we know who did it, but they did not seem interested. The one cop only wanted to fingerprint the whole car, but that was useless as Guyer had already restaged the act for the police, getting his fingerprints all over the place. He showed them how the back hatch of his car was broke, and how he jimmied those sliding windows on the back of the truck cabin to then probably unlock the truck, and then pull the 2 backpacks and his sister's purse out of the cabin. We were only gone 10 minutes. He did all that in 10 minutes, on the only road that exited the falls, and nobody saw them. They immediately went to question the guy folding ferns which I felt was distasteful because he was obviously facing away from the parking lot, and the only reason they would ask if he saw anything was because he was Hawaiian, and therefore a suspect. He saw nothing, but then after he packed up his ferns in his van he pulled up to where we were standing next to Guyer's truck, and miraculously remembered something he decided to make up. He said that he saw us talking with the man in the maroon car when we arrived and that we knew him. I just stood with my mouth open with what must have been my most ghastly expression as the cop accused me of covering up the truth of the situation. When the 5 other people standing with me cooperated my disagreement they let it go, and then explained that these locals will make up stories to cover each other, and that they have a very tight nit community. My response to that was the guy wasn't even Hawaiian, he just wasn't white either.

The cops took statements of what we had stolen, gave us police report numbers, and then took off (after like 20 minutes, yeah, they were hot on the trail), to see if they could find the car in question. Joe and Luna scoured the scene to see if he had ditched the backpacks in the bushes after taking the cash, but it was to no avail. Helpless, we were completely helpless. No cell phones; no change for a payphone; no cash for the hostel; no credit cards to buy a night at a hotel; no iPod to even barter for dinner; we had nothing but the clothes and toiletries we had left at the tent, and even that might already be history. Guyer offered to drive us anywhere we wanted to go, and to stay with him tonight, and however many nights it takes us to get back on our feet. We asked him to take us back to Kolekole Beach Park so we could get our tent. He was surprised that we were staying at such a shit hole park, and told us that the guy probably had spotted us there last night, and then watched us load all our valuables into our backpacks, and then drove past us to the only place we would be heading to, and then waited there for us to make a wrong move. Megan hit Guyer and told him to stop making stuff up thats just going to upset us more. Guyer walked a way for a moment to pick up a phone call, and Joe asked Megan how long she'd known Guyer. We all smiled for the first time since we got back to the car. “He's my brother.” She said, and explained to us that she knows how bad he must look, but she assured us that he was a good guy and that he didn't have anything to do with what happened.

Honestly, I know how bad this must sound to you, but if you had been there, if you had met the people, if they had talked to you, looked into your eyes, met you, you would know that these thoughts came into our heads, and then left just as easily. I know many of you will look back on our situation with 20/20 vision, and trust me, you are not the first to have done so. But know, that you must look into your life the same way. Tell me that you've never trusted someone whom you had no reason to trust. At a book store, you just finished Christmas shopping and you bought a cup of coffee that has made you need to rest room. Are you telling me you've never leaned over to the person next to you and asked them to watch your stuff while you went to use the toilet? You have, or something similar, you have trusted someone because its normal to believe in the good of people. You would call us paranoid if we didn't. You would look negatively upon us if we locked ourselves in the safety of our own home, turned the alarm system on, and kept our valuables hidden in the nooks and crannies of our furniture. Now look at us, who we are, where we are, where we are going. You know as well as I that this trip we are taking requires trust, it requires that we let others into our lives, and it is not the safest way to be, and we know this. We knew going into this trip that something like this would probably happen. We just hopped to be more prepared for it. Loosing the laptop would not be loosing all our videos because I backed them up weekly if not daily on the hard drive, and loosing Joe's wallet would mean that we would just use my money and credit cards since we always kept those separate too. Anyhow, that is all the justification I can stand to put either of us through. We fucked up, and opportunity struck us in the jaw.

Back at the tents Guyer went and told his friends who were body surfing what had happened and that he would need his body board back early. We packed up, and everything we left in the tent was still there. If we had only thought of that, the hike would have been much more enjoyable. Joe and I had saved a lot of extra bags on the trip, so we gave Luna some of them to pack her things in. “I feel like a homeless person!” she said as she held up her overstuffed bags. “I am no longer a backpacker, because I have no backpack! I am just another homeless person now!” She was really upset to loose her backpack, and while I was really upset to loose the things inside of Perp. Jr. I couldn't really say I was sorry to see that monstrosity go. In fact, I hope the guy tries to use it every day in his daily habit, and then gets the shit beet out of him for being a sissy boy. Did I write that out loud?

Then we piled into Guyer's truck and he drove us to the postoffice in downtown Hilo where we would try to fill out the paperwork for new passports. Megan didn't need a new passport because she was only traveling back to Michigan, and all you need for American's to travel between states is a US ID. Good, I justified during the ride, it was good that I left my purse in the backpack, because now Luna doesn't have to feel so alone. The 3 of us would fill out the paperwork together. But then she told us, “No, my passport is with Bearguard.” Huh? My brain was fried. She had given some of her things to the friend of a friend she would be staying with, and one of those things happened to be her passport. She was safe, she had all the identity she would ever need. Suddenly, I was back to being completely fucked for no good reason.

At the postoffice we met Larry, wonderful, caring, Larry. He saw my face as I asked one of the workers if I was in the right line for passport documents, and while that guy was completely unhelpful, Larry called me over in front of about 20 people and took care of me. He told me exactly what papers I needed to fill out, and that I would have to go to the governor's lesion's office to get new state ID's before we could get our passports. My eyes turned down as my eyebrows raised into a tiny point at the center of my forehead... what is a governor's lesion, where is a governor's lesion, what do I need to bring them??? Calm, he told me, “Just wait here one moment,” he told me. As if I could move if I tried. I watched him walk over to the back room and pick up the phone. He hung up 3 times after writing something down, and then holding the paper up to his glasses, he dialed one last time. Then he came back to me with a paper scribbled with notes. On it was the name of the Governor's Lesion, Kathy, and then her phone number, email, and address. Then a small map indicating where we were, and where her office is. He told me I would need my birth certificate. “Do you have someone you trust who you're mom can mail it to?” My eyes glazed over as I stared at the counter, did I? “Would you like me to give you my address, and she could send it to me?” I looked up at him, and thought, no, thats okay, I trust Guyer, and if he was in on it, he wanted my money and things, not my birth certificate. He constantly checked to make sure I was okay. I did my best to assure him I was as okay as I could be under the circumstances.

As I turned to leave he called out to me, “Wait! Can I give you some money?” For those of you who know me, this may show you what kind of state I was in. I turned to him, eyes already teary so they couldn't tear up again, and I said “Could you?” Then, coming slightly back to my senses I added, “Give me your address so I can mail you a check once I get my checkbook back. I'll have my mom send me replacements with my birth certificate, I have money, I really do, I just have no way of getting to it.” Joe actually came in and told him that we would be fine and that we didn't need his money. Good thing too, because Larry forgot that he had left his wallet at home. “Could you come back at 5? My son can bring me my wallet when he gets off of work, and then I can give you some money.” I smiled at him. “Thank you,” I said as I shook my head no. “We will be fine. We are staying with some friends tonight. We will figure something out. Thank you.” My heart almost burst. Who knew what a little security some spare cash could give. We knew Guyer would feed us when we stayed with him, but to know that we had power to feed ourselves would have been a great comfort. Knowing we had money to use a payphone would have given me some sort of confidence in myself again. But for now, I deal. Guyer would let us borrow his cell phone, and I would have to learn to accept that I screwed up, and included in the price I would pay for that was my independence.

While Joe and I went to the postoffice Guyer took Luna to buy an international phone card so she could call her mom. Unfortunately, even with the calling card, she could not contact Germany from his cell phone. But the postoffice did have payphones, so we waited a few minutes for Luna to get done with telling her mom what happened, and then we headed over to the police station. On the ride over Joe started giving me ideas as to how we could get some money, “We can get a loan from a bank,” he started to say, and then the look on my face told him to stop. “And how do we get this loan? Hey, we have no ID's, credit cards, or money, but we would really like it if you could let us borrow some cash, and we promise to pay you back.” Yeah, none of us were really in our right minds. At the police state we received no update about our stuff, but we did fill out paperwork for temporary ID's for Joe, Megan and myself. Luna would not be able to receive an ID until she returns to Germany, but who needs an ID when you have a passport. Then it dawned on me... the wedding. I lost it right there.

I was waiting for a police man to talk to me at the glass window like the ones they have at movie theater ticket offices, and I broke down. Had I travelled all this way to miss seeing my friends get married, and miss seeing all my friends for the last time in a long while, just to not see lava and get my laptop stolen? It was too much! I couldn't take it anymore! Sure all my videos from the trip were gone, and kiss any kind of resolution goodbye on our photos since uploading them to the website cuts the number of pixels per picture, but now my new memories were stolen as well. I will never get to recall the day Corey and John finally tie the knot, a process 10 years in the making, and I will never get to remember hanging out on the Hawaiian sand with some of my closest friends. I will not get to say a proper goodbye to any of them, even though I am only 40 minutes away!!!!! I can't take it!!!!! “Hello? Are you okay? What can I help you with?” a voice said to me as I berried my face in Joe's shirt. Joe started telling the officer what happened, and then I interrupted and spewed out everything that happened and what we needed from him. The tears were gone, I was down to business, and my emotional breakdown was replaced with an emptiness that said my life was forfeit to my surroundings. I surrendered, and fate would take me to wherever it may, it didn't matter to me anymore... nothing mattered to me anymore. I would miss seeing all my friends, and I could no longer care, I had exhausted that emotion. Sorry guys, maybe next time.

The officer had us fill out paperwork that, 20 minutes later, resulted in Megan, Joe and I receiving sheets of paper that explained that we had our identities stolen and that we are who we are, therefore allowing us to travel to Oahu. We couldn't fly out of the country, but I could fly to Oahu where all my friends would be coming for the wedding! My caring emotion was recharged. I cared again, and I think my face turned back to a normal pigment. Now, to the grocery store. Guyer wanted to pick up some beer, chicken, vegetables and whatever we would like. Luna seemed satisfied with beer, and I couldn't agree with her more. I was ready for a drink. But before we could relax we had to make a stop at Guyer's place. You see, we weren't going to stay there because his family was staying there at the moment, so we would stay in a larger house with his friend Josiah and his mom Karen. At Guyer's place we learned that he only rented out the first floor of a 2 story house, and that other college kids rented out the basement and 2nd floor. Guyer's mother came out to the car and hugged Megan, and expressed how sorry she was for what happened, and assured us that Guyer would help us in any way that he could. She wished that she could stay with us longer, but she was flying out the next day and needed to get stuff packed. Luckily Megan was staying an extra few weeks than her parents, so she had time to get a new ID before she flew back. She would stay and visit with her parents, but Guyer would come with us to his friend's house. I felt bad that he wouldn't get to stay with his parent's on their last night in Hawaii, but Josiah didn't like having some strangers stay over without Guyer. And Guyer didn't seem to care, in fact, he seemed happy to be out of his crazy little apartment.

A little drive up the mountain and we reached Josiah's place. It was like a huge barn refinished into a house, but we wouldn't be staying there, we were going to be a little ways away in the spare cabin. We really should have used Guyer's 4 wheel drive to get back to the cabin, but he insisted that this rugged trek wasn't worth turning it on. When we finally got out of the truck I was a little car sick, but that faded away when I heard the river washing over the rocks right outside the cabin. This place would do. It was a little cold, and the cabin was poorly put together, but we would manage. We unpacked our things, had a bit of a snack, and then we drove back up to the house to drink and make some dinner. Before we made it up the stairs we were greeted by Karen, or Maya as she liked to be called. Maya was the illusion of this world, and she changed her name to Maya to remind herself everyday that all of this is illusion, and that our spirit is whats real, and so it was horrible that our valuables were stolen, but that we shouldn't forget that they could not steal what is real, which is our essence, our spirit, our souls. And she was so real, not fake at all, but truly sincere, and we knew that she wasn't just talking out of her ass, and that she was robbed in a similar way a few years back, and again, the police did nothing. She felt our pain, and offered that if the police don't do anything to help us that she would get her friends together and write an article in the paper about how crooked and useless the Hawaiian police are for helping stop crime against non-natives. I was surprised by this after her speech about the material world is not our true nature and things like that. But she told us that while we shouldn't covet our belongings, that doesn't mean that we can let ourselves be walked all over by greedy drug abusers! In essence, she was great, and I really liked her.

Joe made dinner while I worked on Guyer's laptop and Luna took a shower. I got back in contact with both Joe's mom and mine, and we worked out where we could go tomorrow to get a wire transfer. I tried to get a P.O. box to mail our birth certificates to... but you need to display a photo ID to pick up your mail... and we don't have one of those. Then we reversed roles, and I let the water rinse away my pain. When I got out of the bathroom I was greeted with the final touch to feeling a little bit whole again, alcohol and smoking bliss with Joe's good home cooked meal. Sitting there with Guyer, Luna, Joe, Josiah, and Maya felt really comfortable. They were all very laid back and free spirited. We discussed things like philosophy and Maya's art, and then she suggested that we could mail our birth certificates and things to this house. HELLS YEAH! No offense to Guyer, I liked the idea of sending our last chance of getting our identities back to a house with 2 or 3 people, one of them being a mom, then a house with god knows how many college age people who could pick up the mail, and toss it on a table somewhere to be uncovered in 3 months when they move out for summer vacation. *Sigh of relief* Then afterwards Josiah jammed with a couple of his friends who came over. “Whats your names?” they asked over the acoustic new age tub-thumping (did I just loose coolness points with that phrase?) “Rain,” “Luna,” “Joe.” The guys looked at us for a minute, then said “Ahhh, average Joe. You know, they need to keep you around because your name makes their names believable.” Well, Luna's was real enough because I saw it on her German ID, but was my name any less real because I picked it myself? How about Maya who was making beautiful paintings in the garage? I think if they can call her Maya, I can be called Rain. So there people. Justification.

Anyways, after meeting us and hanging out with us for a while Josiah said that we should just stay in the room downstairs. There were 2 large sofa's and one of them was a sofa bed. It would be a lot warmer down there, and we had access to not one, but 2 bathrooms now rather than the 0 bathrooms out at the cabin. So we went back with Guyer to bring our stuff up, and then exhausted mentally and physically... well, mostly mentally... I fell asleep early on the sofa in their basement (basements in Hawaii are actually rooms above ground, but still below the main floor. I guess they don't really have tornados here, and for their natural disasters, you wouldn't want to go below ground, you know, because you'd drown.)

Posted by - Rain 21:56

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I'm glad you're finally writing about this happening. Now you can file it away as lesson learned and continue to go forward.

by laurr

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