Memorial Day Pow Wow

Yesterday we visited our big island brothers to the east, Hilo. This weekend was the Inter-Tribal Pow Wow, a three day celebration of native americans (I suppose that would include native hawaiians and it appeared to also include veterans of any ethnic background). I think they must have flown these people in from the mainland because I havent seen many native americans on the island (and for once I cant blame it on the reservations) and one of the girls in full garb was holding a small coconut and said to her friends "this must be a baby pineapple."

I was all jazzed for the pow wow because when I was growing up in the northwest, native american cultural education was part of our mandated school curriculum. I was also a Campfire girl, which is rooted in native american tradition. In addition to that my parents took us to the reservations when we were small and I always thought it was fun and fascinating!

Hawaii should stick to what it does best, ho'ikes and hula shows. This pow wow was more like the annual gathering of the extras from Waterworld. All the people that we see flying signs (common in Portland but not common at all here) and hitchhiking on the highway seemed to flock to the riverside park in Hilo for a little peyote and drum circling.

This colorful couple, whom I will call Feather Nose Guy and Dreadlocks Tattoo Girl, and their band of wacky friends were sitting in front of us when they werent participating in the Inter Tribal throw down. The innocent looking Japanese couple sitting with them approached only moments before and the conversation I heard went like this:

Feather Nose Guy: "Nihongo ga wakarimasu ka?"
girl said something back
FNG: "hajimemashite...hajimemashite."
girl or guy said something (FNG had an extraordinarily loud voice which is why I could only hear him)
FNG: "you wanna smoke?"

And they proceeded to take out their "peace pipe" made from a huge bamboo shoot, of course, and get baked. Maybe they are members of this congregation in Downtown Hilo.

So the Pow Wow was disappointing, although the music was cool and it made for a nice afternoon picnic.

After that, we decided to walk around Hilo for awhile. Hilo reminds me of Thailand. Everything is a little older, nothing is what it says on the building (if its the "Hilo Steel Mill" then its actually a real estate office, a t-shirt printer and a dance studio), the pace of life is relaxed, its wet-hot climate makes me yearn for a small washcloth, and its fairly clear they arent spending their tax dollars on cleaning.

The day was officially resurrected when we stopped in the Hilo Sugar Shack and enjoyed "Da Works". This shave ice (or ice shave as they say on Big Island) was so freakin tasty and a perfect treat for such a muggy, hot day! It is shaved ice flavored with mango and coconut, hidden in the middle is a delicious surprise of ube ice cream and azuki beans, topped off with a generous helping of condensed cream! Onolicious.

1 comment:

  1. So funny!! So, how did you get to Hilo? Ferry?

    That shaved ice (or shave ice, as the Hawaiians say) looks so good! I don't like the azuki beans though. You can eat that part.