Day 19-“Losing my religion” or were we “finding” it?
Warning: Today’s post may upset some people. I have posted pictures of an actual Hawaiian Imu, the oven used to roast pigs for a luau. I will have graphic pictures of the pigs. I will give fair warning towards the end of the post about this, so you can stop reading if you want.
We hung with Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants and Dead War Heroes, today. Who did you hang with?
The day began with the typical “what do you want to do today”? I don’t know, beach walks? eh…museum? no…hanging out at the house? not today. Let’s check some bloggers and find some of those hidden gems. We first went to Unreal Hawaii. Hmmm want to go see a Korean Buddhist Temple? Now that sounds fun. Off we went to Mu-Ryang-Sa Temple hidden in a Palolo Valley.
It was very quiet, a mediation was going on, so our senses were assaulted. The sound of chanting, the smell of incense and the beauty of the colors just enhanced the experience.
We first entered into the Gate of the Four Heavenly Kings, standing guard over the four directions. Their job is to keep out evil influences we find in ourselves. I also read you are to offer them your negativity, which I guess could be the negative influences in us ( I gave them an earful).
The colors and details of the temples and grounds were simply breathtaking.
This was a very peaceful and mindful sanctuary. It was suggested a 3 dollar donation per person and there were collection sites throughout the compound. It was well worth the money, for the quietness and thoughtfulness it allowed us to experience.
Our next stop will always be a repeat visit for us, The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific or The Punchbowl. We go here to give thanks for the men and women who serve, have served and given their lives for our freedoms. Both of our fathers served in World War II. We have friends who are active and retired military personal. It is in a beautiful place full of reverence. For us it is a mediative place, much like the temple.
This is also a marvelous place to receive a history lesson on the Wars we have fought in.
When we first visited in 2010 the path to the lookout was under construction. This time we followed the foot path up to see a marvelous overlook of Honolulu and Diamond Head.
Along the way there were memorial stones placed for different branches of the service for different branches.
At the top is this area:
Then the views opened up and we could see for miles. Stunning sight. While we were here, the tsunami warnings sounded, as a test. The first Wednesday of the month a test is done at 11:45 a.m. It was an eerie feeling.
We highly recommend this spot. For the remembance, views and the history lessons it provides.
We spent about 30 minutes sitting on a bench, reading yelp and deciding where to eat. We ended up at Spero Spera. We were in a Korean neighborhood and felt extremely out of place, but hey go with the flow. We pulled into the parking lot and a woman immediately came out and redirected us to a proper parking space. I will say, we felt a little awkward here, but the menu was simple and the pictures on yelp looked delicious. We were on a “spiritual” quest today, it seemed and to us food can be spiritual, so we ate.
I will say we both believe it was one of the best sandwiches we have ever had. The food was organic and huge portions. We both ate a half sandwich and took the other half home for dinner. The salad had fresh ginger on it.
We made our way back to Haleiwa. The previous sunday we were invited to watch the imu ceremony for the Luau on Saturday at Queen Liliuokalani Protestant Church. We arrived at 3 ish to see the men pounding banana tree segments that would later be used in the imu. We would come back later to see the rest of the roasting process.
As we walked back to our car, I started singing REMs “Losing My Religion” though I changed it to “Finding my Religion”. At the start of the day I thought today’s title would be sacred places, but once I started humming this tune, I knew the post title had changed.
Well, we visited the Buddhists, Protestants, time to go back to our religious roots and see the Catholics. We headed up a farm road to the Benedictine Monastery of Hawaii.
Not much to see here on the grounds. A lovely sister did greet us and gave us a tour of their main building, which included a gift shop (didn’t go in), a conference room and their chapel. She prayed for us, that we would find our way spiritually. I tried to tell her we found our church in the woods, but that didn’t work for her. Told her we made the religious rounds today and the Protestants were holding strong, maybe not the best thing to say. I have a feeling at tonight’s vigil, she will be praying for Mike and Ann. It doesn’t hurt and who knows we could use it.
Not to sound flippant but the drive down was a beautiful experience, perhaps a bit religious. We love this area of Hawaii and could see us ourselves settling here in retirement.
This was a hiking area and was shut down. You have to ask permission and I doubt they really grant it. UGHHHHH.
After this picture STOP if you don’t want to see the pig pictures for the luau. It is graphic. I grew up with neighbors that regularly slaughtered pigs, it doesn’t bother me and I respect the authentic Hawaiian ways.
After that visit, we had to head home for a few minutes. We had to get lunch in the fridge. 45 minutes later we were out the door, back at the Protestant Church. The five pigs were getting dressed to go into the ground, imu. The men placed hot stones into the pigs.
Before the pigs could be placed in the imu, a metal mesh was placed on the coals. Then the mashed banana trunks were placed on the mesh. The banana trunks provided moisture. Some ti leaves were placed in.
The men then brought each table over to the pit and slid the pigs in.
After the ti leafs banana leafs were piled on top.
After that was completed, wet burlap sacks were placed all over.
A green tarp was draped over the pit (missed that photo, talking with a retired Oklahoma Librarian, who has returned home to HI). Finally a white tarp was secured over the imu that ballooned up.
Tomorrow at 7 am. the pigs will be ready to come out of the imu and the meat will be shredded for Saturday’s Luau. We have our tickets and are ready to meet, rather eat the piggies. For 20 dollars you get the real luau experience. If you are on island, come break bread (or rather pork) with us.
Finally we arrived home after a very full day of religion and spirituality. Mother Nature provided us with one last experience, her sunset. Did we lose or find our religion? Maybe just reaffirmed what we believe in…be kind to your fellow human, don’t judge based on race, color or religion and have good intentions in your heart.