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July 5, 2010 - Ka`anapali, Part 2

As I mentioned last week, the Hyatt Regency is filled with Asian art. Everywhere you turn is something new. This piece hangs on a wall near the luau grounds. I looked for but could not find a plaque telling the story behind this piece. I kept thinking I would find a docent to guide me through the hotel instead of a bellman.

Here is one of the "18 Lohan Disciples of Buddha", a Chinese creation. The 18 Lohans are figurines who are found in temples and Buddhist monasteries. They have attained 'Nirvana' (spiritual fulfillment) and have no rebirth. There is no definite picture of the 18 Lohans. They vary from one Buddhist nation to other and depend upon the time it was created.

And yes, there were 18 figures — each in a different pose.

The next grouping was labeled "Wooden Temple Toy King of Thon Buri". Thon Buri was, at one time, the capital of Thailand.

Even though these two photos look very similar, they are definitely different pieces. They remind me of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China.

These figures and the porcelain figures above must be quite valuable — in addition to being locked behind glass, there were broken-glass sensors clearly visible. Less visible security devices were probably also on guard — and likely a security guard was tracking me to make sure all I wanted to take were photographs.

In addition to ancient Asian art was an ancient Hawai`ian artifact — a dugout canoe. It is quite impressive how the ancient ones were able to exploit the natural environment in order to survive.

The trees used for these canoes grew high up in the mountains and were felled by cutting the bark around the base repeatedly until the tree died and could then be more easily cut down. They would do the rough cut with stone adzes on-site then slide the canoe downhill to the shoreline where the final shaping was done — and other parts attached.

Again there was no plaque describing this canoe but it looks like one from the south Pacific — New Zealand or Malaysia, perhaps. But look at that fearsome face on the bow — that would scare any adversary.

Because of the open atrium, there are many plants growing within the hotel — such as these pineapples, a tribute to the plantation era of Hawai`i's history.

The diversity of the flora is astounding — here a water lily flower contrasts with the lily pads.

The fauna is equally diverse — in addition to the flamingos and swans that I shared last week, the Hyatt exhibits several Macaws. It is interesting that most of the tourists have been trained to speak to the birds saying "Polly want a cracker". It seems the bird disdain such childish conversation.

One surprise is the small colony of penguins. You normally expect penguins in Antarctica — but here they are on Maui. Maybe they won the trip from their local smooth jazz radio station.

As I was about to exit the central building of the hotel, I spotted this unusual bird. Again, no plaque so I do not know what it is. But what a great head of hair, er feathers.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com