NOTICE: Posting schedule is irregular. I hope to get back to a regular schedule as the day-job allows.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The world turned on edge...

This is the second of the "special" off-topic travelogue posts from my vacation. 

Several decades ago I read Robert Silverberg's "Lord Valentines Castle" and was struck by the imagery of a mountain so vast it stuck up out of the atmosphere.  Likewise Niven's "Ringworld" painted a word-picture of landscape curving up and over, to vertiginous effect.  I don't know if either author spent time in Hawaii, but I now know the nearest we can come to the experience.  Sure, thanks to the "Halo" games, we have artists' concepts, but on the island of Maui, the shield volcano Haleakala rises so gently out of the landscape, that it appears to simply be level ground that has been turned on edge.  I've felt this feeling a few times before, in countryside where the locals build and use the slopes as if they were level ground.  The feeling of vertigo - as if the slope is level and *you* are at an angle, can be especially acute.  On Haleakala, one can just imagine a massive mountain that rises above all, and pilgrims journey years to reach the summit.

On another part of the journey...

Maui has a famous highway, 50-ish miles long, with hundreds of curves, one-lane bridges, countless waterfalls and scenic views, it is considered one of the most lush, beautiful drives on earth... and on any given day, it seems as if the whole earth is driving that same road.  On the opposite end of Maui is another road, just as curvy, half as long, and with *way* less traffic.  While not as lush, it contains some of the most beautiful stark views of the ocean and rugged West Maui coastline.  Well worth the journey, either one, but I know which I prefer.  Sorry, Hana. 

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