The Road to Hana is a 7 hour, 70-so mile drive along a single lane road that winds up and down mountains, across single lane bridges, and sharp curves that offer absolutely no visibility of the oncoming traffic--one must stop their car and honk their horn to make sure no one else is coming. The "road" to Hana is road in name only: barely paved, barley a car-width wide, carved out of the mountain with the mountainside rock inches from your right side and dropoffs to the ocean inches from your left. And potholes that would make a D.C. resident feel at home. When you rent a car in town, the rental agreements are little more than pieces of paper that say you swear you damn well won't take their car on this road and will suffer exorbitant fines if caught, say, with a flat tire on the Highway.
There are hippie communes along the way, each selling their organically grown fruits and crafts and whatnot. While we were stopped at one of them, a hippie informed us that since they are 4 hours from the nearest town, they do not get trash pickup service. I overheard another one of the hippies complaining to the other that the guy who promised to stop by and ask what she needed from town didn't stop, but rather slowed down and catcalled at her as he sped by, leaving her without cigarettes or vegetables for that night's dinner.
About halfway to Hana, Dale and I saw a sign on the side of the road for The Garden of Eden. We weren't sure what to expect, but they advertised that they had restrooms, so we drove in. We got to the main gate and were approached by a guy who looked shockingly like Smokey from The Big Lebowski. He greeted us, began explaining how they were the only drive-thru arboretum on the island and that we could get out of our cars and spend as much time as we liked walking along the paths and looking at their collection of plants and flowers from every continent. At the end of the path, he said, we could see a live show with their parrots and even have our pictures taken with them. He gently suggested that the usual donation was $5 per person. Dale winced in hesitation, and he then offered to let us in for $5 for the car. We give him the five bucks, and he begins handing us maps and pamphlets pointing out where certain photo spots are, where the restrooms were located, and where we could feed the birds.
"Oh," he hazily remembers, "and here's a picture of Snoop Doggy Dogg that he took with our parrots the last time he was here," and handed us wallet-sized copies of the picture above. The words had barley registered in our minds when we looked down to see this photographic gem he has so graciously given us.
That's right folks, that's Snoop up there, stoned out of his gourd with five live parrots perched on his shoulders and head. The two of us burst into laughter, doubling over on ourselves, which for some reason was not the reaction Smokey expected, who stepped back from the Jeep with a quickness I didn't think he could muster. I reached into my pocket and pulled out another five. "This is worth the price of admission alone!" I squealed as I handed him the money. Smokey looked so touched, almost as if we had actually paid him extra. $5 for this picture *and* a toilet, bird feedings, pastoral settings, flowers, and an overview of a huge waterfall. Somehow I feel like he got the short end of that stick.