More amazing vegetation...What's a Monkey Pod?.. A village visit in the rain...The magic of Life..

The massive short trunked Monkey Pod tree we found in the village of Wailuku on Saturday. 
Yesterday, we took off at 10:00 am for Costco to return the floor model laptop Tom purchased in Boston on September 15th.  Costco offers a 90 day no-questions-asked return on all digital equipment enabling him to purchase a new preferred Acer model online, transfer his files and finally be done with the problematic floor model. 

With the new laptop data transfer completed and assured he'd taken everything off the old one that he needed, we were ready to return the older one.  True to their commitment, Costco handed us the cash for the return in a matter of minute, indeed with no questions asked.

With our RFID wallets (security enabled) there isn't a lot of room for that much cash.  For safekeeping, we purchased a gift card for $500 which we'll use toward the purchase of food and supplies for our upcoming family gathering next month.  The gift card (now in a secure spot) won't put a dent in it, but we decided its better than carrying cash.

Pretty scene from Wailuku in the rain.
After Costco, we headed the few short blocks to the airport to sign a new contract for the rental car.  The 30 days was up and renewing can't be done over the phone for more than a few days, as we've learned from past experience. 

Luckily, we were able to get the same excellent online rate, prorated for the remaining 15 days.  At $725 for 30 days, we were content with the total $1100 for the six weeks in Maui.  We'd expected it would be considerably higher in Hawaii.  Booking cars online makes all the difference in the world on pricing (as opposed to booking from vendor's website).

Another tree in Wailuku that had a variety of plants growing in the "Y" of these branches.
We'd hoped to explore Maui on the return drive but, as it seem to be the case each time we attempt to explore, it was raining in buckets.  Determined to get a few decent photos, we decided to follow another path and check out Wailuku, the city for the mailing address where we're now living, although several miles from our condo.

I didn't hesitate getting out of the car in the rain to take some shots. What's a little rain water?  As it turned out, the most exciting find of the day was the huge Monkey Pod tree as shown in these photos with Tom getting the car in a perfect position enabling me to get out of the car with unobstructed views of the enormous tree.
Monkey Pod tree's actual pods. (Not our photo).
Tom is great when I'm trying to take photos, maneuvering the car to the most advantageous spot, driving around blocks retracing our steps in order to avoid missing a possible subject we'd past and couldn't stop to capture.  Its a perfect pairing to say the least.

As the rain escalated, it only made sense to find our way home.  Its hard to get lost in Maui.  Its merely a matter of finding the sea with major highways that follow the coastline to some degree or another.
Could this Bird of Paradise look more like a bird?
Once we were back home to find the sun shining we put on our swimsuits to head to the pool.  Sun in one area and not another is not unusual in the Hawaiian Islands - raining in one area  of an island and not the other; raining when the sun is shining, both frequent occurrences in Hawaii.

As we welcomed the warmth of the sun, we came to a mutual observation.  We are not only drawn to wildlife but, we are almost equally mesmerized by vegetation in any form; a tree, a flower, a plant. 

Ah, we still get our "animal fix"  in Hawaii including this free range chicken in Wailuku.
Vegetation in any form has a life cycle that is often mysterious and profound.  In our travels we've strived to gain a knowledge and admiration of vegetation with the same passion we glean from all forms of life. 

Sure, a tree may not have a brain with an endearing personality and behavior patterns us humans find appealing.  Instead, they have a unique life cycle that we are free to enjoy at varying stages, as they cross our path.

We discussed the Milo tree we'd shared in yesterday's post and now the equally interesting Monkey Pod tree that we happened to encounter in the rain, a tree that also has its own unique story to tell as illustrated in today's photos and links.

Link to documentation of the University of Hawaii's report on the Monkey Pod tree.

Monkey Pod tree flower which only blooms for one day, later becoming the shown pods with a green bean-like structure. (Not our photo).
Based on this article, the Monkey Pod tree is now banned from new plantings in Honolulu due to its massive structure which can reach over 60 feet tall and 100 feet wide, obstructing and destroying everything in its path.  Luckily, many of these gorgeous trees still stand on the various islands of Hawaii. 

We expect, with the people of Hawaii's reverence and regard for their surroundings, the Monkey Pod tree will remain as a legacy for its citizens.

We drove down a dirt road to get this rainy photo of the hills near Wailuku.
Ten minutes later, the sky clouded over and heavy rain began to fall.  We hurriedly headed back inside, by no means disappointed, especially when we consider that the rain provides much needed moisture for the exquisite vegetation surrounding us.

Hawaii is no Masai Mara or Marloth Park with wildlife all around us, although hopefully soon, the whales will arrive in the islands, a treasure for our viewing. Having seen the sea turtles now on several occasions, we're hopeful to soon see the whales. 

In the interim, we continue to find joy and fulfillment in our love and appreciation of the "Life" surrounding us, in whatever form it may be, wherever we may be.

Photo from one year ago today, November 16, 2013:

A year ago we wrote about the size of Africa as compared to other continents and countries.  As shown, its huge comparatively.  For details of that story, please click here.


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