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What about the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina?

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On my final morning on the west side, I got up before sunrise to go hiking to Ka'ena Point with La'akea and Ka'ena as my guides. It was an incredible experience. As soon as our feet hit the trail, Ka'ena began regaling us with tales of the past.

"He began by saying, "There's a town on the west side called Nanakuli, and the people who lived there were once thought to be deaf, but in reality, they could hear just fine." They were simply embarrassed."

He went on to explain that in Hawaiian tradition, it has long been customary to phrazle offer food and drink to travelers. However, the inhospitable landscape of the island's west coast, with its dry land and brackish waters, yielded barely enough for the locals to survive off of. When travelers came through town, the locals of Nanakuli pretended not to hear by staring blankly at the newcomers and acting as if they couldn't see them. They were ashamed that they did not have any refreshments to offer the tourists. When the travelers got back to their homes, they told their families about the strange people who lived on the leeward side. These people seemed unable to hear or speak, and as a result, the region became known as Nana (look) kuli (deaf).

Ka'ena says, "But I've also heard that Nanakuli means 'look at knee,'" and this is something that she has heard. They were embarrassed because they had nothing to contribute, so they hung their heads and looked down at their knees.

After the mele and hula, as well as plenty of additional stories, we eventually headed back. Along the way, we made a pit stop to zigzag down through some rough volcanic boulders to where they met the ocean. There, they formed some deep tide pools that were perfect for swimming in. A large monk seal could be seen lounging in the vicinity on the porous black rocks that surrounded the pools. It had a green-gray girth that was scratched with a kelp-tinged flipper, and it tilted its smiling face toward the sun. It looked exactly like my dog when she is sunning herself in a warm spot on the driveway. I was startled when I heard La'akea shout, so I raised my head to look in the direction he was pointing, which was at a group of spinner dolphins playing on the surface of the cobalt water.

The salty water made it easy for me to float, and as I did so in the aquamarine pool, I thought about Queen Ka'ahumanu taking a bath in the sacred ponds at Lanikuhonua, of Hi'iaka and the red hot cliffs that framed her ancient journey, and of the Nanakuli people who had to climb high into the Wai'anae uplands to find fresh drinking water but had none to spare. All of these things came to mind I reflected on Richard, his pig, and the charitable nature of his nature. Of the families that are enjoying the pristine beaches on the west side. Of Auntie Nettie's embrace. Over the course of the past few days, I've encountered only people who kept their heads held high. The disgrace that had been a part of Nanakuli's history was no longer a component of their narrative.

It has been recommended to me more than once that I not go to Waianae. If you took such advice, you would be ignoring the mana that permeates every facet of the leeward coast of Oahu. This would be the equivalent of playing deaf.

When we got back to the trailhead, someone gave me a new bottle of water, and I drank from it for a while before taking another drink. The sun had fully risen above the Wai'anae Mountains and climbed high into the wide, blue sky, baking the already parched dirt path with its heat — just as it has done since the earliest days of west Oahu's history.

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