Pork and Pali are Recipes for Disaster

Published: Nov. 6, 2007 at 8:58 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 7, 2007 at 7:03 AM HST
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Lopaka Kapanui
Lopaka Kapanui

By Walter Makaula

NUUANU (KHNL) -- We've all heard of those chilling tales of Hawaiian folklore.

And two very specific ones always seemed to make the hair on the back of my neck stand, whenever I heard them.

One, was the hanging victim legend of Morgan's Corner, which according to expert Lopaka Kapanui, was just an urban legend.

But the other, of carrying pork over the Pali, I found, had more than just a little truth behind it.

"You're not supposed to bring pork from the Windward side of the island to the Leeward side because according to our ancient legends, the Windward side of the island belongs to Kamapuaa the pig god, and the leeward side belongs to his ex-girlfriend who he had a tumultuous relationship with and that was Pele," said Lopaka Kapanui, a storyteller.

So the legend goes... a car carrying pork over the Pali would stall, until it was thrown out.

Of course, I had no intention of testing the legend myself. Especially after Kapanui shared this story.

"We were heading back from Morgan's Corner, the bus was coming up through the tunnel, and it began to sputter, began to die out, stop moving at one point. And the bus driver started yelling at people on the bus, you know, Who's got the pork? and he was livid."

Sure enough, it was there and they quickly got rid of it.

"The second I scraped off that last bit of roast pork, the bus started," said Kapanui.

And he says, there were 23 other people on the bus as witnesses.

Now, I was here to do a job, so I put a pork manapua and two pieces of pork hash on the dashboard of our car, and just in case, I had a back up plan.

"We're going to go very slowly up and over the Pali highway," I said.  "We're going to turn around and come back and if anything happens, it's going out the window."

Soon, we were at the old Pali Lookout and now, he wanted me to go outside with him in the dark and walk around with the so-called spirits and Menehune's.

Somehow, the huge flashlight I was carrying, didn't bring me much comfort.

"Walter, I guess the only thing left now is to see which one of us is going to end up screaming like a girl and running away," said Kapanui.

"Well, let's just say, if it's me, that part will be edited out." (Laugh laugh laugh)

While I carried the pork, on a night where the wind was unusually still at the Pali Lookout, Lopaka believed I would somehow be able to feel where the boundary of taking pork over the Pali would lie.

"Oh, it's intensifying," I said.  "OK. I feel it everywhere. OK. We can stop."

Bingo, the spine tingling chicken skin I felt all over, told me I was in the right place.

"So you are actually standing, yes where this invisible line is from the windward to the leeward side," said Kapanui.

"I'm speechless," I said.

And that is where we left the pork.

Lopaka said the mystical Menehune's would come out and eat it when we left.

After we turned away, and started walking back to the car, my curiosity got the best of me, and I quickly turned back around and flipped on my flashlight.

I swear it looked like the two pieces of pork hash were now missing, but there was no way I was going back for a closer look.