Monday 8 April 2013

Sugar Museum

Since we arrived on Maui, we have driven past the Sugar Museum about a dozen times, and each time one of us would say “We should make a point of going in there one day.” We had ordered tickets to see James Taylor this Friday and were headed into town to pick them up when we approached the Museum again. I was just about to tell Louise that “We should make a point to go in there sometime.” when she said “Let's go in the museum!”

Well, I want to go too, but I didn't really think we ever would. I knew what it would be like without even knowing anything about it. There would be a tiny parking lot that even with only 15 spots it was always empty. In the surrounding area, old rusty pieces of machinery that had out lived it's usefulness would have grass growing where grass shouldn't grow. It would be so hot outside that you would be hard pressed to take a deep breath and when you did it felt as if you were breathing dust.

We walked up the stairs and opened the door to be greeted by a tiny woman of indeterminate age or nationality. She went into her speech about the museum and just about two thirds the way through I heard the words “Seniors over 60 pay five dollars.” Yes, it was going to be five dollars too much, but it wouldn't be $7.50 too much. She told us to go to our right and that there was a short ten minute video later on to watch. The first sign that I saw was the one that said no cell phones and no cameras. I was crest fallen! I was hoping that there would be some antiques that I could get a picture of and perhaps use it for a few days as the desktop picture on my computer.

You know, I would have thought that the sugar museum would smell a lot like sugar. In fact, I was anticipating that I might have to leave early because of the sickly sweet smell that was a combination of cotton candy and almost made toffee. From the moment I entered, all that I cold smell was human waste. I suspect the little old lady had a bag attached or was wearing Depends, but my nostrils closed of their own volition and I was breathing through my mouth. I'm sure I was imagining the smell, but sometimes imagination can be just as real as real is real.

The museum and exhibits were quite interesting. Not five bucks interesting, but interesting. I guess that I am spoiled with Google, being able to research anything I want at a moments notice. The pictures and video were eye opening, and once again I thank whatever God there is that I was born in this day and age, and not 100 years ago. I am not someone that will gladly work myself to death without complaining as those people did. I always wonder just how shitty their lives must have been before to decide that this is a better option. They did hard labour in this heat and had to be covered up to protect themselves from the chaff. This for about a buck a day. They would have had to work for a week and a bit just to get into this museum, unless they were over sixty. I have the feeling that not too many of them made it past sixty.

We read all of the captions under all of the pictures and even watched the ten minute movie. Louise (rebel that she is) managed to take a picture of an interesting stove that the workers would use. I should have taken some pictures, after all, I think I could take shit lady in a fair fight. We met another volunteer on the way out, an older man (maybe he was the one that smelled like shit) who was very Hawaiian looking. I figured that he might have retired from a hard life in the cane fields, but it turned out he was just some retired insurance guy from Michigan doing volunteer work.

We chatted a bit and then as we went out the door, Shit lady called us back to give us some complimentary sugar in a bag. We got a bag each and I don't think I will ever use it. It cost us $10 for two tiny packets of sugar and I don't know who filled these tiny baggies but I do know that I didn't see any latex gloves around and the place still had that smell to it.

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