Written on the plane back from Hawai’i. Warning: long with run-on sentences!
Short and sweet Hawai’i vacation is over, and we’re hurtling through the air heading back to our cat, gerbil, and other responsibilities. First day we spent at the beach near our hotel, then dinner at a military restaurant where they almost didn’t let us in. Amelia was jet-lagged and slept through dinner.
The next day we spent the morning at the pool, which featured water slides and hot-tubs. Amelia is almost swimming without her floaties, and had a blast. I also attended a yoga class that morning – outside on a wet lawn as the sun came up. Later in the day we went to Kailua Beach, which was lovely. Amelia dug in the sand while her dad did a handstand in the water. My dad and Chris (step-mom) sitting in beach chairs watching the waves. Water so blue and sand so white and powdery, then our time cut short by the need to be on-time for our dinner reservation. Fancier than we were prepared for, Joel searching for suitable attire. It was decided that we don’t actually care, and off we went to Roy’s where it was someone’s job to slip cloth napkins on our laps as inconspicuously as possible. This was also where I had the best fish in my life, (not hard since I’ve been vegetarian most of my life,) so soft and buttery it was called butterfish, though I think it was actually cod. This time Amelia lasted through dinner but was unrousable by dessert, even for ice-cream with sprinkles and a cherry on top. She ate a few sprinkles in her sleep. Too far to carry her back so we got a taxi.
The next day was Thanksgivvakah and more time was spent at the pool and waterslides. I took a hula lesson, during which I was taught the same dance I learned two years ago at a Luau on the Big Island. We left about mid-day for Hanauma Bay, and disappointment set in that nine minutes would be wasted watching a cautionary video telling us not to step on any coral. But a good time was had despite delays and the early onset of shade – my Dad and Joel snorkeled a bit and Amelia and I splashed about in the silky water as Chris relaxed. The natural beauty plus sightings of mongeese (weasel-like animals) overwhelmed the touristy feel. Again we rushed off to dinner at the Side Street Inn, this time for our special hybrid holiday. It was made all the more hybrid by the Asian nature of the restaurant, so we had fried rice and ahi alongside turkey and sweet potatoes (no turkey for me.) The lack of latkes was noted, if only by one somewhat Jewish young-looking mother. Amelia stayed awake this time, mostly due to her Hanukkah present: a Nintendo 2DS. That evening I watched “Argo” with my Dad despite my exhaustion – a great movie, somewhat disturbing but satisfying. Apparently most people have seen it (I hadn’t even heard of it), except those of us who have spent the last several years splitting our attention between being a parent and attempting to launch an artistic career.
Too tired the next morning for Tai Chi class, but Joel attended while we slept and he seemed to enjoy it, reporting how other guests walking by would shush each-other in reaction to the slow-moving martial art. A change from his usual whip-like motions (Kung Fu) that produce swollen thumbs and bruised forearms. After Joel’s return and our consumption of my Dad’s famous veggie scrambles for breakfast, the rest of the morning was sadly taken up by preparations for Dad and Chris’s departure and our relocation to a much less accommodating hotel. After dropping off the parents at the airport and landing in a stuffy hotel with muddled parking, we ventured out to the rainforest for a quick hike to Manoa falls. Perhaps my favorite part of our trip, our hike gave us a different flavor of the island than the beaches and touristy areas: a wild, root-spreading heat that rose from the pungent earth and inspired us to climb and run along its moist underbelly. A much more satisfying activity than clambering over strangers at a mall, as many are want to do on “Black Friday.” Meditating on themes of how abundance turns into excess, and when does simplicity become scarcity?
Upon returning from our hike we met up with Susan, a friend and former student, and her partner Rose, and gave them sweaty hugs. Delightful Portland transplants, we spoke of their wedding plans, Vipassana meditation, and singing as we ate another delicious dinner at a Japanese restaurant. This authentic restaurant boasted wasabi and sea-salt fries and many different flavors of tofu. Joel had nigori sake for the 3rd night in a row, and we all joined him (except for Amelia, who had about one-third of her Japanese rice-milk drink.) Amelia noted the artistic blue ice-receptacle in the sake caraffe. The sweet couple then took us out for ice-cream at a cute place called Bubbies that reminded me of Mariane’s in Santa Cruz. We parted ways with more hugs and promises to reconnect in the future when they visit P-town, and when we visit my Dad who potentially plans to retire on the island. And so concluded our last full day on O’ahu, with another present and candle-lighting upon returning to our cramped hotel room.
This morning I stuck my toes in the Pacific Ocean for the last time in the foresee-able future, and walked through our old hotel outdoor complex, gazing at the extravagance. The warm-weather African penguins I noted, and they were a hit with Amelia a few days prior, along with the little sea turtles, koi, and especially ducklings. And so, with nostalgia, we said Aloha to the island, but with a promise to return someday. And now we are heading back to what the captain called a “beautiful day in Portland:” 46 degrees, rainy and windy weather. But we are looking forward to seeing our cat and launching into a busy holiday season of musical performances and some lessons, hopefully new students, and then more traveling later in the month. Grateful for the warmth we will carry with us!