FishDreamer scribbles: It ain't over yet.

Friday, 16 April 2004

Aloha

I have so many things I want to write that I don't know where to start. And my fingers are consistently missing the keys, ike my left hand is tight or something. Bugger. In no certain order (certainly not chronological), I will type things up until either I run out of things to say, or I get distracted by something else.

Return to the Big City
We got back from the big Aloha vacation Wednesday morning, after a hell of a flight with two blowsy, drunk floozies seated in front of us. Woo. Actually, they were located in a different section of the plane when we left Los Angeles, but the flight from Honolulu to there was unpleasant enough that Mr D and I exchanged cranky glances when we realized they were on our second flight as well. Them and a few other people.

Anyway, we managed to get home and stay up until 7 p.m., at which point the darkness descended and I remember no more except waking up briefly every two hours from midnight on. And snuggling cats, who were very happy to have us home. We got up and got into work at the usual time on Thursday. Since I hadn't made it to the store the night before, I had no food for breakfast. I went across the street to get coffee, and then across the other street to get a toasted whole wheat bagel with honey walnut cream cheese (mmmmm). While I waited, I saw a few other people come in and get their usual morning repast - toasted english muffin with peanut butter, plus banana and some juice, and another woman with just the banana and juice. For some reason, watching these people go about something that was clearly routine for them, I was struck once again by the fact that I work in a city. It's not a huge city, but it is definitely a city.

Downtown Seattle is bigger than downtown Honolulu, and the atmosphere (at least in the section where I work) is less laid back. Honolulu isn't a touristy part of the island at all, but people still wear muumuus and aloha shirts, and sandals. Seattle is urban, finally. I noticed the beginnings of it about ten years ago when I attended a seminar at one of the downtown hotels, and all of a sudden the people around me were dressed in urban hip clothes like I'd last seen in Boston. I'm sure part of that has always been here, but my last regular stint of working in downtown Seattle ended in 1991 and it was definitely different then.

I somehow like that I work in a city. It makes me feel a teeny bit more grown up and sophisticated, I guess, even though I am not one of the hip urban scenesters I see around. But there I was, getting my usual order from my usual places in the small establishments that feed the workers. All these breakfast and lunch places are on the ground floor of the tall buildings, and most of them close after the worker bees go home. So I'm part of it, even if I don't always feel like it.

Trip Stuff
It was good, we went to the beach almost every day and didn't get sunburnt until the day we left. The weather changed that last day; it was hotter and less cloudy than it had been. And it was our last chance at the beach I went to when I was little, I think we both wanted to stay longer since it will likely be years before we can go back. (This was another piece of unpleasantness on the flight home, although it really wasn't as bad as it could have been, just uncomfortable.)

Mr D went golfing with my dad twice, and Dad was mentally planning another trip out for the day after we left until he realized we wouldn't be there. A week was not long enough, although with my mom falling into stressed trip mode herself the day before we left, it was kind of difficult. And the men argued politics a bit more than I was comfortable with, but I tried hard to keep out of it. I think Mr D should be more polite and less ready to argue, but then my dad is not exactly shy with his opinions either so how can I expect my darling husband not to answer for himself? I can't, it just makes me uncomfortable.

The parents are also getting up there in years, which is distressing. I love my parents a whole lot, and I don't want to think about the day when they aren't here anymore. I know it will come, but I am not ready to think about it. But the physical complaints are increasing, particularly for Dad. Sob.

We went shopping at the Aloha Tower Marketplace and had much fun, plus Kalua Pork nachos and I had some Aloha beer. It was fun. I had a hard time, a bit, because it's all the same and yet different for me but it's all new and very strange to Mr D. We moved to Hawaii when I was five, and a lot of my unthinking underlying assumptions (food taste, for example) comes from them. I love Asian food. Thai, Japanese, Chinese (north or south), Korean, Vietnamese, whatever. I did not manage to consume a manapua (baked charsiu bun) or any sushi. I got Chinese food twice, both times with my mom. No plate lunch. Mr D, in the face of the unknown and strange, wanted familiar things. I really can't blame him, but I got a little frustrated.

This is the first time that I know of where we've gone somewhere that he's never been and I have. I have never seen him face new things that are familiar to me before. It was weird. I didn't know how to handle it any more than he did. I'm hoping next time it will be a little easier.

The first day, we went to Valley of the Temples. It's a cemetary and Buddhist temple, which is a replica of the Byodo-in Temple in Japan. I've always loved that place, since I was little, and it meant a whole lot to me that he did too. We bought a print of the site for him, and I came up with the brilliant idea of getting one for his mom for Christmas too (she is so hard to buy for!). I got a print of a watercolor someone did of the view at Bellows, my favorite beach in the world. We went and honored the Buddha, and took lots of pictures, and were ready to go just as the tour bus of Australians and Germans pulled up. Timing!

The night after that, we got a cabin at Bellows. Mom and Dad came for dinner (actually, Dad cooked it) and then left for church (it being Maundy Thursday, the day Jesus cleaned the Apostles' feet and I think the last supper and what not. Or was that part Friday?). Mr D and I spent the night out there, which was wonderful to wake up to beach but there was a storm and I slept very poorly. Woke up to rain hissing sideways through the windows (those glass slatted ones). It cleared up enough for us to go down to the beach later and get some boogie boarding in, and then we had to check out and go home.

Bellows beach is tied up in a lot of my childhood memories. It's an Air Force base, and has always had cabins for military people to rent. We used to camp there when I was little, and we stayed in the cabins a few times. It's at Bellows that I got bit by a centipede on my right hand. Bellows is where I learned to body surf, and where I first found the delight of playing in the shallow part of the waves and building sand castles. Some of those memories belong to the beach in Kailua bay, too, but a lot of the ones that involve both my parents are from Bellows. (Mom took us to Kailua during the day, Dad took us all to Bellows on weekends and evenings.) It was at Bellows that Dad and I shared the good bottle of champagne my cousin got us for our combined graduation/anniversary celebration.

I have a lot of happy and nostalgic memories of Bellows, acquired over the years, and it meant a lot to share that with my husband. I asked him at some point over the week if visiting Hawaii helped him understand me more, and he said it did. I'm not sure exactly what it means, but since visiting Iowa helped me understand him more even though he lived there about the same amount as I lived in Hawaii, I was glad to know.

So, the only other really exciting thing we did was visit Hanauma Bay. The one thing Mr D wanted to do was snorkel, and that is the place to go. It's changed a bit since I was a kid, when you just parked wherever and made your way down the hill. Now there's a visitor center, and you pay $5 each to enter, and they make you watch a short movie about the bay and the reefs and how to preserve it all before they let you down. Dad came with us to sit on the beach and read while we snorkeled. We got up at 6 and had our coffee and went. We were down on the beach by 7:15, and Mr D and I were out in the water for an hour and a half. As we left, there were crowds and crowds waiting to get in and the parking lot was full, at 9 a.m.

It was completely worth it. We saw tons of beautiful fishies, and even a honu (Hawaiian for turtle) swimming around. The fins were completely wrong and I still have scabs on my feet from the raw spots I got, but I completely don't care. It was low tide at 6 that morning, which means it was nearly impossible to get over the reefs (we weren't supposed to touch them, and the one time I tried to get over I was afraid I was going to hit a sea urchin, which didn't help). We went around to the left side of the bay where I've never been before, and had just a wonderful time.

We stopped at the gift shop at the top on our way out and he bought a print of the bay, so now we have three Hawaiian prints to frame for our walls. This makes me very happy, to have pieces of my childhood that Mr D picked out for our home. It was hard to tell if he liked it there or not sometimes, but he liked it enough to pick up memories and we're planning to go back someday so I guess he did. And I got to share something of myself with him, which was sweet.

Other than that, we ate good food and watched some television (I saw Alias for the first time and liked it) and he saw maybe a third of the island. We didn't get to Hale iwa or Pearl Harbor or the swap meet. We didn't even get to see Chinaman's Hat. But that's okay, because we had a good time and relaxed, and I read some books and felt good.

And now I'm home and if anyone read this far, kudos to you. One long post, yeah? (Hawaiian style, man. I actually found myself slipping into the speech patterns by the end of the week, although I haven't spoken the pidgin since I was 10 and the last time I spent any significant time there was 1987.) I'm going to head off and read my book now. Have a great weekend!

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