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IAmZamzam
10-28-2009, 10:51 PM
Yesterday, my father, my mother, my brother, and I finally arrived in Honolulu after a whole day of travel which took us countless thousands of miles in total, most of which seemed to be through the halls of the Atlanta airport. Upon looking from my thirdhand, mid-aisle-seat perspective out the window of the plane as we landed in Honolulu the first thing that struck me was that this was the first time I could remember ever descending upon any city in any airplane where my first observation was not how many more swimming pools are owned by the common suburbanite than one would think from living down there at ground level. Have you ever noticed that? Whenever you’re descending upon any American city and you look down you see a landscape positively dotted with aquamarine blots and you maybe wonder how the economy can really be in such a state as it’s supposed to be in. Or at least that’s how it is for me. I’m weird that way. I’m weird in a lot of ways.

My second observation came to the forefront of my mind a little more gradually--or rather I should say, I came to understand how to mentally comprehend or articulate it with a little plodding. I’m still not sure if I know how to put it, but I guess you could say that it was not so much that the place looked just a little exotic to me yet still modern as it was that it was the first place I can remember offhand traveling to which--just to make my nonliteral best attempt at verbalizing a rather elusive thought--was plainly modern yet did not make a point of being modern, visually, from a distance, the way that I had not previously noticed mainland American territorial settlements to do. (When we drove through the city later we found the design of the buildings on the whole to prove the distant glimpse I’m talking about rather deceptive but I’ll get to that.)

I finally got off a plane I’d been on for over ten hours--the second plane I’d been on that day--only to scurry quite a distance (at least for someone who had been spent a great deal of the past day standing around airports and landed airplanes and trudging through endless airport distances, all while very sleep-deprived to begin with) to the nearest available men’s room at the Honolulu airport on our way to the luggage pick-up (not very near at all) and find it “CLOSED”. Then the luggage machine kept breaking down.

My chagrin was coupled oddly with aesthetic awe when I stepped outside and found that the architecture and landscaping of the very airport of this famously scenic world landmark was truly a thing of some kind of beauty. I found myself conflicted between wishing I could stay there longer to drink in the sights more eidetically and/or emotionally and just hoping we could all get to that bus to take us to the airport’s adjacent Hertz rental place quickly enough so that we could finally rest, let alone get to the resort.

On our drive to the hotel we engaged in the most time-honored, perennial and universal tradition of tourists. (Well, the second most, I suppose. They were probably right on Pinky and the Brain when they said that the first most worldwide is talking very loudly and slowly to the natives when they speak other languages as though everyone but you was stupid and deaf.) I mean, of course, that we argued, bickered, and yelped at each other over the directions and screamed corrections and vituperations at every perceived dumb, dangerous, or diverting move the designated driver among us made. To be sure, you can blame it partly on the Honolulu freeway system, which seems to have been designed by whoever built the same mad death trap of a steep, insanely cramped serpentine elevated freeway system that the innovators ended up installing around the stubborn title characters in Dr. Seuss’s story “The Zax”.

Once we were off the freeways and I was no longer half-seriously thinking to myself in a sort of drolling internal sigh of the spirit that the worst that could happen is that my last sight would be the gorgeous misty mountain view that the freeways provided, I was given quite a shock at the sight of downtown. Practically every building we saw, including the usual casual-restaurant/corner laundry-type place, had true artistry in its architecture. It was as though a panel of slightly impressionistic futurist painters was selected to be the city planners and architects of the town.

It is one thing to remember the name of the tower you’re staying in when you’re at the Honolulu Hilton; it’s another thing altogether to stay easily oriented and actually find the building, especially when you’re wandering at night, on your first night, through the gigantic, village-like complex that is the resort. My brother and I are staying in one room in one of the Hilton’s many buildings and our parents in a separate room. Sleep-deprived though I was last night after having had such an exhausting day following no sleep the night before and little enough sleep the night before that, and in near-excruciating pain though my brother was after having to do so much walking during the day when he’s recently suffered sundry and, I hear, quite unpleasant injuries to his leg during a soccer match, we both figured that since we were in Hawaii, there was no point in wasting a single night not experiencing at least some of the experiences there are to experience, you might say, so we went out anyway, blast it, to wander the wonders of this campus of a resort and get some dinner in one of its many restaurants while we were at it.

I’ve never had a single experience of juxtapositions of places quite like the briefest of nighttime strolls through the Hilton’s mostly outdoor Rainbow Bazaar. It seemed to me like walking through a zoo that turns into a tribal, ceremonial re-enactment grounds or luau-holding place (we intend to attend at least one luaus while we’re here, God willing--stay posted for future activities, same Bat time, same Bat channel), and then immediately turns into a redneck sports bar or a Hard Rock café, then into an exotic getaway beach landscape. My brother and I took the stroll down to that bar/restaurant, The Rainbow Bar & Grille. On the way we couldn’t help but note the “CAUTION: EXTREMELY HOT” signs near the gigantic frickin’ torches.

Though I was the one who was hungry when we left our room my appetite had somehow depleted (probably from the sleep deprivation more than the walk) by the time we sat down at the bar so I just had a non-alcoholic exotic beverage whose name I can’t quite remember--it was a DIVINE drink consisting of something like a mango/papaya/seltzer concoction with a hint of lime--and after brief conversation and a quick thanks for covering the steep bill for both of us, I left my brother to complete his no doubt to him wonderful combination of exotic dinner, hard liquor, and flat-screen, big-screen sports broadcast, and went over to the beach, which had beckoned me with its perfect twilight vision. Even though I was wearing jeans and sneakers I could not help but wander down the white sand. At first I thought to walk out only as far as I dared in these shoes but then I thought, well, why not walk out all the way and touch the water? And then I thought, well, why not let the water touch me instead? I realized that for the first time in my life I was getting the chance to be caressed by the Pacific at its most pacific halfway across a whole hemisphere’s length from the place where I live. So being careful not to get my soles too sandy, I walked out, measuring my steps, keeping just enough distance, and stepping back once or twice when necessary, and let the tide come and and juuuuuust brush me. I don’t know, maybe it’s one of those things where you’d have to have been there. Maybe it sounds beautiful, maybe it sounds silly. I don’t even care. I liked doing it.

After my brother came back last night he and I had approximately the 4,389,392,511th big fight of our life, and this time even though he’s already starting to break our agreement to do the wise thing and really not talk to each other anymore this time except if absolutely necessary for some mundane and specific reason, I’m not going to cave. It’s best for both of us. I finally slept and woke this morning before him and wandered the complex again alone. I bought from a coffee shop here a muffin, a bottled Odwala smoothie (they’re not bad--I’m guessing it’s probably a big brand here, and maybe sold everywhere a tourist goes, Odwala is to Oahu as Orangina is to Washington, D.C., but just a wild guess), and a hazelnut Italian soda. (If you’re going to have dessert at breakfast, it should be on an island paradise.) I didn’t think a short walking distance was any excuse to waste a chance to eat breakfast by the early morning light on the shores of Oahu, so I walked down there, sat on a stone, and ate, feeding half of the muffin to the exotic-looking local birds, who are quite friendly to the tourists here. I suppose that they know what beach to live on if they want to have it made, just like the humans here. I wandered some more, bought some exotic drinks from a local “ABC” store. (I’m having a glass of “Hawaii’s Dairy” brand “Pass-O-Guava Nectar”, a local brand of passion fruit/orange/guava blend as I write this.)

I ate little because I correctly guessed that my mother would contact us soon after I got back to the room and suggest that we eat breakfast with her elsewhere and roam and discover even more. I had a bagel and guava juice with them as we ate at a NewYork style deli here. We walked around a mini-Chinatown filled with shops of sundry sorts, cultural and otherwise, and more zoo places where animals of various kinds are on display, often even with those little plates like they have in zoos telling you information and even the name of the species with the official scientific Latin name in parentheses below. Really, the whole place is like a mutant hybrid of island resort, EPCOT center, and zoo. My father joined us at breakfast between two psychiatric meetings he has this morning. To the best of my knowledge, he’s off to the second and my brother and mother are still wandering the grounds getting the lay of the land. My mom said she hasn’t walked to the beach yet so they may still be there. We have various possible things in mind to do while we’re here in Honolulu; we’ve been discussing possibly going somewhere like the Pearl Harbor Museum this afternoon. I think that’s all for now.

This first entry was originally posted on the Understanding Islam board at 10:53 A.M. Honolulu time (10 hours behind Greenwich Mean, 5 hours behind Eastern Standard).
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syilla
10-29-2009, 12:55 AM
Interesting!!!...but i thought i can find cool pics of hawaii...huhu
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IAmZamzam
10-29-2009, 09:35 AM
Originally Posted by syilla
Interesting!!!...but i thought i can find cool pics of hawaii...huhu
Indeed, syilla. If you want to know what the hotel looks like, the Honolulu Hilton's website has quite a lot of pics, some of which are interactive. They give you quite a notion of what much of the place looks like.
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IAmZamzam
10-29-2009, 09:36 AM
11:04 P.M. Honolulu time. Often after a couple of days of erratic fluctuations in my sleeping patterns I have rather long and unpleasant waves of migraines, but I can’t think of the last time it was like today. Maybe it has something to do with some post-jet lag thing. In any case the migraine I awoke with had mostly receded a little while before I came on the net this morning (I have pain meds with me due to dental problems I won’t get to have fixed until I’m back in Arkansas), but oh boy did it all come back with SUCH a vengeance soon after lunch. At least the lunch was divine. (We had it in that Tropics Bar & Grill, and everything the four of us had was so good we all basically shared everyone’s plates.) Not long after I was left for almost the rest of the day positively invalid with a migraine that it would practically almost take Lovecraftian superlatives to convey the pain of it. Only after dark was I able to leave the building briefly and only around 9:30 did I finally up and leave for the large, cascade-sided swimming pool they have here, thinking, sort of like I did last night, that I wasn’t going to let any debilitating condition allow me to waste too much time, though I still didn’t feel quite up to the ocean yet.

After a bit of swimming I found my mood lightening and I started doing silly dances in the always rather shallow waters of the pool instead. Eventually I found myself actually going so far as to be suddenly doing slo-mo aquatic pirouetting for some reason, so I figured I’d just take it and go with it and start shouting the funny dialogue Mike Myers blurted when he pirouetted goofily after Nancy Travis in that scene from So I Married an Axe Murderer. Trouble was, I don’t think I could quite remember the correct dialogue of his from that scene to shout for sure. I can only begin to speculate as to what the nearby parents teaching their six-year-olds to swim and what not thought of that twenty-five-year-old man prancing about the water next to them yelling booming proclamations in a silly, overdramatic voice about "EE-vill, the FROO-itt of the DEVV-ill!"

After I tired of my antics and got some more swimming done and some close-up views of the pool-side cascades and beautiful, well-lit palm-tree arrangements and all, I found my way to where my glasses, towel, sandals, and card were, found my way to my tower and room, and found that I had in my haste to finally escape from my long migraine-based captivity taken the wrong card with me, leaving my keycard in my room and myself locked out--my brother, of course, not being in the room (and I didn't know where he was anyway). In fact, the card in my hands was, I now saw upon my first actual close inspection, not only not my keycard, and not only a card I didn’t know I had brought to Hawaii, but also a card I didn’t even know I still had (let alone one I still carried around in my wallet), and a student ID card of a school I no longer attend. But it being a photo ID, it helped get me back in the room, where I bathed and got back here.

A luau is scheduled for tomorrow. Friday night (every Friday night here) there's going to be a tremendous fireworks festival thing. We're thinking about maybe going to the Pearl Harbor Museum Saturday. There's a deep sea fishing trip scheduled Sunday. Our plane is scheduled to leave Monday. Unless I'm forgetting something, any other further developments are pending.
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IAmZamzam
10-29-2009, 10:23 PM
Starting this at noon on the dot by my watch Honolulu time, although the clock in the room insists that it's 12:07 (and my non-synchronated Central Time Zone computer clock, of course, thinks very differently). I awoke a little before 10:00 and soon after left the room when the housekeepers came around. I wandered around this maze-like hotel complex some more. This place isn't just part zoo, it's part crazy zoo: I came across a display where African black-footed penguins were in a mini-habitat/display/whatever-the-word-would-be together with exotic fish and turtles. In the EPCOT-like Chinatown area somehow all four of us managed to bump into each other by chance: I walked out of a public restroom area and saw my mother, who was waiting around for my brother to come out of some building so they could go off together on a hike a short drive away to a rainforest-like area with a waterfall. (I didn't think to ask them what the place was called. It wasn't Diamond Head. It stills seems up in the air if not downright doubtful as to whether or not we'll get to take that particular hike.) I, unfortunately, did not know about this hike beforehand and was not equipped with the right attire to go with them given that I was wearing flip-flops. My mom herself was wearing all the wrong clothes but she insisted on going anyway. I hope the best for them. My dad, like I said, also briefly ran into us too a moment later, but he had to go off to some other meeting or something almost as quickly. At least he won't be preoccupied with such things the whole trip. For example, in a few hours there's a bus coming to pick us up and take us to a luau.

I ate at a Japanese restaurant where I had a Japanese dish prepared in a spicy local Hawaiian "moco loco" style that we also tried dishes in at the Tropics Bar & Grille. Good food. I came up here to rest a bit and let my food digest before finally heading out to the sea for the first time while I still can with time remaining before having to leave for the luau. My mom said that she's signed my brother and me up for a Saturday morning event where they'll have us snorkeling at a local reef with dolphins and turtles. Wow.
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IAmZamzam
10-30-2009, 09:14 AM
10:44 P.M. Honolulu time. On the bus that took us through the late afternoon traffic on our way to the luau I truly appreciated, fully, for maybe the first time in my life, the bitterly delicious irony inherent in the phrase “rush hour”. The annoying bus tour guide informed us that in the local parlance we would reach Paradise Cove (I’m sure there must be only four hundred other places by that name in the world) in “fifteen Hawaiian minutes”, which immediately struck me as a highly suspect phrase. It turns out that I was right, because “Hawaiian minute” is a unit of time invented to measure time passage in the local tourist-congested traffic so as to overcome the difficulty posed by astrophysicists and chronologists not yet having apparently invented a prefix for things beyond “giga”. Seriously, “Hawaiian minutes” are like “Indian time” (dots not feathers), a common term on Cherokee reservations: in both cases it basically means, “It’ll happen when it happens.” One wonders why the person using either expression bothers even to open their mouths at all if that’s what they’re going to say.

Well, we did get there of course, and it didn’t actually take all that long. Really, my only actual problem was mainly that I had to go to the bathroom, which is why I initially rushed there when we arrived and only belatedly and hurriedly went through the getting-your-picture-taken-with-the-pretty-lady-as-part-of-the-package-deal-thing, just as a formality, before seeing to the food and drink. Only afterward did I hear that the lady in question, whose photo with my brother I am looking at now (it looks like he’s trying to goose her; he told me he was), is a former Miss Hawaii. Or so someone said. I really don’t know. That’s hearsay for you.

I wasn’t wearing any traditional Hawaiian shirt like my father was. Nope, none of that for me. In fact, I didn’t even think of it. I have on my “You mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!” t-shirt. There was a lagoon cove where they took you on canoe rides. I had mostly forgotten even how to do a decent basic J-stroke from summer camp all those years ago but the workers pretty much did most of the actual rowing for you. It was pretty fun, and they took me right past a sea turtle. I bought some heavily salted dried tamarind, and had it with the first of several virgin mai tais.

At one point while I was strolling around and seeing what there was to be seen of the festivities I came across a “haunted tunnel”. A guy in a crazy, cheap-looking mask that seemed almost more pseudo-Mexican-store-bought than pseudo-Hawaiian-store-bought beckoned me inside with his finger. I looked inside. It looked like something a sixth-grader would design for a Halloween project. I told the operator outside I wasn’t interested. Sounding maybe a trifle offended she said maybe I would be interested instead in the event happening down by the beach nearby. I walked down and looked to see a bunch of drunk-as-lords buffoons dancing around terribly waving their butts at some women who stared on and giggled idiotically. No one in the crowd in either gender, at a glance, looked like fifty of their IQ points had survived three drinks, assuming they even had that many points to begin with, or that percentage of the average human being’s charm. I immediately turned right back around and went into the tunnel and found myself willingly waiting next to a little girl, thinking that even if the place did turn out to be scary instead of a waste of time, it couldn’t be as much of a waste of time and it would certainly afford me the least horrific sights within easily a hundred paces. Just my luck, the thing was broken down somehow. Don’t ask me how a tunnel like that breaks down, but there was some congestion or, well, or something, I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I just left. I thought I had spent too long on that entire part of the beach for the time being.

When dinner finally came it came in several courses. I ate a little of the cooled spaghetti, some of the chicken and rice, some of the fruity-tasting local fish the name of which I can’t remember, none of the pig they roasted in the ground of course, some of the dessert. When the show came the camera flashes were bothering me so much that I decided to sit at a distance so I could get a better angle to avoid them, but then an odd thing happened: I found the sight of the lagoon captivating me much more. The dusky twilight fading to night, the sea fading to sky, it being almost impossible in the mild haze of the horizon to tell where any of the four ended and the other three began, those vague dark lumps of the rocks in the middle and the deep blue shading of the rest, and the soporific crashing all the time…I admit I couldn’t resist when it came to the fire dancer. That thing came so dangerously close to that guy’s crotch so many times…and the belly dancers right after him, who to be fair were right after him when my attention was already caught, lovely as they were…well, got to get up early, turns out fishing is tomorrow and I may go, and we need to turn in.
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IAmZamzam
10-30-2009, 06:22 PM
8:03 A.M. Honolulu time. The reason I'm not on the fishing trip is that when I woke up this morning there was enough of a suspicious undertow of another migraine in my head and problems in my stomach that I didn't think that sitting around on a rocking boat at sea for eight hours would necessarily prove a very prudent idea. I wonder how it's going for the others. The last time we were all on a deep sea fishing trip together, I don't remember it going very well. It was March of 1992 and I was eight and we were on a boat off the coast of Panama City, Florida. Not a lot of us had a whole lot of luck fishing and I caught only a rather large and repulsive-looking moray eel. Most of us were catching eels at that point; I guess they move in schools like any other fish. The skipper was so repelled by the writhing little horrors that he just walked around asking us to hold out our lines over the water while he snipped them. So much for that trip. My visual memory, sharp as ever, made it rather hard for me to eat my spaghetti when we went out for dinner that night.

I did my salaat on the beach, using my towel as a prayer rug and abluting in the wake of the tide, guiding myself directionally by the colorful sight of the rays of the not-quite-rising tropical sun breaking behind a nearby building. Not a bad experience, I can tell you. I wandered around some more, marveling at how even after three or four days one can still get hopelessly lost around here, but at least with me it was semi-intentional. I took a gander at some of the meeting spaces where my father apparently has been and/or will be. Believe me, he's not that bad off having to devote less of his time to vacationing than the rest of us. Those rooms are fit for a meeting of kings. (Besides, the man is on a deep sea fishing trip as we speak which he embarked on immediately upon waking up after coming back from a luau. I think we could hardly pity him his seminars.) I got breakfast from that coffee shop again and right now I'm hanging around here in my room, probably mostly on the net, while I let the food digest for obvious safety reasons before heading out into the ocean (which I still didn't get around to yesterday).
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IAmZamzam
10-31-2009, 12:14 AM
One of the above posts was written in haste last night so that my brother and I could get to bed, and so I ended up accidentally copying and pasting some previous entries along with it. The problem has been fixed. It's now all on its own, beginning with "10:44 P.M. Honolulu time".
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IAmZamzam
10-31-2009, 12:34 AM
2:14 P.M. Honolulu time. I finally went down to swim in the waves. When I went down to the beach I was careful this time to bring with me one of two extra keycards I now had along with that obsolete photo ID from Pulaski Tech which saved my hide the last time I locked myself out of the room. Trouble was, I ended up leaving both cards in my swimsuit's pocket instead of with my towel, sandals and glasses, and so naturally (probably while I was riding the big, floppy, green waves on my back like a child on one of those rubber bouncy castle things, having fun though also getting that nasty grimy briny taste constantly in my mouth), they slipped out and for all I know may be halfway to Kauai by now. Since I had hours before my brother would be back with my father from the fishing trip (as a matter of fact, they're still not back, or if they are then my brother hasn't returned to this room yet), I knew my best bet would be to go to Kalia Tower and see if my mother was back from going out to lunch with an old friend of hers. As luck would have it, she was just leaving and I came across her at the elevators. She and the old friend (we'd met before; the wife of an old colleague of my dad) walked with me to the main desk and with my mom's help they got me up here with security who supervised me as I got in and got my wallet, showing them my ID. My regular and spare keycard are in here.

I bathed away the brine, went out, meandered, voted on a best pumpkin contest held between competing factions of the hotel staff, ate lunch at the Japanese restaurant, got myself another Odwala brand fruit smoothie and came back here. Every Friday night they hold some huge Fireworks show by the beach here. I'm looking forward to it. I adore fireworks.
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IAmZamzam
10-31-2009, 06:11 AM
7:57 P.M. Honolulu time. I ate at the Japanese restaurant in the hotel village's Chinatown complex again today, this time with my mother and brother. Hey, what can I say? The place is great. After my second bowl of miso soup today I had my first ever dish of eel (twice-grilled, served on rice). Hey, what's the point of traveling halfway around the world if you're not going to try new things? The dish had a nice, well-seasoned, exotic, unique flavor to it. My brother had a bite and liked it too. My mother didn't dare touch the stuff even though she's had escargot before. She said she "wasn't in an adventurous mood tonight".

The beach-side fireworks display was briefer than I expected and would have hoped but still pretty nifty. (Then again, it was only part of the show but I wasn't interested in the rest, having been to a real luau last night.) I liked how they started out with a focus on mere color and spectacle and then gradually built the tempo and explosiveness, with larger bursts erupting into smaller bursts erupting into yet smaller bursts still, often of differing colors (ultra-bright scarlet, gold, sunny yellow-white).

My father and brother, by the way, not only caught nothing over the course of their entire eight-hour fishing trip but also didn't even get a bite. I'm glad I didn't go.

It's become a little uncertain by now as to whether my brother will be up to the snorkeling-with-the-sea-life thing tomorrow, in which case I would not be able to go either since he'd apparently be my ride. I'll keep you all posted, God willing.
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IAmZamzam
11-01-2009, 02:46 AM
4:02 P.M. Honolulu time. I didn’t think I’d catch myself saying this of Oahu, but while this is a nice place to visit, I wouldn’t want to live here. Don’t get me wrong. This place isn’t overrated at all: it’s every bit the tropical island paradise it’s made out to be and more. It’s just that living here would be far too hazardous if not downright borderline deadly. I’m not talking about the weather, which is almost always in that pleasant late springtime-shading-into-summer area and which seems seldom to contain rainfall beyond a pleasant warm light drizzle. I’m not talking about the crime rate either, of which I know very little, and of which I have observed no negative evidence. I’m talking about one thing and one thing only: the roads.

Even living in Arkansas isn’t as deadly as this if you have to drive regularly. The drivers there are worse than they are elsewhere in America, which is saying quite a lot (though I’m talking into a dead phone by posting that anywhere since one of the most unbreakable laws of the universe, every bit as infallible as gravity, is the rule that no human being can ever be convinced that any region of the world contains worse drivers than the region in which they live, no matter where that human being lives or how wrong that human being is). But drivers aside even in Arkansas at least the roads themselves aren’t a huge death trap designed by a drunken comic book supervillain as a Halloween prank. Speaking of which, happy Halloween. The road system is so sloppy, confusing, and dangerous here that sometimes, for example, there’s no certainty as to where the lanes are or whether or not entire lanes even count as lanes. Instead there are “approximate lanes”, which are sort of half lanes, so that you can occupy the center 25%-75% of the road while the guy behind you occupies the left 0%-50% of the road and so on in an insane cacophonous string of lawsuits waiting to happen on a mile-long crazily painted background beneath.

Anyway, the Road System from Hell took my brother and me to the place where the boat would take us out to sea for the sight-seeing and snorkeling, after which a lunch would be provided. We didn’t know until we arrived that it turned out to be part of the same complex as that “Paradise Cove” place where the luau was held the other night (us having been taken there on a bus whereas my brother drove us on this trip in the rental van). On the boat ride over we had quite a panorama of the island’s sandy sea-side hills, whose alternatingly shadowy sides seemed to shimmer or waver ever so slightly in a hint of an almost vaguely hallucinatory haze. I imagine that if, par impossible one could see a landscape of the desert-like tall hills of Idaho from the seaside somehow, and see them with the illusion of a desert mirage created instead by a tropical humidity’s haze, it would look something like that. But then again, I’ve never been to Idaho.

The first time they stopped the boat and we got out and snorkeled, I didn’t see much of anything. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of it: I’d never, to the best of my recollection, snorkeled outside of a swimming pool in my entire life, and I hadn’t even done that in many years. I saw a few tropical fish but nothing all that special, all things considering; I found that many of the other people were gathered in a sort of bobbing human cluster, so I swam over to them and asked what was going on. I found that they’d seen a sea turtle or two but I had just barely missed it--and it was time to get back on the boat. Fortunately for me, soon after the boat started moving one of the turtles of the same sort--or it could have been one of the very same ones for all we knew, we weren’t that far away--surfaced. A “Hawaiian green sea turtle”, the guide told me it was called, even though the thing was clearly not green. More of a deep, slightly brownish dark blood red bordering on maroon. Kind of burgundy. He told me the reason for it being called green but I don’t remember it off the top of my head. Something to do with coral…?

While the boat was plowing its way through the waves to the next snorkeling spot the crew deliberately made a point, as they obviously always do, of weaving it through dolphin-inhabited waters, and before long we’d succeeded at spotting quite a few. Some of them were tossing around a plastic object between them. The guide told us that dolphins use bits of plastic they find in the water to play games like that with. I said, “Dolphins make sports out of our litter??” He said, nodding and smiling, “Dolphins make sports out of our litter.” I thought that was sufficiently awesome. Think about it: George Carlin’s stand-up comedy routine about “the earth plus plastic” is coming true. It seemed to me that the spinner dolphins, who were putting on quite a show for us with their leaps and flips and spins, were doing it on purpose and liked to entertain the boats that went by, be it for the sake of showmanship or just for the sake of showing off. They’re such interesting creatures.

Well, anyway, the crew got the idea to speed up the boat because sometimes the dolphins like to chase it and that can be very amusing. Well the problem is, it wasn’t very amusing to me because unbeknownst to them, they happened to decide to do it right when I was inside the little unlit marine bathroom. Everyone else had to move to the back of the boat because the front was going to tilt up a little and there was going to be a little turbulence. Well, there was certainly a lot of turbulence for me. I had to keep putting my hand on the door and walls to get some purchase since there was nothing to hold onto. When I came out there were gashes in my life preserver. It was a wonder there weren’t gashes in me.

Anyway, we stopped again to snorkel. Apparently the first time was only a warm-up. We couldn’t snorkel with the dolphins, the crew said, because those waters were too dangerous for the task for some reason. But we went to another spot with a big, lovely coral reef and we snorkeled there, and I got to scatter fish food amidst tremendous schools of multi-colored tropical fish and watch them swarm all around me. There was quite a variety of fish; at one point I found my mask slowly filling up with water but let it do so for as long as I feasibly could before surfacing because I couldn’t stop gazing at the sight of two schools of fish, one long and blue and the other smaller and rounder and orange, sort of swimming into each other in a meeting like an underwater collision of ribbons and confetti.

Apparently we have plans to eat at some kind of local Hawaiian food restaurant on the island. The others are in my parents’ room and they’re going to call me. I should probably get ready.
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IAmZamzam
11-01-2009, 06:28 AM
8:13 P.M. Honolulu time. Rather rude awakening: even though my dad had repeatedly told me that we were leaving Monday and arriving Tuesday, now he’s saying that we’re actually leaving tomorrow (the plane departs at five-something, 5:50 maybe if I remember correctly) and arriving Monday. Well, it’s not entirely bad news: as last Hawaiian sunsets go, we could have had a worse one. We had dinner at a very good restaurant, located in another hotel--a colorfully dimly lit, quality restaurant mysteriously named “The House without a Key”. The food was good but the tropical sunset view off the balcony--on which a band played and, later on, a girl danced with shaking sticks--was better. If you stood right at the balcony you could see Diamond Head in the distance. My mom got a photo of the sunset just as it started to creep into twilight.

Speaking of photos, in case anyone is wondering about them, due to a possible combination of bad hardware, bad luck and the fact that I have the computer skills and know-how of your average dead sea bass, no attempt at image hosting I’ve ever made in my entire life has ever worked, however varied my attempts have been, and computer stuff is always a big headache for me, but some of the others have been taking photos (I haven’t) and I think they’ve usually been using digital cameras and may be putting up their photos on their face book pages or something like that, and they may give me my permission to give links, and if not maybe I can figure something out one way or another, but I can’t make any promises.

Tomorrow we’re planning on checking out around noon and driving around for a few hours after that, seeing what else we can do on the island in the time that we still have. We don’t know what we’re going to do yet. I’m hoping we can still get a chance to get to the Pearl Harbor Museum myself. As for now, I’m thinking of following the music down in the Rainbow Bazaar area and seeing what Halloween activities may be possibly going on down there and what not, God willing.
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IAmZamzam
11-02-2009, 08:48 PM
Back safely, resting and resetting ourselves today. Will wrap the thing up tomorrow, God willing.
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Supreme
11-02-2009, 10:45 PM
Brother, this may seem a wierd question, but are the waters warm in Hawaii? I mean the sea water.

God Bless.
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IAmZamzam
11-03-2009, 11:50 PM
Originally Posted by Supreme
Brother, this may seem a wierd question, but are the waters warm in Hawaii? I mean the sea water.

God Bless.
God bless you too. How is that a weird question?? The sea water temperature, like the air temperature, is just right. (Or so it was at the time of year when I visited, anyway, and I was there for only about five-and-a-half days.) It's the middle bowl of porridge, you might say. As pleasantly cool as the air was pleasantly warm.

Sorry, I think I'll still delay the last entry maybe another day. I have another migraine. Getting back messed up our sleeping patterns again, you see, but it's not nearly as bad as before and it'll likely be fine tomorrow.
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IAmZamzam
11-06-2009, 02:25 AM
I'm getting lazy with this so I may as well cap it off really quickly:

On our last day, on my last stroll I found one more zoo-like area at the hotel I hadn't seen or noticed before. It contained both ibises and African flamingoes. A couple of ducks had got in there too, or maybe they'd already been in there but didn't have their own information plate since they weren't as exotic and interesting a species.

Like I said, we had a few extra hours between check-out time and our flight, so we decided to take that time to drive around the island. On our map we found that the Pearl Harbor Museum was on the other side of Oahu so we wouldn't be able to get around to visit that place on the trip after all, just like we didn't get around to visiting Diamond Head, but we weren't all that far from the Dole Plantation, so we went there.

At the Dole Plantation they have (if you believe them) the "world's largest maze", made out of a lovely garden hedge. We didn't traverse it ourselves. We'd just driven into the place from out of the real world's largest maze and had driven around that island-sized labyrinth enough over the course of the past five-and-a-half days for our taste, and we might not have had enough time for it anyway. We ate at Dole's local restaurant, where I had a Moco Loco. It was much inferior to the one at the Tropics Bar & Grille (it had that distinctive fast food air to it). But the pineapple juice, Dole Whip (pineapple ice cream), and pineapple slices I had (we brought the slices with us in the rental car when we left) were really quite good. After we ate my dad took some pictures of growing pineapples outside while my mom and I wandered around the gift shop. I neither know nor care where my brother was, but I don't think he was far from my mother and me. I strolled around the rather scenic grounds down a path under some pavilions, beholding the view of the apparently endless acres of land stretching on toward the distant mountains, perhaps all of it belonging to Dole. (Maybe it does: while at the plantation we found out that it can take up to three years for those plants to bear full fruit.)

On the way to the airport we saw the hugest, closest-looking rainbow I can remember seeing near land. My dad got a picture of it. Speaking of which, we are talking about those pictures. My dad is getting them, as well as a video or two, up on his face book or something, and he says it'll be all right for me to link to it once we're finished with that. I'd like to scan and get up that picture of Miss Hawaii with her arm around me in my "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!" t-shirt too.
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