Aloha! January 21, 2011
If you've been watching my Twitter or Facebook account, you're aware of the fact that this week we pulled a runner and went to Hawaii! We had neither time nor money to go for long, so we went for the MRT (Minimum Relaxtion Time). Three full days, four nights seemed to do the trick nicely.
The first day, we relaxed. We lucked into a FABULOUS hotel, the Aqua Beachside Waikiki, which was, with the Travelocity deal, about $50/night. And this was our view from our lanai:
And it was like that, from full left to full right. We were on the tenth floor (room 1002), and the room itself was tiny. Two people need to be quite close to enjoy a small room like that. But it didn't matter! I used all the drawers because I'm a Cancer and we left the sliding glass door open most of the time. Who wouldn't?
Looking right, to the Royal Hawaiian.
The first day we spent doing this:
Looking up into the palm fronds from our patch of sand. I tried to read, I really did, but the words kept blurring into shapes that turned into clouds and then I napped, without even trying. People, I'm NOT a good napper. Apparently where I need to be to nap is on a tropical beach. Good to know.
The next day, we went to Hanauma Bay and snorkeled. I hadn't snorkeled in fifteen years or so, since my last trip to Saipan in my early twenties, but it was just as fun as I'd remembered. I love that feeling of kicking lazily, my hands drifting next to my side, following currents and schools of fish....
Of course, the dream is to see a sea turtle, right? I've never seen one, in memory, and I've snorkeled a lot. While we were lying on the beach, I overheard one guy saying he'd seen one, about 100 yards past where the lifeguards had said not to go because of the riptide. Okay, then. I gave up hope and I was happy just to see gorgeous fish.
We went out again to the eastern side of the bay, near the rocks. I was practicing skin diving (I used to be really good at holding my breath and diving down to peer under coral ledges, and did you KNOW that today's snorkel is all high-tech and stuff? It doesn't let in water! I'd pop up and blow hard, only to find that I didn't need to -- it was already clear. Wild), and on my way up, I saw a turtle.
A big one. Weaving his way underwater, his fins tipping and scooping through the water.
I went into one huge spastic fit, trying to get Lala's attention. She was all caught up looking at a pretty rock, and I was just out of her line of sight as I flailed every limb and yelled wordlessly into my high-tech snorkel. Finally catching sight of what I was pointing at, she fell in behind me as we trailed behind it for about five minutes.
It was one of the most gorgeous moments of my life.
Then we got a little too close to the breakers, and we had to turn back, which was okay. We were high with the joy of it. (Lala had just taken her last underwater photo on her camera, which we regretted at first, but the more I thought about it, the happier I was that she just got to swim and watch and FEEL it, rather than struggling with advancing the film, getting the shot, clicking the shutter.... YOU know.)
The last day we did more of what we'd done on the first day: read, napped, wandered the streets looking for good food.... I have to say that using Yelp on a smart phone has forever changed travel in America for me. While lying on the beach, I could enter Open Now, Within Two Blocks, Best Rated and get walking directions to someplace like Iyasumi Musubi, the BEST musubi in Hawaii. (Okay, before this trip I didn't even know what musubi was, and when I googled it to find out, the idea of sweet fried spam sushi didn't appeal to me in the slightest. But the reviews were SO fantastically high that curiosity had its way with us, and we found our way to the shop's hidden alley and our minds WERE BLOWN. I have fantasized about it almost non-stop since getting home, and MUST find some in the Bay Area.)
Yelp also led us to what we believe was our best bar experience, ever. (Hi, that's a large statement.) Wang Chung's, next door to the musubi shop, was literally smaller than our living room. When we arrived, there were fifteen people already there, and the bartender Henry waved hello and said he'd be right with us. Henry was the bartender, the busboy, the runner-of-the-Karaoke machine, and the greeter. He was everything to everybody, and everyone was so full of love for him that it spilled over onto each other. At one point I was singing the Judd's "Have Mercy" while dancing with a tiny man who ended up tripping and falling backwards into my arms. I caught him, propped him gently against a stool, and never missed a note. When we finally left, I wanted to go back five minutes later. We *didn't* go back, actually, and didn't talk about revisiting it, but I'd venture a guess it was because neither of us wanted to risk ruining the memory of that perfect night.
I spent as much time in the water as I could (until my ears sealed closed, which was a small pain in the ass):
and I did NOT burn. I didn't even tan. I used SO MUCH sunscreen. 70 SPF, two bottles' worth. I was SAFE.
Apropos of nothing (as were they), we saw chickens:
And we relaxed. Oh, we were so LUCKY. What a wonderful trip. More photos over at Flickr, iffen you're interested.
Now, I'm going to carry that relaxed feeling over into the real world. Really. I'm going to try. I've got aloha in my soul, tucked into my pockets, and rolled up into my socks. I do.