Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Holiday In Hawaii 2009 (And A Little 2010 - Part C"

Random memories…

Ever concerned for our skin safety, Dr. M brought along sunscreen labeled SPF – 70. This sunscreen takes back the tan you got last year.
Twice daily, in the morning and afternoon, a beach attendant passed by handing out frozen treats. Mango Ice Pops. Orange Creamsicles. Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream sandwiches. And they’re free. You don’t have to pay for them. Okay, they’re included in the hotel charge. But they’re not asking you to pay for them again.

I tried to turn them down, but come on. How often are you offered a free-feeling Mango Ice Pop? And Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream is my favorite! I mean, it’s not like I wasn’t exercising.

Right. When the sun moved, you got up and re-positioned your beach chair.

No, really, Italics Man. Maintaining my post-surgery cardio program, I visited the hotel’s lavishly equipped “Fitness Center” every morning. I didn’t even take the shuttle there; I walked.

The “Fitness Center” was First Class all the way. The treadmills had a button that, when pressed, would activate your own personal fan, sending cooling breezes directly towards your face. This was a new experience for me. I’ve always had to share a fan.

Each treadmill also included an individualized television screen, offering a plethora of viewing alternatives. (Do you know what a “plethora” is? El Guapo pretended he knew, but he didn’t.)

Since I’d neglected to pick up headphones from the “Fitness Center’s” front desk, I was relegated to finding a program I could follow without the benefit of sound. I passed on the roundtable discussion on health care reform, choosing, instead, a movie almost entirely bereft of dialogue – a Steven Seagal picture.

Kung Fu. And shooting.

There was a female included on Seagal’s “Murder Squad”, demonstrating, through her actions, a fundamental feminist principle:

“We kill like men.”

You can learn a lot from television. Even without the sound.
“Whales!” shouted a woman in the beach chair next to ours.

I immediately jumped to my feet.

“Where?” I inquired.

“There!” she pointed.

I looked where she’d pointed. I squinted real hard.

I did not see any whales.

I saw waves. I saw the ocean. (It’s hard to miss.) I saw sailboats passing by.

But no whales.

“There’s another one!” she cried.

I turned to her again, hoping for some help.

“Don’t look at me,” she rebuked. “Look at the water.”

I looked at the water.

I saw no whales.

“Oh, my God! There are four of them. You see their tails? And the water spouting from their blowholes?”

I saw nothing.

“This is so amazing.”

People don’t seem to grasp the idea of faulty eyesight, its fundamental consequence being that you can’t see that well. Instead, you are continually treated as if you can. This misapprehension would plague me for the entire trip.



“There! You see them?”


“Look at that bird! Have you ever seen anything so beautiful in your entire life!”

No. Not because I’d never seen anything so beautiful in my entire life. But because I didn’t see the damn bird!

Here’s a request. If I’m ever in your company and you spot something spectacular, do me a favor, and keep it to yourself.
One thing I did see were turtles. Big ones, some, a couple of feet long. The turtles were everywhere. In the pond directly below our hotel room, swimming in the ocean, and most conspicuously, dozing on the lava rocks by the shore, soaking in the sun.

One sunbather seemed particularly old. And frighteningly placid. It never budged, even when I walked right up to it. I was afraid it was dead. Or soon would be. Whatever happened to survival instincts? You can’t let people walk right up to you. You wake up, and you’re soup.
Lunching at a nearby hotel, we drove past a sign reading, “Tsunami Evacuation Area.” Maybe I’m just dense, but I was unclear on exactly what that meant. Is a “Tsunami Evacuation Area” the place you evacuate to when there’s a tsunami? Or is it a place you evacuate from?

This is an important distinction, don’t you think? People could easily get confused.

“Do we come here, or do we run away from here?”

“Did you notice we're right by the water?”

“I see. So it's away.”

On the same drive, we passed a sign reading, “Banana Quarantine Area.” I imagined that somewhere nearby, there was a barracks of segregated bananas, sitting there, missing their families.
This happened to me twice. A waitress informed me there were people named Pomerantz who owned a sushi restaurant in a nearby town. And a hotel concierge inquired, “Do you live on the island? You look very familiar.” Two associations with the Big Island of Hawaii. My family must have hailed from the Polynesian section of Eastern Europe.
We ate a lot of delicious fish on our trip – Onaga, Mahi Mahi, Opakapaka. All freshly caught that day. Which is a little sad. Both of us were alive that morning. Now, one of us is on a plate, with fingerling potatoes.
Our New Year’s Eve’s entertainment consisted of two fiercely made-up “Hawaiian warriors” walking around on stilts, and a couple who twirled fire. The most memorable moment was when the man set his pants ablaze, and between twirls, tried, surreptitiously, to pat out the flames.
These, then, are some highlights from our vacation week on the Big Island of Hawaii. I have excluded one special adventure. Which I’ll tell you about tomorrow:

The Helicopter Ride.


Corinne said...

I wouldn't have seen the whales either... and that's with my glasses on.

I can empathize with your frustration.

PALGOLAK said...

"El Guapo pretended he knew, but he didn’t"

Incorrect sir. El Guapo pretended he didn't know, when in fact he did.

MikeThe Blogger said...

If you're ever in Hilo (on the Big Island) check out the Tsunami Museum. They have had two major tragic events in recent history. They take it very seriously.

YEKIMI said...

Some would say three tragic events, since President Obama sort of came from there...not that I would of course.