Okay. I realize that people standing neck deep in a snowdrift are not going to be sympathetic to the disappointing weather conditions of Hawaii – and if you want to tell your “blizzard stories”, feel free in “Comments” – but nobody goes to Hawaii for the rain. They go for the sunshine, the eighty degree temperatures, redolent with zephyrous, plumeria (that’s a flower)-scented breezes.
On the last two days of our trip, we were the grateful recipients of all of the above. On the first four days, however, it was rain. Okay, warm rain. Okay, warm rain, redolent with plumeria-scented breezes. But rain nonetheless. Though the infusion were rather gentle. It was more like an endless spray.
During those “spraying days”, we got into the habit of marking the weather “on the curve.” A black sky was labeled “gray”, a gray sky was “silver.” What was a blue sky? That was not a “what” question. That was a “where” question. It was also a “where” answer.
It didn’t matter, we still went to the beach. (There are times, though our winter temperatures are in the low fifties, when I spot tourists, most likely, “hitting the beach” here in Santa Monica. Those people, spread out on towels, pretending that it’s warm, induce, on my part at least, some head-scratching bewilderment. In bad-weather Hawaii, those head-scratching-inducing people are us.)
We had to go to the beach. Our time in Hawaii was short, and we wanted to take advantage of the good weather, even when it was bad. Plus, on our “arrival day”, when it was merely drizzling, we had preemptively bribed the attendants for beach loungers and a cabana, and when I say “we”, I mean somebody else in my family. I can’t bribe anyone. (See: Too Big For My Bathing Suit.)
The next drippy morning, we were greeted by a beach filled with hundreds of loungers, with nobody in them. Our “financial inducement” had proven unnecessary, though to this point, by which I mean after three days back home, it has, as yet, not been returned. Such are the vagaries of under-the-table maneuvering.
The inclemency did not deter us in the least. When the weather was just overcast, rather than “We have offended the gods”, our party would troop onto the beach, exchange the rain-drenched towels for their drier counterparts, slather on the sunscreen – there is a strongly held belief by certain members of our family that you can get sunburnt through clouds – then we’d lay back and pretend it was sunny. Our routine varied little from the years when it actually was.
We read and relaxed, we got up to eat lunch, and then, if it had rained during lunch, we exchanged our towels once again, and deposited ourselves back on our loungers. It was precisely like our other trips. Minus the question, “Am I getting any ‘color’?”
(Question: If you can’t tan through clouds, how come, some believe, you can burn?)
On the most active of our Hawaiian vacations, we do virtually nothing. This trip, however, broke records for inactivity. In our defence, our many previous visits to Oahu had depleted our list of “Things we had never done.” We had pilgrimaged to Pearl Harbor, climbed Diamond Head, viewed undersea vistas in a mini-submarine, enjoyed the Polynesian Cultural Center, taken in the “Kodak Hula Show”, and toured the Dole Pineapple Factory.
What about parasailing, you ask? You’re talking about a different family.
We did less this time, but had just as much fun. It’s a gift, I suppose, unavailable to the chronically active.
We bought a body-sized inflatable, plastic turtle. When any of us got tired of lounging on our loungers, we would take our books, stand up (our exercise for the day), commandeer our green “flotation device”, carry it (about twenty feet) to the water’s edge, lower it onto the softly lapping tide, lower ourselves on top of it and go back to our reading, rocked by the undulating movements of the Pacific.
Anna instantly dubbed this adventure “Turtle Time.” (Which she announced in the insinuating growl of the plant in Little Shop of Horrors going, “Supper Time!”)
For us, at least on this trip, this was a major adventure. Getting out of a lounge chair, and lying on a raft.
Another jolt of momentary excitement:
While passing in front of me, Rachel stopped, having noticed something curious and strange.
“You have an eye on your foot.”
And indeed I did. During one of my periodic strolls along the beach, I had apparently stepped on the adhesive side of small, plastic eye, the “googly” kind, like from a Sesame Street doll, where the pupils float around. Rachel discovered this eye, staring at her, from the bottom of my foot. I peeled it off, and the excitement abated.
Most exciting adventure of all…
On another beach stroll, this time with my newly betrothed daughter, Anna came upon a relatively large driftwood stick. Are you getting goose bumps? Well, maybe you should, because this stick was special.
Turns out, its natural contours made it the perfect walking stick for me. A once-in-a-lifetime discovery. It was exactly the right height for my leaning requirements, it had a curved “handle”, and the side of that handle offered a carved-out area that looked exactly like the head of a serpent, gleaming eye and all. (Amazing, isn’t it? How often do you get a “two-eye” vacation?)
This was unquestionably “My stick.”
Later that afternoon, heading back to the room after a day of cloud bathing, I was leaning comfortably on my stick as a man of, generally, middle age joined me on the elevator.
“Nice stick,” he admired.
“Where’d you find it?”
“On the beach,” I enthused.
“The hard part will be convincing my wife to let me take it home.”
To which the man replied, clearly from experience:
“You haven’t got a chance.”
I knew he was right. So I didn’t even try.
If you can stand the excitement, I will return with another batch of thrill-packed adventures from our Hawaiian vacation manana. (There should be a thing over the first “n” of that word, but apparently my computer is not bi-lingual, so it looks like banana with an “m”. It’s not.)