Friday, January 17, 2014

"Aloha Memories 2013"

I invite you to join me on a voyage in the “Not So Way Back Machine” – Destination: December 21, 2013.  Oo-ooh, exciting.  We’re going back in time four weeks! 

Are you ready?  Let’s travel.  Zoom.


The skies, bright blue, the warm, velvety breezes pushing clumps of clouds along like they’re late for a meeting, the reef-barriered waters swish-swashing rhythmically against the shore. 

And that’s it for description. 

Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables plays a central role in my (as was Bill and Ted’s) excellent (Hawaiian) adventure, which I shared with the inestimable Dr. M, our beloved daughters and their outstanding husbands, and a Divine sunbeam named Milo, age two plus two months.  Hugo, in a book that exceeds 1400 pages in length, has no difficulty spending four pages describing the fading curtains in a deserted convent.  I, sadly, have no similar abilities.  

I can simply suggest the humid but easily bearable Hawaiian heat on my skin, the uncharacteristic silkiness (compounding, unfortunately, the appearance of thinness) of my hair, and the cool and comforting graininess of the sand between my toes.   If you can get some sense of that from the words, you got Hawaii. 

It is a spectacular natural delight.  (Which the Americans should have left to the Hawaiians but didn’t, resulting in a exotic, tropical wonderland dotted with California Pizza Kitchens.)

We have enjoyed many Hawaiian islands and their always comfortable accommodations on family vacations for over thirty years.  But we keep coming back to the Kahala (which has undergone three ownership changes during that period) on Oahu.  My family views it as almost a second home.  I, as exemplified by a certain disturbing incident I experienced with a self-important hotel guest which I shall go into by and by, harbor conflicting sentiments.

In contrast to the less than primo locations we are traditionally assigned to, our room this time faced directly on the ocean. 

And the hotel’s parking structure. 

The result of the way the hotel’s placement is situated.  You look from the balcony and you see the circular driveway below you, a multi-leveled parking structure to your right, the hotel’s main entranceway to your left, and extending behind them, a wide… what’s the word?… Hold on a second, I’ve been away from the keyboard a while… wait yeah, I’ve almost got it… Man!  How frustrating it is sitting here waiting for a word to show up!  I might have told you this, but when I was sixty, I got mono, and even after I recovered, there remained certain words I was never able to…

”Arcing”that’s what I was looking for! 

…and extending behind them, a wide, arcing expanse of ocean, eye-browing majestically across the horizon. 

For the first time in thirty years, we had scored the highly coveted “Ocean/Parking Lot View” room.  It was the most magnificent – and simultaneously mundane – vista I have ever had the good fortune to behold. 

After quickly unpacking, I took a solo tour to the beach area, visited last about year and a half earlier.  (Our most recent stay there had been two Aprils ago, where we were able to take advantage of reduced room rates and diminished (compared to “Christmas Week”) hubbub. 

For reasons too uninteresting to explain, we were now back to our more habitual, and considerably pricier, “Peek Visiting Period” routine, fighting for breakfast reservations at somewhere approximating breakfast time, and access to the inexplicably insufficient beach seating, (bringing me back, in passing, to the “Disturbing Incident”, whose specifics I shall unveil at the appropriate moment.)

There is a small bar abutting the beach area just up from the ocean.  I ordered an iced tea.  It was delivered in a clear, plastic cup, accompanied by the bill, discreetly inserted inside a dark, leatherette folder. 

Five-fifty, plus tax.

To soften the blow of paying through the nose for a drink whose ingredients cannot be worth more than a nickel, I was informed that I was entitled to free refills. 

“All week?” I inquired. 

My ironic query made a waitress standing off to the side burst out in appreciative laughter.  I love making waitresses laugh.  Especially those of a demographic with whom I’ve been told I am no longer able to connect.  The bartender, however, remained stoic. 

“No, just for today”, he unnecessarily explained.   

The long flight and the iced tea encouraged a visit to a nearby Men’s Room, where I experiencef my first example (on that trip) of the sense of entitlement an unfortunate number of the Kahala’s hotel guests adopt as their natural birthright.  What I was confronted with led me to consider suggesting a sign they should nail over every Men’s Room door in the hotel:

“Hey, guys!  The toilets may be self-flushing.  But the urinals aren’t.”

Throughout our weeklong vacation , whenever I availed myself of the facilities, I had to flush first because the guy (or guys) who’d preceded me hadn’t.

What’s more outrageous than “Too Big To Fail”?

“Too Big To Flush.”

To be continued…

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