Hawaii Part I

This is a year of great portent for Carolyn and me. All kinds of things lined up. It's our 30th anniversary! Actually, it's the 30th anniversary of our first date which turned into a sleepover which turned into nightly sleepovers which turned into moving in together which turned into buying a house together which turned into buying another house together and breaking out in cats, which is pretty much where we are now. Exactly in the middle of those 30 years we got married. It was sometime in July, we have it written down somewhere. That's not to say we take the marriage lightly. It means a great deal to us, though for some reason, we aren't getting the spouse's discount on rental cars that I thought came with the package. Anyway, 15 years of being bound in matrimony this year too. It's also Carolyn's 65th birthday, which is maybe the biggest deal. Oh, and there's a solar eclipse in August. If you're big on numerology and signs from the Heavens, this year is the Super Bowl.

Back in March, sitting in NY waiting for a huge snowstorm to add two feet of white humiliation on top of our miserable, soggy, Oregon winter, I decided Carolyn needed a special gift to celebrate this confluence. Over the years I've given her among other things,  two bicycles, a weed whacker, an oil painting of us, and a chainsaw. Pro tip: once you've done the chainsaw, you've pretty much burned your gift giving bridges. I also decided we needed a vacation. So the night before the 'nor'easter plowed into NY, I gave Carolyn a card for our anniversary that simply said "Fuck it, we're going to Hawaii". Which is just what we did.
Hawaii, yes, that's the only solution

Lots of people go to Hawaii. One of Hawaii's main reasons for existing is to be someplace people go to when they need to get away from where they are. We've never imagined ourselves as the tropical vacation types. Our holidays tended to terminate in museums and ruins. I mean actual ruins, not a failed holiday, though some people might wonder if they were traveling with us on a few occasions. Our trip with Ann and Chris to the French Riviera introduced us to the idea that maybe lounging around on a beach isn't such a bad idea after all. 2' of snow in NY brought it home. We were pale, soggy, tired, and not really in the mood to immerse ourselves in another culture and another language. After a lifetime of thinking we didn't need to experience it, Hawaii suddenly made perfect sense. Heck, there's even a highly regarded Luau at Linfield in April so we could bag that before we even left!

We decided on the Big Island because it's big, has a gazillion ecosystems and an active volcano. We've been trying to see lava in person for 20 years. It's kind of a thing with us. I did the practical things; got us an apartment for a week, booked flights, rented a car.

I also surprised Carolyn by signing us up for a kayaking/snorkeling tour of Kealakakua Bay where Captain Cook committed enough of a social faux pax to get himself killed. I even booked our apartment on the Kona side of the island, which is more touristy but closer to swimming beaches. I was all in with the ocean. The thing is, my lack of engagement with oceans and swimming in general is something of a party gag, like sticking spoons to your nose. In France, the discovery that my afternoon swim in the Mediterranean was my first time in salt water got me a nice magnum of rosé. My enthusiasm for snorkeling in the Pacific (something I've only seen done in movies right before the heroine gets her foot caught in a giant clam and a guy swims to rescue her) was odd but kind of exciting, like wearing a tool belt and no pants around the house.  Anything could happen! My real reasons were more practical. I figured that it's like dining at a stupidly expensive restaurant; if you're paying that much for the experience, you better experience it. Also, the Hilo side has more rainfall than Oregon and really, that was just not an option anyway.

So on a rainy Tuesday morning at 4am, Carolyn and I drove off into the rain to PDX to fly to Kona and in due course, have all of our preconceived notions of Hawaii and ourselves in the tropics, completely undone.
Except for Mai Tais. Those notions were pretty accurate.


Unknown said…
I love the way you write Jonathan! Keep it up! Best to Carolyn.
Unknown said…
Such a wonderful adventure story! Hugs to you both!
tri-fit mom said…
I enjoy your posts so much and will anxiously await part 2.

Popular Posts