Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Retelling, Part 2

Day 2

              What “awaited” me, turned out to be more ‘not sleep’. How’s that for an anticlimax? Anyway, it was”too early for life” when I was rather rudely awakened by a voice. I don’t remember the details very well, but I think the exchange went a little something like this:
“Why isn’t John up yet?!?”
“Seriously, it’s time to get up, the flight leaves at 7:35.”
“I’ll bring in the leftover chicken wings from yesterday. Get up.”
“. . .Garlic?”
            They weren’t garlic. Neither the “spicy”, nor the “parmesan” variety. Those had been devoured first, as is all too often the case. There were, however, some of the Caribbean Jerk flavor, which ended up being an ample surrogate. I’m gushing, because I think I’m a little upset about how easy it is to buy my cooperation. No matter what the means, the end was that I was up, and, in a flash of what can be described as Stockholm Syndrome-esque irony, was ready to go long before any of my female compatriots from down the hall were. It’s hard to be mad at someone who’s just bribed you out of bed with chicken wings, though. Even I don’t quite understand the implications of that last sentence.
            Except for getting lost like the bunch of small-city hicks we tried to appear distant from, the trip to the airport was relatively uneventful. I say lost, though, really, what we did was drive in circles for half an hour, looking for a place that would fulfill our commitment to return the rental car we had been using. So, I guess it wasn’t that uneventful after all. My apologies, I’ll try to get these things straight before writing them from now on. On second thought, I shouldn’t make promises I don’t even intend to keep.
            We arrived at the airport just in time to wait for a few hours. Our flight, which was supposed to leave at 7:35, ended up being delayed until 8:40, if my memory serves me. It was more than an hour at any rate. We ate a ”real” breakfast in the terminal while waiting. It was forgettable with a single exception. One, out of the rather impressive selection of restaurants, sold something called a “pork bun”. It wasn’t forgettable solely by virtue of its name. In application, it was disappointing, though supremely self-descriptive. If you hadn’t picked this up yet, this account is going to be about food at least 50% of the time.
            Disappointing was also a word which could be used to describe the flight, once were finally permitted to board. It was, without a doubt, one of the most uncomfortable 5.5 hours my life. Not for the obvious reason, necessarily, such as poor seating, but rather the smell. You see, I believe that someone in our vicinity had apparently eaten several tubs of kidney beans, about 2 pounds of broccoli, and an entire turkey to round out the pre-flight meal. That is the only explanation for the sheer amount of methane gas he or she was excreting. My nose begged for mercy and my eyes watered incessantly. I was also astounded by the amount of traffic down the center aisle of that moderate-sized aircraft. I suspect there was some sort of party in the back of the plane that I had not been invited to. Having been deposited in the aisle seat, I was constantly obliged to move out of these passers by’s way.
            Sweet relief finally came when we touched down at Lihue International Airport, Kauai. The cold weather had been left behind, as had the pungent odors of the airplane’s cabin. Replacing them, were, sunny warm air, and the smells of exotic flowers. Accompanying them, to my complete surprise, came an armada of chickens. This is not hyperbole, and I’m not exaggerating in any way. There are chickens everywhere.
            As soon as we got moving along, baggage stowed, rental car…rented, we made a trip to Costco. The chickens were there too, it wasn’t a fluke. We sat and ate hotdogs in the outdoor food court, and watched the males of the species chase the obligatory pigeons around the parking lot. It was like witnessing a primitive avian race war. At that point, my entire Hawaiian experience had been rather surreal. I would have been happy if the trip to Costco had been the entire extent of the trip. Of course, this was before I knew of the joys Hawaii could bring. We were staying in a condo, the classification of what made it so still elude me, so groceries were needed. As always, the shopping trip took too long, but we did score some liquor and coffee. Woohoo!
            The drive to the condo, which was literally on the other side of the island, took a little over an hour. The day already seemed like an eternity, since gaining 3 hours on the trip. After settling in, and getting some air flowing through place, (it felt like a sauna (okay, I actually don’t know what a sauna feels like)) we took a walk down to the beach about a quarter mile away. After a walk down a treacherous, muddy hill, through terrain that looked like it belonged in a Jurassic Park movie, we emerged suddenly, wide-eyed, on a white, sandy beach, like a family of bewildered mole-people looking at a sunrise for the first time. In all seriousness, it was a unique experience, and one I am glad I had. Though, I could have lived without seeing what appeared to be some variety of shirtless, beach-dwelling hobo, sitting in a tide pool, playing his out-of-tune ukulele. His lifestyle was…oddly enviable though, because you could easily imagine that the activities we viewed him engaging in, were the ones which he engaged in primarily. We left the beach, regrettably not to return throughout the duration of our stay, and labored up the hill until we finally stood atop it, breathless but absurdly victorious, like a group of out-of-shape Stay Puft marshmallow men, with skin-tone to match.
            When we got back to the condo, I made a distressing discovery: the power supply for my laptop was nowhere to be found. I surmised that it must have been left in the Best Western back in Oakland. With no hope of obtaining another until the trip was over, most of the family huddled around it, witnessing its dying moments, like bums gathered around a fire in a trash-can. Its resilient battery put up an inspiring struggle, but it eventually succumbed to the inevitable. Time of death: 8:05 P.M.
            I was sharing a room with Lead Quail’s fiancé. It had…interesting décor, and a pair of children’s beds. Both of them would have likely been big enough for one of us, but at this point, after having been awake for at least 17 hours, I went right to sleep to the melodious sound of night insects and wind blowing through the palm trees.

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