Saturday, January 30, 2010

Kaua'i - day 1

My flight left at 10:30 this morning. At the airport, I was nervous. I hate going to new places by myself, a trait I inherited from my father's habit of doing "dry runs" for everything. I remember the weekend before my first "real job" out of college. I was back home in Boca Raton, and a headhunter helped me find an "editorial assistant" position at American Media Co. (yes the place where the anthrax was sent).
I worked for the editor of Globe magazine. Before I began the mind-numbing job of answering phones, taking the editor's dog for walks and picking up dry-cleaning, my father wanted me to find the building so I wouldn't be late on my first day. I did this to appease him. Although I wish I was late the first day, and even fired the first day (the firing came later, as I treated the job as seriously as I felt it was serious), I became accustomed to the dry-run.

I sat with my iced coffee as I waited for the boarding to begin. I couldn't help but eavesdrop on my neighbors' conversations. A random guy, a little older than I, befriended an older woman and her husband, who was mostly silent as he sat in his wheelchair. They talked about finding God (he was a recovering drug addict) while I read Foucault's Discipline and Punish. The more I read, the less I believed in any sovereign power. A pigeon, which was hiding beneath an abandoned wheelchair, was scared away by an older Midwestern man, who asked the bird, "What the hell are you doing over there?" The pigeon's privacy being invaded coupled with the single Japanese man who was trying to photograph the bird, made him flee. And soon enough, it was my turn.

I am fairly convinced that the woman sitting next to me, and the women seated in the entire row behind me worked for MTV, or were trying to. They seemed like reality TV stars. Maybe I will find out one day with the arrival of the new season of The Hills (my guilty, but not guiltiest pleasure). After a short 25 minutes flight, I landed in Lihue and hopped a bus to get my rental car--a white PT Cruiser--the ultimate tourist car of Hawaii. A little embarrassed, I drove away in the plumeria and ketchup spattered vehicle, for a little adventure, alone, not knowing where I was or what I should do. I couldn't check in to the Sealodge until 3pm. It was noon.

I made my way through the airport traffic to the "historic" Kapaa town where I parked and walked. I made some friends at the Country Moon Rising Bakery, where I bought oatmeal cookies, a green mango smoothie, and a tofu sandwich--all delicious. I met a clerk at the Hemp clothing store who gave me advice on "secret beaches" I should see on my way to Princeville, my destination. After walking around the town some more, I decided it was time to move on.

I stopped at the Kilauea Lighthouse (pictures to to come) as it started to pour. The rain didn't stop me or other tourists from taking snapshots of the grey sky hovering over the lighthouse in the distance. I failed to see any whales, manatees or seals, but I was thoroughly satisfied with the panoramic view: a cliff knifing down a pool of reef and turquoise. I thought of the time I drove the California coast with Evan and Jonathon. This time I was alone, but for some reason, less terrified.

I drove onward to Anini Beach Park, which wasn't difficult to find, but difficult to find its end. I figured the beach wrapped around the entire residential area, and parked at what seemed like a lookout point. The rain became violent as I walked over roots and branches to get to the shore. The sand there is gold and rough, and the shore is short as it leads to heavy basalt rocks that make the water look clunky. I walked along the coastline watching the waves grow and die. It was only as I left that I realized I was on the edge of a rainforest.

I stopped again at little shops before getting to Princeville. The condo I rented is set between multi-million dollars home and wild roosters. The interior is decorated with island furniture that reminds me of a placed I stayed in Key West. The place is much bigger than my studio back in O'ahu. I can sprawl out, spread my loneliness towards kitchen, the bedroom, the living room, the bathroom and the porch, and that feels good. I am on a hill--a mountain, rather--and can see the ocean kick around the shoreline. I hope to catch the sunrise in the morning, but for now I am tired, all-Foucault-ed out, and ready to spend the day tomorrow writing at Hanalei Bay. I'm not sure how to get there without a dry-run. It's wet here, anyway.

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