mango curry for lunch
Aloha! We're in Hawaii and have been for the past week. We flew into Honolulu and stayed the night there on the 1st, and in the morning on the 2nd we flew to Kona, on the Big Island. I like it here. Not enough to fantasize about moving to Hawaii [the humidity is giving me the world's worst hair, and also I have a heat rash, thanks to my northern European ancestry or something], but it's super nice to be here while back at home the temperatures are in the teens. Heh.
Oh, but here's something that's aggravating me about this place: People are walking around wearing ski hats and Ugg boots, and at the Target you wouldn't even know you were in Hawaii (if you can ignore the souvenir things and bounteous selection of flip flops) because they're selling all the stuff they do back on the mainland: Fleece pajamas, THERMAL UNDERWEAR, sweaters, etc. WTF, Hawaii? Are you aware that it's 85 degrees and humid? Oh, and yesterday, my hand to god, I heard a woman say, "Just a second; I need to get my sweater out of the car". She got that sweater (cardigan) and PUT IT ON while I was roasting like a dog in the hot sun. I just. What? How can you be cold?? I keep reminding myself these things are not my business, but it's not easy.
Anyway, yesterday I no doubt made a spectacle of myself as the worst snorkeler at the bay we went to. I had a LOT of trouble with the snorkel itself--it has this sort of valve thing at the top that closes when you dive underwater, except mine was closing when I was just trying to swim on top of the water, and the whole snorkel-breathing thing was panic making. Then Francisco (bless him) suggested I take off the snorkel and just use the mask, and that was a whole lot better. I mean, I had to do a lot of breath-holding, but at least I wasn't freaking out. And, AND we saw a sea turtle! What was funny about that is we saw it in the shallow water by a boat launch before we headed for the deep water and started swimming. I got a couple of hurried pictures of it (with part of my hand in the frame, such was my rushing) with the waterproof camera and I hope they turn out. After we got in the water, the turtle (probably the same one, anyway) swam by Francisco and brushed against him. They are so amazing. I hope we see more; we will definitely be doing a lot more snorkeling. We were planning to rent gear, but it was going to cost $70 each to rent for 2 weeks, so instead Francisco went to Costco and bought gear for us for $40 each. It's good gear, too, so this is what I would recommend for anyone coming here. Why am I still talking.
Tomorrow we're leaving Kona and heading over to Hilo. I have been promised [FRANCISCO] that this is where I will finally smell flowers all the time like I was led to believe [CATIE] would be the case in Hawaii. It's pretty dry on this side of the island, so I can see how flowers might prefer to grow on the other side, which is jungley and rain foresty.
So I know this is long and everything, but can I just talk for a minute about the lava? My god, the lava. We haven't seen the active lava flow (yet--that will be next week) but the old lava flows are just amazing. I love how you can look down a hillside and see exactly where the lava flowed, because on either side is green but the lava flow is all black and chunky. I mean, the whole island is a lava flow, but some of the flows are old and some are relatively new, and it's the new ones that are knocking me out. I have taken lots of pictures to foist on you when we get back. You are welcome.
Here are some randoms:
1) We went to a luau, as commanded by Hawaiian law, and we tried poi. Not only is it flavorless, it's actually a flavor vampire: It sucked all the natural tongue flavor off our tongues and made me sad that people once had to eat it for actual sustenance. Pretty color, though. Kind of purple, or maybe that was a trick of the light.
2) There's a school of spinner dolphins that hangs out in the ocean in front of our hotel. They put on a big show sometimes (they're doing it right this minute, in fact), leaping out of the water and shit. There's a boat out there with people watching, and these dolphins are attention whores. I love them.
3) Our hotel is situated on the water so that there's a little inlet on the balcony side, and the inlet gets good waves. All week we've been watching people surfing and boogie boarding there, and most of these people? Are 12 and 13 year old boys. It's tricky water, because there are big rocks out there, and a seawall, but these boys aren't having any problem with it. They're kind of amazing. I have photos and video, you'll be glad to know.
4) Today I managed to buy some flip flops that don't hurt my feet and I'm glad because I'd given up hope and the sandals I brought with me were uncomfortable. I had tried on multiple pairs of flip flops and they all hurt--my feet were rejecting them in the same way peoples' bodies reject transplanted organs. Now that I have finally experienced success I will be flip flopping all over this damn island.
5) We've taken to wearing earplugs while we sleep because otherwise the ocean crashing on the lava and seawall is too loud and wakes us up. This is a first world problem.
6) What is Not a first world problem is the jungle rot poor Francisco contracted on his feet almost immediately upon arriving here. It got worse and worse and last night he called the number on our insurance card and spoke to a nurse who consulted a doctor and told him he should see somebody. She told him what clinic to call and he called this morning and got seen pretty quickly. He left with an oral antifungal, an oral antibiotic, and some antibiotic cream. I hope his feet will heal up super quick, because he's finding walking around to be very uncomfortable. I'm really thankful for health insurance and thankful that our insurance provider has a reciprocal arrangement with Kaiser Permanente because that clinic will bill our company for the visit and for the medicines and we just had to kick in the co-pays. I'm happy not to have to hassle with reimbursements and whatnot.
Okay, so this was very long, but I've caught up now and can post shorter updates from now on. I hope you're enjoying your December.
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