Saturday, October 27, 2007

Aloha! Days 5 and 6

No, it's not me wondering what that black spot is doing floating next to me. It's ... well, I'm not entirely sure. I'm channeling my father a bit here, I think. But it's definitely me in Oahu on a beach that had lots of jellyfish washed up on shore (and therefore we weren't swimming... unlike the image below of what quickly became my favorite beach):

But it was now about time to say goodbye to island #1, which I was feeling kind of happy about simply because I really wanted to get my butt to Maui and just not have to return to Waikiki. That's not to say that Oahu wasn't great, of course. I mean, after all, I'd swam with sea turtles and Ryan picked beautiful, sweet-smelling flowers to put in the rental car as we drove the hills above the city to get a bird's eye view of the southern part of the island:

We also spent time at the tourist spot of Hanauma Bay, which is a popular place for everyone who comes here to snorkel and, as Jessica says, "find Nemo" over and over again. Sadly, the wind was a bit intense, which made the snorkeling a bit difficult. Still, what a gorgeous place:

I have to admit, though, that Maui was *much* more my speed--fewer people, a bit more dramatic in its landscape, with a combination of fantastic beaches and volcanos, cliffs, and lush landscape. After getting our car at the Kahului airport (a PT Cruiser--the stupidest car around. Apparently, you can't get much smaller when you rent from Thrifty!) and checking in to the Sunseeker, a gay-owned small motel in Kihei, we made a bee line for the nearby beach and jumped in the water and watched the sun set through the clouds. But first Ryan did the quintessential Hawaii pose:

The water was much more gentle here, with Kihei being slightly less overrun by resorts and faux luaus that you'd find further up the west end of the island near Lahaina, etc. Ryan had lived here for a while about 10 years ago, so he knew where to go--and exactly what I would find appealing--namely, fewer screaming children and horrible tourists.

We made a plan to make a full-day adventure the next day by getting up early and driving the road to Hana. Anyone who's done this (or even heard of it), knows it takes hours to drive the winding, two lane highway across the north end of Maui to get to the wet side of the island--which becomes more and more like a jungle the further along you go. Ideally, of course, one would stay the night over there and explore to his or her heart's content, but the lodging options if you're not camping are very limited. Still, I wanted to see all of the waterfalls (not to mention all of the otherr PT Cruisers), as well as the black and red sand beaches, which have held my fascination for the nearly 25 years I've been reading about them).

We stopped in Haiku at a hippie vegetarian restaurant to get sandwiches and were on our way pretty early.... the road putting even California's Highway 1 between Cambria and Big Sur to shame. It was impossible to do more than 20 miles an hour most of the time. Still, the views along the way were sometimes breathtaking.

Once we finally made it to the Hana side, the skies were gray and rainy, but it hardly mattered. This was wild, volcanic jungle, dotted with the aforementioned exotic beaches, which, in person, were nearly mystical.

Rayn at the black sand beach (where the water was really kind of out of control... we didn't dare go in (esp me, given all the "Danger: Portugese Man-O-War" signs)

Me in the water at the red sand beach, which you can only really access by trespassing on land owned by the Hotel Hana Maui--which we didn't feel so bad about. Only a few people were there, and it was like a volcanic grotto/cove:

I wished we could have stayed here and enjoyed a sunny day and overnight, but the rain came down in sheets soon after we stopped swimming and collecting shells and sea glass (of course). We waited it out in the "general store," which reminded me of awesome out-of-the-way places we used to stop at on road trips in Oregon and Wshington.

I didn't get to see nearly enough of this part of Maui, so all the better for me to come back, right?

When the rain cleared we turned and headed back west, me determined to make it to Kahului before it was completely dark. The last thing I wanted was to be on that road in the pitch black. I mean memories are all well and good, but me in a PT Cruiser on the Hana Highway at night. Um, no thanks!

Happily, we made it back to the dry side before it was too treacherous. Just enough time to find food, hit the beach, and go to sleep.

p.s. some pics were scanned by Krista for me... though I guess the scanner was a tad, um, dusty... ;)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Well, It's About Time

Lesley's blog is up (and linked on the right). I keep telling her: "One-woman show. One-woman show," but of course she ignores me.

More on Hawaii soon!


Friday, October 19, 2007

Two Minutes Later....

Now Lesley says she'll send the URL to me, but reads the previous post and decides she WON'T send it to me after all. Is this what abusive relationships are like?

Lesley Is Withholding Valuable Information


Lesley finally lets slip that she's starting a blog and won't give me the URL because it's apparently "not done."

Hurry up. I have to read it and listen to you edit it obsessively.

Stay tuned for the link.... I'm sure her blog will be awesome. If anyone read her "Hey there, Yaz fans!" piece that I reposted here, then you know what I mean.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Aloha! Days 3-4

The joy of Oahu is being able to see anything outside of Honolulu. Once I'd put Band-Aids on my toes after being slashed open by the coral at Queen's Beach near Waikiki I felt more than ready to see the rest of the island. Since Ryan's friend Leslie had lived here and he'd spent some time visiting her, we hit several beaches he knew on the Windward Coast, exploring different little stretches of usually deserted sand (a lot of tourists simply don't come here, even though it's all of 30-40 minutes from the city). Even on the not so spectacular beaches (which means it's still beautiful), we found lots to stare at and I took "arty" pictures of coconuts.

As we got closer to the North Shore, Ryan essentially started salivating because he knew that we were getting closer to his favorite shrimp truck, so I watched as he devoured garlic shrimp in about 5 minutes. I should have gotten a picture of the paper plate loaded with shrimp and giant chunks of garlic, but for some reason I left the camera in the car, so I settled getting a shot of the truck, which clearly illustrates just how beloved this thing is:

The North Shore is, of course, as gorgeous as I thought it would be. But it was also less populated than I imagined. For such a famous surf spot, I assumed there would be a ton more resorts and houses, but really, aside from the inlfux of daytrippers like us, it's fairly quiet. And at this time of year, before the giant waves start crashing on the reefs offshore, the beaches are actually quite gentle. Sunset Beach, in fact, barely had any waves at all, which was great in one respect, because we could take turns strapping on my goggles and diving down to the sandy bottom near the shore and collecting shells (one of which, of course, I learned later, was so pretty because it usually is home to a highly poisonous creature that, had it been home when I grabbed it, probably would have fucked me up big time; leave it to me!). Of course, we both ended up getting stung by tiny jellyfish that you can't even see. It felt like a bee sting, and poor Ryan got one stuck in the leg of his swimsuit, lashing his skin a few times before moving on.

Nursing our stings/bites we jumped back in the car to grab food and eat at Waimea Bay and watch the sun go down, which was beautiful, natch. And the next day we came back up here to get shaved ice at Matsumoto's (so worth it) and swim some more, this time getting to watch as a giant sea turtle swam right underneath us, very very close to shore. The turtles are absolutely beautful and awe-inspiring. It's no wonder Hawaiians afford them a place of honor in their culture.

Heading further out toward the Northwest point of the island, Ryan took me to a favorit beach of his, which, at first, was windy and almost cold, but, as the day wore on, became much more hospitable, and we wandered the sand, combing for sea glass and watching eight different sea turtles come in close to shore to look for food and rub their shells on the coral and rocks. And again, we saw maybe four other people on the beach. Apparently, it's a locals spot, so tourists don't make it out there often.

Where the road ends here, however, the landscpe becomes more rugged, with the rocks running down from the mountains out to the ocean. Obviously a big party spot, it was a bit trashed, which was too bad, but the coastline views made up for it.

I have no idea what I was doing when Ryan took this picture by the way (but at least I look better in the one following):

And of course, I had to get this shot, because even in paradise, who doesn't love their own bottle of Black Velvet?

We didn't drink it, for the record.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Get Up (Everybody)

It's 8 am on a rainy morning in San Francisco, where I've been working for almost 2 weeks. I am kind of cranky, maybe slightly hungover from gimlets last night. I spent 30 minutes walking back to my hotel last night on the phone with Susan, making her listen to me as I bought Ryan a beer cozy at Walgreen's (because what shows your love for someone more than that?). On the phone with her, I remember why I adore her so much, and what a shame it is that we do not see each other more.

So, today, at 8 am I inexplicably hear in the elevator at my hotel Salt N Pepa's "Get Up (Everybody)," which is now almost 20 years old, and which Susan and I can probably rap to in tandem with them we know it so well, and it made me laugh. Four women in their 60s were in the elevator with me and looked kind of horrified, which made me laugh harder. The day has started well....

More Hawaii pics when I finally get back to L.A.