Jul 17, 2009

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Got up around 10:00 A.M. feeling good but jet lagged. Got cleaned up, shaved (including my head), made a pot of coffee, opened up the lanai doors and sat outside smelling the ocean breeze.

Since we have a big mini-fridge I made my first excursion down to the local "ABC" store and bought 60 bucks worth of groceries and other needed items (sunscreen etc..), and went back to the hotel and had a breakfast of salami and crackers. Afterwards the jet lag hit and I took a nap for a couple more hours. By noon-thirty; I woke up again put on my swimming stuff and made the 7 minute walk through the heart of Waikiki and hit the beach. Beach theft is a big problem here, so I sat near a family of southern rednecks for a long time, just watching the waves, surfers, and those crazy Japanese (they shouldn't wear swimsuits...even the pretty ones...they do not have asses). I asked the redneck mama where she was from, "Kentucky" she said. "I used to live in Ashland when I was a kid" I mentioned. "Yeah, my son in law is serving 18 months in the Ashland penitentiary for being a felon with a weapons charge". "Amazing" I exclaimed. "My son in law is in a Texas prison for the same thing". By then we were friends, so I asked if I could leave my stuff near their stuff, so I could go swimming and not have my clothes stolen. They protected my stuff like only true southern friends would.
Most Utahans would have said "No, I don't want the responsibility" or "Why are you talking to me in the first place"? Don't mean to disrespect the Utah folks, but it seems that the farther south you go, the more hospitable people get. I will make Montana a big exception to this theory. But in South Texas, Louisiana, Mexico, and now Hawaii, I can smell the hospitality in the air. In the Northern climes, where people had to work their asses off to farm a bit, they seem to be less accommodating. Most Texans will loan your their cars, shirt off the back, wives, whatever... But a German, Swede, or New Englander, says, "why don't you have your own shirt in the first place"? It has to be a cold weather thing, since the Thai people are much more giving than the Chinese to the north, and the Kentuckian's are more sharing than those in Utah.

Now that I made this bold and general statement. Yes I know that your uncle "Fred" from Scandinavia, helped this and that and blah blah blah... But think about it; assuming you've been and lived in all these climates. Yes there all always exceptions: But go down south for a while and you will see what I'm talking about.

The other side of my postulation: People in the Northern climes do not steal so much. I have another theory about hospitality. Societies and cultures that feel free to borrow from one another also have a theft problem. In Utah, I never lock my doors or secure my possessions, I could leave a $100 dollar bill on my front porch and no one will take it! In Texas people "borrowed" things from me all the time.. In Hawaii, and in most of Polynesia...... PEOPLE WILL BORROW FROM YOU. But if you BORROW from them, they don't really care to much because it's all "PUPULE'". My daddy taught me never to "borrow" without asking or returning, back in the 6Th grade. I've never "BORROWED" again. But I'm not sanctimonious about it either.

I jumped in the cool water of the Pacific Ocean for the first time. It was quite fun, but a bit crowded. As much as I like the idea of a private beach I find the crowds quite entertaining; except for the cheesy teenager that almost ran over me with a surf board. I decided not to take my chances with the tropical sun (and I brought a nice tan with me), so I headed back to the hotel room to take another nap. I did get a little burned, with my shirt only off for 30 minutes. Tomorrow, the sun screen will come on.

This nap was only for an hour, and now the jet lag is over, so I took a very long walk though Waikiki, searching for the famous "International Market". After two miles of searching I found the place only 3 blocks from my hotel. But it was nice to see the backstreets, little old houses, tourists, locals, azaleas, hibiscus bushes, and many other interesting things. The international Marketplace was a bit of a disappointment. Instead of the 3rd world markets I've seen in Mexico City and Chile, this one was a bit "tinkely winkely" but it was international with Polynesians, Filipino's, Vietnamese, Koreans, and Japanese all selling the same tourist crap; in a "Dolly Wood" looking setting. I wanted to see pigs and goats getting slaughtered or something cool. The upside to the International Market was the food court. There was little inexpensive food stalls with all the cuisine of the aforementioned ethnicity's. I paid 7 bucks for a bowl of miso soup with an 18 piece sushi roll lunch! I love miso soup, one of these days I'll look up what's in it..... on second thought... I don't want to know, because it's bound to be weird or disgusting.

After the Market place I was stuffed so I decided to go back to the hotel and read or write (which I did both). Unfortunately, I got a sort of lost and walked another 3 miles before I realized that the market was 3 blocks from my hotel. (adding more later stay tuned)

After I wrote this last diatribe (whatever a "diatribe" is), I went to the local "ABC" store and bought a 6 pack of Budweiser for 6 dollars, in order to have a few at the jacuzzi. My shoulders are aching from last weeks swimming, my back is aching from the plane trip, and recently my leg feel like spaghetti from the miles of walking today. The hotel's jacuzzi is adjacent to the hotel and bar, with a 1st class pool that sports an island with a giant palm tree on it! For a budget hotel, this pool is nicer than any 4 or 5 star I've ever seen. But I was all about the jacuzzi, and since I'm poor I BYOB'd it. Crazy: But in one of the nicest pool settings on the island, I was the only one at this particular time! I fired the 9 by 9 foot jacuzzi up, and the jets came to life, like the Pratt and Whitley's of a 747!!! SHEESH, THIS IS A REAL JACUZZI! Probably built in the 50's like the rest of the place, this is one quality bastard! 12 folks could sit in this tub and all would get a full body massage in 10 minutes!

I stayed in there for at least an hour, it was dark, the beer was cheap, and on this "extremely crowded" island: I was the only one in this gorgeously landscaped, huge, pool area.

Then it happened. A maintenance man came in and was checking things out. I got out of the jacuzzi and asked for a towel (so as not to inundate the lobby floor on the way back to my room), he brought me 3 towels for some reason. I put two in the towel rack and kept one nearby, because they were soon to close the pool area. I got back in the jacuzzi, then a 40ish looking Japanese women casually walks up to the hot tub. I just closed my eyes and avoided any contact with her, so as not to cause discomfort (people seem to fear me, due to my size and mean look). She was wearing shorts and a T-shirt but no swim suit. I started to wonder about this, so I opened my eyes and said "Hi, how are you doing tonight?", I was totally sober, having just two or three beers all day long. She said "I have been walking all day and was thinking about getting into the jacuzzi". I replyed, "I have been walking all day as well, and I highly recommend it". "But they are closing the pool area in 15 minutes" she informed me. I was leaving anyway, so I said "Go get in why you can, you will feel much better". As I got out of the pool, I had the vibe that she was one of the managers, because you rarely see a Japanese woman, going to a pool alone at night time or anywhere during the day for that matter. But who knows? I do tend to over analyze things, I probably will know within the next two weeks (not that it matters). Hopefully she is single, alone, unattached, and appreciated the courtesy I gave her, by hauling my big carcass out of the Jacuzzi, so she could have it to herself. I didn't feel she was hitting on me. I just wanted to be polite, whether she was a customer or a manager. (more to come just stay tuned)!
The rest of the night was uneventful, I hung out in the hotel bar for a couple hours and talked to the local people. Most were converts from the United States. They were all quite wierd so I didn't spend much time with them.

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Went to bed around 5:00 A.M due to the one large strong cup of coffee from “Crumb Brothers” the previous morning. I woke 4 hours later to being a 14 hour odyssey in order to get to my hotel room here in Waikiki.

Spent 2 ½ hours taking the Cache Valley deathtrap shuttle to the S.L.C. Airport, This van
actually broke the million mile mark this day. No kidding, the driver was proud of it. Problem was that the chassis was totally shot. I could feel the front right wheel wobbling like a cheap shopping cart and every bump on the road felt like we were being hit by a freight train. The driver was a pretty cool 55 year old Mormon, who worked hard and didn't complain. The loud squeaks and groans the van made caused one old passenger to say “feed that bird and she'll stop squeakin'”. Overall, I had no sleep or breakfast, and just wanted to get to the airport in one piece. At one point the million mile wonder van was doing 90 miles per hour. I started to feel seasick.

We arrived at the SLC International airport with little time to spare, only to find some very long lines to stand through, before going through the near strip search. I boarded the tiny regional plane and wound up being stuck in a window seat, next to a very kind mafioso looking Italian guy with a Brooklyn accent. We were the only two people on the flight to have a drink. I swear this Joe Pesci looking dude was in organized crime, but with the lack of sleep, my imagination could have gone south on me.

Landing in Portland was interesting: Three big volcanos could be seen from the airport, giving Portland sort of a “Land of the Lost” type feel to it. If and when any of those mothers erupt, it would suck to be a Portlandite. After 3 hours sitting in the much nicer airport, we finally boarded the 757 heading toward Honolulu. By now we were 7 hours into this trip, I was tired, felt like hell, and the idea of throwing up in the barf bag was a definite possibility, while sitting in a hot plane on the tarmac waiting for the plane to leave. To make matters worse I was sitting next to a gorgeous blond chick in her early 20's (I tend to spill over both sides of the seat), and a gorgeous young mom with 2 year old kid in the seat across the aisle from me. Then there was the infant in the aisle seat in front of the other mother. Hear I am, trying not to vomit, while sitting by these lovely ladies, and two babies within 3 feet of my ears. Damn the cabin was hot as hell. Then the blond next to me kept hugging on a big Puerto Rican dude in the middle seat in front of her who was her boyfriend and a United States Marine! Usually, I would have switched seats with him, but I really needed the aisle seat in case I needed the restroom in a hurry. I just closed my eyes and focused on not getting sick. 30 minutes later, once in the air (thank god), the cabin cooled down, and I regained some of my equilibrium.

KNOCK! KNOCK! the hot chick tapped me on the head because she had to go to the can. Once she got back and we were acquainted, she was crackin' some funny jokes and acted like we have been life long friends! She was a very cool chick in spite of her perfect looks. The kid next to me turned out to be quite pleasant, and the baby in front of him was a golden baby who smiled a lot but never fussed. We had a couple drinks and the movie started. The movie has funny as hell and the blond kept elbowing me in the ribs whenever someone said something funny. 3 hours into the flight everything was great, while we all made our way to Hawaii. The Puerto Rican Marine was pretty cool, but I could sense that he didn't approve of the fun we were having. When we landed I thanked him for our service to our country and he seemed content with the respect I showed.

Before I left home, I decided to wear my wide-legged “ghetto jeans” that I bought at a Mexican boutique. I knew they were loose and comfy so I chose to wear them on the flights. Only problem was: I packed my belt in my checked baggage, but I wasn't worried, since the last time I wore them they stayed on OK. But since I've been swimming and eating Ramen, I lost about 2 pants sizes in my waist, so I had to do the “ghetto cinch” by holding two belt loops together with one hand while I walked. This normally wouldn't be an issue, but since I had two heavy carry on bags it was a pain. At one point, when I had to show my boarding pass while holding up my pants and carrying two bags, my pants started sliding fast. I had to drop the bags and grab my pants, while handing over the boarding pass, otherwise Mr. Barnes would have been standing in the airport with my pants dropped to my ankles, and all these Mormons would have seen the funky designs on my long legged briefs. This issue was even worse in Honolulu, when I had a 70 pound backpack, in addition to the carry on, while trying to hike the ¼ mile to get to the airport shuttle. While walking, I felt the “my zipper is down” breeze, and actually managed to zip up while struggling with these bags, and waving goodbye to the Blond and her boyfriend simultaneously. I managed to do it while only looking slightly stupid!

Our driver was a native Hawaiian women, who was very sweet, sturdy, and polite. She dropped me off at my hotel and wasn't mad that I had no cash to tip her. Then I got my room key, and struggled up to my room while trying to keep me pants up the entire way. Once I got to the room, I poured a whiskey, and sat out on the Lanai for an hour, entranced by the view of the Ala Moana Canal and the mountains in the distance. By this time it was 9:00 PM Hawaiian time (1 AM Mountain time), and the world is good again.

At 11:PM Hawaiian time I went to the very cool hotel bar (the locals hang out here), and hung out with the bartender for an hour or so. Turns out the bartender was from Maine, then went to college at UT Austin, before moving to Waikiki. He said he wasn't going back.