Saturday, January 31, 2015
Upon the Hallowed Shore
Also known as, No Swimming for You.
We landed upon the steaming shore of Oahu, stepped off the plane, and began making immediate plans to join a nudist colony. Montana sweaters were cast aside and spat upon. It’s a good thing we didn’t have clippers, or we would’ve shaved our heads before even reaching the car rental.
As soon as we got in our car, we cranked the AC all the way to Arctic, so we could get lost in full comfort. That’s important.
If we’d only gotten lost once, or twice…..or even only three times, we probably would’ve made it swimming that day. But we had to pick up our Amazing Special Treat of homemade-from-scratch BBQ veggie shish-kebabs, plus meet to finalize the details and sound checks for the memorial.
Mom spent much of the trip explaining, as we wandered around involuntarily exploring, how very much the road system had changed since she was last there. They’ve added in all sorts of freeways and bypasses, mazes of ramps, swirls of over- and underpasses…it can be a little intimidating to the uninitiated. Especially since there’s a surplus of traffic and a shortage of exits. If you miss it, you’re going to see a fair amount of new territory before turning around. (On the other hand, if you miss the same exit more than once, you may be seeing familiar territory. It’s all relative.)
The freeways are a trifle different than what we’re used to in other ways, too. Not that there are any freeways very close to us, but the ones that are less distant are pretty much 75 mph. And you get on them, and you actually go 75 mph. The majority of Hawaiian freeways we went on had a speed limit of about 45. Some of the time you even got up to 45. If you’re comparing that to our idea of a freeway, it doesn’t look so good. But if you compare it to the previous system of painfully working your way through clogged surface streets and several million traffic lights, it’s quite an innovation.
So that if you miss your exit and have to go 10 miles before you can exit again, the 20-mile detour only takes you a little over a half an hour, even in rush hour. The traffic is a small price to pay for the experience of going to Paradise.
Despite the delicious in-flight vegetarian meal, we were starving by the time we landed—just after noon local time, and just past breakfast Montana Stomach Time. And what better place to go than Andy’s Sandwiches, a terrific little diner owned by former students of Grandma and Grandpa? There was no better place, so to Andy’s we went.
Mom and Tina got cucumber sandwiches so fat they had to be held together with decorative toothpicks. I ordered the burrito, which included a veggie meat so realistic that one customer had come back to complain angrily that her vegetarian meal wasn’t vegetarian. (Even though it was.)
After a few minutes, Andy himself stepped from behind the counter to talk to Tina and me a little more. He turned to me first. “Which one are you?”
Thinking he was about to serve our food, I answered, “I’m the burrito.”
There was a long pause. When my dear, loving sister could compose herself, she choked out, “No, he means WHO ARE YOU?” The whole rest of the meal, Certain People could be heard cackling to themselves. “I’m the burrito! Aaahahahaaaa.”
I maintain it was a perfectly understandable mistake.
Even though we didn't get to go swimming, at least we had a few moments to catch the sunset at the Ala Moana beach. I even got a few fun time exposures of some paddle boarders out on the calm ocean waters, and even more fun time exposures of Waikiki and Diamond Head.
With a great struggle, I kept my eyes open till shortly after midnight. Which was only 8:00 pm local time. Four-year-olds were just finishing their baths when I started snoozing. But it was dark, and that’s all I cared about.
Roused briefly by a burst of noise from the dorm students, I groggily wondered, “Don’t they even give them a curfew?” A few moments later, I remembered the four hour time difference, and that for them it was only 8:30. It’s going to be 2:00 am for me before they go to bed, was all I remember thinking before falling asleep again.