So here I am again: moving around aimlessly, on a journey with no obvious mission, not knowing what I am doing or why I am doing it. So nothing much has changed really.
Of course this is much more sedate journey than I usually take. I am sitting in a hotel room in San Jose waiting to take a morning flight out to Kailua Kona on the Big Island of the state of Hawaii which is oddly enough called –Hawaii. I have a condo rented there for five weeks which will effectively take me through the holiday season and through what is habitually a foggy five weeks in the valley. Actually the weather has been so foggy and overcast that I am really glad to have made my getaway.
I am travelling alone which is not a new thing for me. Taking an airplane any where is a new thing because I truly despised the airline industry. It will be a miracle if the TSA does not sense this and lock me up on general principles. I am sure it will be an adventure.
I did manage to get my neighbor Nick, who steals from me while I am gone, to give me a ride to San Jose. We managed to get two good looking babes to make the trip with us to the airport but we had to buy them dinner and feed them booze. Whatever works. Nick is married to one and I am dating the other so it did not take that much food or booze.
I have no particular agenda when I get to Kailua Kona. I am not taking any language lessons, not looking for Margarita Ville or out looking for kicks of any kind. I think I may just sit under a banyan tree with my people and watch the waves lick the shore. Or more likely I will find something to get into. Come along and see how it turns out.
After a pleasant night’s rest I got a cab to the San Jose airport and went through the dreaded TSA x-ray machine. I am due for a whole body PET scan so I thought I would ask them for the negatives just to save me a few bucks. Funny. They don’t seem to get my sense of humor. At least I am not on my way to prison where I would have to play drop the soap with some shower mate named ‘Bubba’.
Once we boarded we had a pretty uneventful flight toHonoluluwhich is what you want on an over the ocean flight-uneventful. After spending 16 days on a train this past summer a five hour flight seemed like a piece of cake. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons though: A plane is quieter and faster. A train has better scenery and a more varied clientele. I did not have to buy a ticket for my bag on a train. The food was better on a train. It is more comfortable on a train. I could eat whenever I wanted on a train. I did not have to have an x ray to get on a train. So what it pretty much boils down to is that a plane is quieter and faster. And, oh yeah, planes go toHawaii, trains don’t. So there is that. While there may be underground railroads, I don’t think there are any underwater railroads that go as far asHawaii. I think they stop in San Francisco.
I arrived in Honolulu at about 1 PM, landing on an overcast afternoon. Once I got off of the plane I had to make my way over to the ‘Overseas’ terminal. I am not sure if I am the first one to notice this but all flights out of Hawaii and inside of Hawaii are ‘overseas’. There is also an interstate highway in Hawaii but I think that is there just so they don’t feel left out. It must hold the record for being the shortest interstate highway in the US but I will have to fact check that.
I then took an ‘overseas’ flight from Oahu to Hawaii landing in the lava fields of Kailua-Kona just north of town. I had made arrangements to have a shuttle pick me up and they were there waiting with my name on a sign. That was so cute.
A short ride to town and the search was on for the condo complex I was staying at. Kona is a pretty small town but there are a lot of condos but most are rather small by Hawaii standards and fairly low lying. With the help of my shuttle driver we found the place and I got the key out of the lock box and made my way up to the 7th (top) floor and managed to unlock the door. I tried to unlock the door of the condo next door unsuccessfully for several minutes until I realized, in a cold sweat, that I was working on the wrong door.
The condo is a pleasant surprise. While it is 1970’s vintage and cheaply constructed as most of these ½ million dollar condos are, the location could not be better. It is a one bedroom two bath model with a rather large living room. There is a loft upstairs that leads to this rooftop deck that overlooks the ocean and my second favorite place to eat-Outback Steakhouse. On the main floor there is the master bedroom and two tiny tiny bathrooms and a deck that overlooks the ocean and my first favorite place to eat, Bubba Gump’s. The sound of the ocean is constant and the sea breezes cool the place as there is no air conditioning. When I step out the front of the condo I am on Alii Drive pretty much in the middle of town. This is good since I don’t have a car and I want to see how long I can go without one.
After putting my stuff away I went off for a walk. Once I got to the banyan tree I realized I was home again and figured I could pretty much stay here for a long time. We will see how that plays out because my stay here will be my longest in any place other than my home. I usually get itchy feet pretty fast.
I had a beer at Poncho Lefty’s and then wandered down to Bubba’s to watch the sun set and have some of there shrimpin dippin stuff which is really good and will probably make my arteries as hard as trigonometry within a week. I am going to limit my visits there as the food there is good but deadly.
Waking up in paradise
So I got up pretty early for Hawaiian time but my body clock is still running on PST. O h well. I made myself some coffee and did a little computer work.
Then a sudden realization came over me-I needed food. I have made a terrible oversight on this trip because I forgot to bring someone along that would go and get food and bring it to me so I could eat it. Last year around this time I was in Mexico with just such a person who we will call Karen B. to protect her identity. She would go out every day on a hard target search for the day’s food. Then she would come home and prepare it. She claimed to like doing that and I was not going to tell her she shouldn’t.
But today I had to go out and forage on my own. So I took an early morning hike to the shopping center which is ¾ mile away and got some basic items. Prices in the stores are a bit of a shock at first. But then I noticed that if you join their savings club you get about 30% off of everything. I think most tourists would not bother to join. And then a half gallon of milk is $4 while a gallon of milk is about 50 cents more. So there is a two tier system here: one geared to the week long tourist and one geared to the permanent resident. After 15 hours I consider myself one of the latter. I don’t think I will ever go back to the mainland.
I made another trip as I can only carry so much at one time in my little backpack. I went a different direction and came upon that mecca of low cost shopping-Walmart. It is pretty much like any other Wal mart and there were any number of Walmartians in the place but that is to be expected. I picked up a few more things most notably a four pack of beer for $7.47.
I made my way back to the condo and went for a swim in the pool and drank my beer. The rest of the day I just wasted.