Monday, December 06, 2004

The Hawaii Diaries - Day Two

Kona sunset Posted by Hello

Sheraton lobby Posted by Hello

Keahou sunset Posted by Hello

Mauna Loa pool Posted by Hello

Saturday, November 20

Everyone was up early; Dad at 4:30 am, which is bad because it meant an early bed time and a sleepy day. But the jet lag is hard to overcome.

I actually managed to start the day with an hour of fairly rigorous yoga on my own. This was the only normal form of exercise I got while in Hawaii, other than golf and snorkeling. I found a hip-hop station on the radio and did a lot of sun saluations, adding some extra lunges here and there, and doing some floor poses. I fantasized about becoming an ashtanga yoga teacher in Hawaii. I would write my novel in the afternoons, sitting on my flower bedecked patio overlooking the golf course. Or maybe I would become a golf pro instead. Too bad I am utterly horrible at golf. But I digress.

We ate breakfast on the patio or the lanai as Mom calls it. Our view was of hole number two of the Kona Country Club golf course. It was fun watching foursomes come by and tee off. Unlike us, most people could hit a decent tee shot without taking a mulligan. Dad said people were already coming through at 6:15 am.

I’m no morning person, but as I get older I’ve noticed that I don’t mind getting up early as much as I used to. On the other hand, I said I wouldn’t mind playing golf early and now I was stuck checking in for a round at 6:40 am the next day.

In the distance, we could see the Pacific Ocean. What is sort of crazy about Hawaii is how small it is compared to the huge ocean surrounding it. It’s amazing planes flying in the dark can even find the tiny island chain. One degree off course and you’d end up in Japan.

After breakfast, and my yoga, and everyone cleaning up and various wheeling and dealing by my dad, we ventured into town. Dad had been told that if we sat through a timeshare presentation, we could get deals on various activities around Kona, so he was figuring that out with the concierge while Mom and I got organized.

The day was bright and sunny, with clouds clinging to the top of the nearby volcanic mountain range. Little beachy shops lined the main thoroughfare and small waves crashed on black-lava beaches. By 10:30 am, people already were frolicking in the surf. I wanted to be one of them.

The downer of the morning was that we found a woman in town who also sold timeshare presentations. In exchange, you got even better deals on various activities than we could get through Bebe at our complex, particularly a small airplane ride to see the volcano and waterfalls, but also on golf, snorkeling and other stuff. It seemed worth checking out.

Paulette, Ms. Timeshare, clearly had smoked a little too much Maui Wowie in her day. Fingers bedecked with every sort of jeweled ring, she explained everything in detail at least five times. She spoke in a business-like voice, but couldn’t remember anything we told her. Common sense eluded her. It took her three separate phone calls to rebook our golf reservation and she had to ask us at least three times how many rounds of golf we wanted to play. (Three people, three rounds. This is not brain surgery.) After about five minutes of Paulette, Mom and I wandered into the nearby ABC Shop and started buying touristy things like snorkel shoes, underwater cameras and small packs of macademia nuts.

After a while, we checked back to see if Dad was done, and he wasn’t. Paulette was explaining something for possibly the tenth time. She was getting more annoying by the moment. I am not helpful in situations like this. I have no patience anyway, and less patience for people who process information too slowly. I just wanted Paulette to make an appointment to see the time-share presentation, book our golf reservation at a discount and get on with it. But it was not to be that easy.

After an hour of so with Paulette, our negotiating was finally done. Everyone wanted a fruity drink anyway, but at that point we desperately needed one. Paulette was exhausting. At one point, Dad wanted to just bail her altogether, partly because he felt badly that he had to cancel his similar contract for a timeshare presentation with Bebe, the nice concierge at our place, but by now we were too far into the whole thing to bail. I convinced him to stick with it since we were about 80% there by this time, and we proceeded on.

Activity plans finally in hand, we went to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for lunch. A chain, the restaurant sits right on the shore. We sat at a table with waves crashing below us, and the sun beating on our backs. Finally, parents with chi-chis in hand, and me with a really big margarita, we were in Hawaii.

That afternoon, Mom and I fell asleep by our unit’s little pool. When we got up, I wanted to go on a walk, and Mom came with me.

Mom and I went walking around sunset. We went to the nearby docks and saw the sun descend into the vast ocean under a pink, red and orange sky. Locals and guys in their mid-thirties who long ago should have moved to the mainland and gotten a real job (or who are maybe smarter than the rest of us because what's so great about the mainland anyway?) were washing their boats and finishing up their day with tourists before heading off to the local watering hole. We randomly came upon the birthplace of King Kameahmea III, which was located in an overgrown tropical garden. Apparently no one was too concerned with the legacy of King Kameahea, just stuck back there as it was behind the dive shop parking lot.

On the way back to our place, Mom and I checked the giant new Sheraton resort that had just been built nearby. We went up to explore it and found an open lobby overlooking lava-flowed beaches. A giant, endless pool filled up the middle of the hotel, with waterfalls, a good long water slide and even a beach leading into the pool. I knew where I was going to spend my time when I wasn’t on the golf course, the snorkel boat or the beach. The pool was huge and the hotel was uncrowded. Who would notice that I wasn’t a guest?

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