Saturday, October 13

Day 280 — Sand

[for Sunday, Oct. 7]


Sunday morning we rolled out of bed at a perky 3:30 in anticipation of Courtney and Mel's departure to China for their nine-month backpacking adventure. The ride to the airport was dark and somber, especially for Amber, who's obviously worried about Courtney's safety and sanity during that time in a land of varied cultures and customs and laws.

Mel's dad dropped the four of us off at the airport, and Amber and I took a shuttle to the car-rental place to retrieve our transportation for the remainder of the trip. We returned, picked up the duo, and ate breakfast at some outdoor greasy spoon near the airport. Time rolled up for us to bid the jet-setters farewell. They were palpably nervous. Excited, too, of course, but there is so much paperwork and trepidation involved when it comes to visiting another country. Especially with all your earthly belongings strapped to your back.

Hugs and well-wishes, and then Amber and I took off toward the sunrise, toward our hotel room in Waikiki. We knew check-in wouldn't come for several more hours (it was probably only 7 a.m. by then), but the desk clerk said we could park in the lot and come back at 9 to check in. So we stuffed our bathing suits in our bags and headed for the beach, which was a brisk two or three blocks from the hotel.

Amber snagged a surf board (this time $20 for the whole day) and her peddler graciously gave us a beach chair to share. We picked a spot that we were told would be swallowed by the tide come noon or one, and spread out our stuff as generously as possible so as to bogart the prime real estate and ward off fellow tourists.

Amber waxed her board with two tiny chunks of wax, and I applied sunscreen to my reddened shoulders and laid back in the chair with my zoom lens readied. And oh, the lovely shots I was afforded that morning.

I watched the tide closely as it inched closer and closer to the edge of our towels. It was like a strange and elaborate dance, back and forth, and all I could think about (in my jetlagged state) were the mathematical equations that likely determined the reach of the waves upon each sandy slosh. Something about the moon, something about magnets, something about light. I wished emptily for a fruity drink but figured the beach was alcohol free. It was just as well; it was barely 10 a.m. anyway.

By noon, there were people crammed in and around our camp site. I had made two trips into the water to commune with the salt. Each time, I turned toward the shore to keep my eye trained on our stuff; at any moment either the tide or some asshole could take it from us, and I wasn't about to go bounding across the beach in my saggy swimsuit.

The tide finally swallowed our camp site near noon, so we packed up and headed back to the hotel, where we checked in and found our room to be squeal-inducingly awesome, with color-coordinated linens and bathrobes and fabulous windows and a microwave and dishes and a flat-screen TV and a beautiful view and a real plant on the table. We showered and rested a bit before taking to the street to find an outdoor café within walking distance, which was harder to find than you'd think. We ducked in and out of shops and wished that we were rich and without consumer constraints like banks that go apeshit if you overdraw your account.

That night we came back out to the beach to catch the sunset.

pink and orange

I suppose it was like any other sunset — colorful and calm — but there is a kind of magic to a sunset in Hawaii. People come out just to see it. They have a ceremony on the beach every night to commemorate it. I dunno, I figure we could use that kind of enthusiasm in everyday life for everyday sunsets.

We lucked out and got to watch a traditional hula show on the beach. The rain rolled in a couple of times and scattered people all over the place, leaving us with their primo seats. I got quite teary-eyed at the sight of one older woman's dancing. She was introduced as a mentor of sorts, and someone who was quite the dancer in her day. As we watched her move with grace and poise through her routine, it was clear that she still had that spark in her. Her eyes shone, her mouth spread in a perpetual smile.

Project 365

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