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Before | After

Someone said this is where I'll be

I got home late Wednesday night after almost a full day of traveling. And as happy as I was to see my little babies, I cried most of the morning before I took off for the Lanai airport because I did not want to come home. In the afternoon of my last full day there, I was hanging out for a bit at the bar next to the pool, after having had a lovely facial in the spa and a brisk snorkel in the morning in Hulopo'e Bay, and I met a woman from California who lived just up the way. She was in the process of selling her house, and her agent had told her to leave for a while while they showed it to someone. She had an amazing life story, and if I hadn't been leaving the next day, I could have had another invite to someone's place for dinner. In Kauai, I'd had an offer from someone I met to come to family luau, but I was leaving the next day. ::cries:: That would have been spectacular.

Since the hotel is a full service luxury resort, they pretty much do everything for you, including the shuttle, and they have special shuttles just for the airport and for transport to the other resort. They're all timed specifically for the different flights during the day. I mean, they have this whole thing down. My driver, Clyde, was raised on Lanai and he used to work the pineapple fields (well, the whole island was one big pineapple field), and he showed me a pic of his catch from the previous day's spearfishing -- quite a haul. When he found out I loved snorkeling, he told me it was too bad I was leaving, because he could have taken me spearfishing the next day, and made a point to make sure I come back and let him take me spearfishing. (I don't have the heart to tell him that I'll eat the fish, and I'll snorkel, but no way could I kill the fish.)

This is the nice part of traveling alone, the flipside of the feeling I had when I first got there of being lonely and a loser. People talk to you all the time, they want to bring you into their lives because they don't want you to feel left out or alone. Everywhere I've gone alone (and that's most of my travel), I've been invited to meals and bars and such with people, they've taken me on trips, and so on. I suppose I ought to feel wary or cautious, but I'm never wrong about my first impressions of people, and my instinct has never let me down yet.

Anyway, I got pretty sunburned from my two snorkeling trips, which made the trip home rather uncomfortable, what with luggage straps and seat belts and all that. I feel like such an idiot that it never occurred to me to buy a rashguard or a crappy t-shirt and maybe some board shorts to snorkel in, because I can't reach most of the spots on my back with sunscreen and most of it comes off anyway in the water. I lose track of time when I'm out there. For the first few minutes, I have a momentary panic every time I've snorkeled and it's really hard for me to control my breathing; the waves coming in to the beach were pretty heavy so getting knocked around going out and coming back in made me gulp in more sea water than I would have liked.

But it was worth it -- HUGE parrotfish, angel fish in all colors, things I don't even know what they are, some eels. I saw something large in the distance but wasn't able to get to it, I don't know if it might have been a ray or a turtle. They won't rent gear if the spinner dolphins are resting in the bay since it's protected, and that's their main sleeping place.

The Lanai airport is quite possibly the cutest airport in the world. It's soooo tiny that the idea of them having gates (I think there are six of them) is hilarious. It's all just one big waiting room. The security people don't even start until 10 a.m. If I could go through security for flying in a place like that every time, I wouldn't hate flying so much. I bought a lei when I got to Honolulu airport just because I never had a flower lei the whole time I was there; I keep taking it out and letting the plumeria scent waft around me. Most of the people around me in the wing I stayed in at Manele Bay had left by Tuesday, so I spent the night in almost complete silence out on my deck, reading and looking at the amazing stars.

I still haven't gone through my photos, though we did see quite a few of them Friday night up at Nicole's. I guess I took more than 500 photos? Yikes. Anyway, I'm trying to get back in the swing of things, but it has been hard -- I hate the way people act here now, the aggressiveness and the rudeness and the lack feeling. I immediately started looking at real estate prices in Kauai, but I don't think I can afford to buy something there that's even a quarter as nice as my house here. I just... I loved the pace of life, the attitudes, the friendliness. There's a concept there called "live aloha" that is something I wish I could do more of here -- I hate how easily I slipped back into getting angry at crappy drivers, about trying to get somewhere with terrible traffic. The Live Aloha program is explained in many places, but this is kind of what's at the core of it:

Aloha is the coordination of mind and heart . . . it's within the individual. It brings you down to yourself. You must think and emote good feelings to others.

A stands for AKAHAI, meaning kindness, to be expressed with tenderness.
L stands for LOKAHI, meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony.
O stands for OLU`OLU, meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness.
H stands for HA`AHA`A, meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty.
A stands for AHONUI, meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.

It was started when people felt that they were losing the spirit of aloha, that they weren't embodying the life of living in Hawaii, that community was being lost and family was being abandoned. If you've ever watched Lilo & Stitch, you know about ohana meaning family -- in Hawaii, that is really important. And family isn't just blood -- when I talked to people who'd grown up there, they were inviting me to be part of their families while I was there. It just really resonated with me, maybe because I have no family left or I just love the concept of found families, but I think it's larger than that. There's just a spirit there, a way of life that I felt like I could really embrace. I never thought I'd utter the words "time share" in my lifetime, but that's something I'm really thinking of.

But for now I'm back home in rainy cold Seattle, and I've got Winnie the pug back, and lots of things to catch up on, so it's back to reality. And oy, it's vidding season, and I've yet to make plans for VVC travel.

I'll probably start posting a couple pics a day once I get them up. I can't see picspamming that many photos at once. One thing I couldn't take a picture of, though, was the tunnel of trees on Kauai -- after you leave the main westbound highway, you go down a road that runs through a tunnel made of trees along both sides of the road. It's incredibly beautiful, even if the trees are bad imports they don't want, and two hurricanes have flattened. I thought people might enjoy a glimpse of it.


( 4 thought bubbles — Draw a thought bubble )
May. 22nd, 2012 07:08 am (UTC)
Holidays are wonderful and sad at the same time.
May. 22nd, 2012 07:34 am (UTC)
People talk to you all the time

That is exactley my experience, if you travel alone you get much more contact with the locals and get to know foreign places much more intamitally.
May. 22nd, 2012 04:23 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you had such a wonderful time, though I'm sorry your return has been such a shock to the system! A time share might actually be a perfect solution for you, to at least give you a place to return to regularly.

Gorgeous picture; I look forward to seeing more!
May. 22nd, 2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
I've really enjoyed reading all about your trip and am looking forward to more photos. :) I've been to Hawaii a couple times and now I really want to go back!!
( 4 thought bubbles — Draw a thought bubble )

Out of the past

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