January 18, 2016 Comments Off on Jiggety-jig
An early bedtime in an earlier time zone meant that we were up and rarin’ to go at 6am. After a surprisingly quality hotel breakfast, a cab brought us to the airport, where the security line was short and easy, the restaurant strip pretty and airy, and the waiting area comfortable. I decided I love San Diego.
I also love Hawaiian Airlines. I watched 2.5 movies and everything went really well in spite of being in the middle of the middle. Arriving in the Honolulu airport always makes me happy – the hallway that goes to the baggage claim loses a wall and you can feel the breeze, and it feels like coming home.
I lived here when I was younger, and obviously paid next to no attention to traffic or directions, so it was sort of a shock to find that O’ahu highways are old-fashioned and awful, and Honolulu traffic snarling no matter what time you hit it. My new smartphone stepped into its place of navigational high honor during this first drive, which it did not leave for the rest of the trip. Our hotel was at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki, and one wall of our room was one giant pair of shutters on rails, which you could roll back to get onto the balcony, which was on the proper side to stare right up Diamond Head’s skirt.
I took a quick shower and then I made Simon drive over the mountains to my brothers’ and my favorite beach of all time, at Bellows Air Force Station. The Pali Highway goes up and over, and we pulled off at the lookout at the road’s highest point. One of the first things you see after parking is this sign:
…which obviously I love. In general there are ALWAYS high winds, or at least there were when I was a kid. The Pali Lookout is a vantage point from which you can see a great stretch of the windward side of the island – the view is gorgeous, especially on clear days. But the best part is that the winds that have come howling across thousands of miles with nothing to stop them come and hit you in the face. I remember gasping, with my eyes watering, leaning at least half my body weight into the wind and once feeling my feet actually leave the ground for just a split second. Once I saw a man wearing some kind of wind suit, leaning 45 degrees into the wind, held up by his nylon wings. It always made me giggle hysterically and it is one of my best memories. I couldn’t wait to show Simon.
But there was no wind.
I mean, absolutely none. It was perfectly still. There was no roaring in my ears and my eyes didn’t water. What the heck?! I don’t remember this happening even once, and we must have stopped there at least 15 times. Simon was flattened by the view, but without the wind, it was just one more scenic overlook. I was bitterly disappointed.
So we got back in the car and drove the rest of the way to Bellows. Gnarled, weeping ironwood trees line the beach and drop their spiky little cones into the sand, and the waves are almost always the perfect height to boogie board. We kids would always leave with at least one welt each from the Portuguese man o’war that were always gathering in the water and washing up on the beach. I told Simon all about them and he was interested to see them. We got out and walked on the beach, and guess what.
NO man o’war. None.
What gives, O’ahu?
But the sun was going down on the other side of the mountains, and the air was pink and lavender and very soft blue. We were totally warm and there was no snow, and the half moon was just coming out. It was terribly romantic. Plus, the sand was alive with little sand crabs, and to get thoroughly back in touch with my roots I caught one. It took me several tries, but I got him in the end. Those guys are great!
After dark we set off back to the hotel and stopped on the way at L&L, a Hawaiian barbecue chain, where I was delighted to reunite with potato-mac salad and plain white rice with grilled chicken. Extremely excited to be back in Hawaii.