Monday, July 23, 2007

Chi Hawaiian Running

"Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts."
~Steve Prefontaine

Sunday I am racing the Wilderness Marathon, not shown in the picture above... thats Jan's Dad running with me on the "Sugar Cane Road" between Honaunau and Kaelakakua. A fun 4 mile jog over rolling hills through a battlefield desert in the lava. Super cool, super hawaiian thing to do if you are a runner.

Lava java on Ali'i drive has wireless internet for the customers!!

Hawaii is an incredible place if you know how to take advantage of what it offers--and understand how its offering it. This sounds weird, I suppose, but the truth is its not "touristy" in the way you might consider Mexican resorts or the Caribbean. You are best off getting a car or having sturdy cycling legs and getting OUT. Just follow a road and inevitably, without exception, you are in for a super adventure/treat. Everywhere here has its own story, even the trees. Every bay has a drama, every wind you feel is thoroughly ensconced in local lore, every time it rains it has a special name. How can I write a feeble blog entry to encompass this sort of depth? Its impossible. In lieu of this I will write my stupid little diary-esque vacation entry for Sunday.

Sorry; this is incredible poor writing.

The morning is like awakening in a cool greenhouse; the mist delivers a bouquet of aromas just as you might expect in a flower shop, but with the softest feeling air anywhere on earth. My earthly experiences are rather limited, however, but this has been corroborated by much more well traveled individuals than I. The air is soft. Its easy to breathe. In Seattle, the air is cool and not soft. Its difficult. And the rain is hard and cold, the air smells not of a flower shop; perhaps the cheap Vietnamese restaurant next door. I like Seattle, but Hawaii is truly a place to live.

Saturday. Dinner with Lee and Wendy Maxwell.

Saturday we went out to dinner with, of all people, a man who worked for my grandfather in the mill he owned 30-40 years ago. This was on Oahu, of all places on earth. It turns out that he and Jan's dad have been friends since high school, where they both went to the same high school I went to. Again, its a small planet. We sat on the Honolulu port eating dinner and drinking good beer and watched the cruise ship load up with passengers and watched tugs of all shapes and sizes motoring in and out with their barges. Some container ships floated in and the tugs maneuvered them deftly into place as if they were toys of a few dollars weighing a few pounds, not the hundreds of thousands of ton 400 foot long million dollar behemoths they indeed truly are.

Sunday: fly to big island

Jan's ankle is doing so well that she was hobbling without the aid of the unsightly and gangly metal crutches. She is doing really well, in fact, given the previous entry to this. WAILING in PAIN in the middle of a rugged mountain trail, if I remember accurately. Today, Monday, much better. Smiling and hobbling. So well, in fact, that we went snorkeling yesterday. I helped her into the water and even thought of a nifty little way to keep her footses from sinking toward the coral below--water wings around the ankles. Yep, floaties of yellow which, when inflated around her ankles, allow her to effortlessly snorkel without the pain and potential of further injury from fins. And a double bonus--in the snorkel-busy waters of Kona, its easy to spot her in a crowd.

My first Hawaiian snorkeling adventure was splendid, replete with wildlife to the tune of my first in-person green sea turtle swim. He just floated along there with me, looking at me over his shoulder, flying underwater with those little hydro-wings. So cool. Unbelievably cool. I laughed like a little kid as I clumsily splashed along trying to keep up. I had a great time until I got kind of chilly.

After we were finished snorkeling, finishing up with our run to meet Jan and the car at the marine preserve Kealakakua or something like that, we ended up at the place known as "The Coffee Shack" pictured above. Seriously cool place!! Stand at the edge of the lenai and look out over the coast below, where we just came from. You can see a line through the desert and lava that is the Sugar Cane Road, and its so far down there its hard to believe thats where you just were. The railing of The Coffee Shack sports those small Jam containers like they serve you at Denny's with your toast. They are all open and the geckos line up on those railings and eat the jam out of them like funny little dogs. Its hilarious to see these WILD animals behaving like this. Truly unique--where else on earth would you see this? This place also has heavenly pies and Kona Coffee right off the bush.

Its interesting in Hawaii; everyone in this particular area seems to have a coffee plantation, regardless of whether its 100 acres or 3 coffee plants. I could go into business, here. Damn the government and their tax laws!!!

We wrapped it up, drove back to the hotel/rooms and washed up, ready to head out for dinner. Dinner produced another fine culinary treat dispensed by Hawaiian favorite, the marvelous L&L Drive in. Loco moco, anyone? No, this time I dined on fried Mahi. Yumm-o.

We ended the long day at Island Lava Java on Ali'i drive, sitting out on the famous Ironman Triathlon street reminiscing about past races and Jan and her dad talked about their previous times in Hawaii. They have been here so often and know it so well, its amazing. For me, its a hugely steep learning curve as I try to assimilate and remember and enjoy everything I can in this short vacation. The coffee was delish and the free muffin basket came around at 10 pm, of which we all partook. That was our morning snack today, Monday.

So I am finishing this up on Tuesday night, unfortunately. I wish I could both express the activities we enjoyed or didn't enjoy in both an informative and well written way, but now, I am on vacation, and the attitude seems to have enveloped even my blogging. How it is. Enjoy.


melanie said...

wednesday, 25 july, 2007 16:35 MAT

snorkeling is heaps of fun indeed. the great barrier reef of australia calls to you for spectacular adventures if you ever make it down under.

if you adventure OUT towards the middle, you will truly be in the middle of nowhere with no road and no help. you will be reliant on your basic survival skills (notice that the word "wilderness" is missing, because in those parts there simply is no wilderness sometimes).

but, all in all, the experience will be an adventure not forgotten. and as a bonus, you might even be able to see brett & melanie !!

glad things are getting better on your holiday !

*hugs* for you both and a *happy dance* for jan !!

,` )

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!