Saturday, September 08, 2007

Trouble in Paradise?

Actually, no. There's no trouble here whatsoever.

However, there was a moment last night when the crowded streets of the Las Vegas of Hawaii, also known as Waikiki, had gotten to me. And for a brief second (and I stress the word brief), I thought perhaps it might be nice to go home on Wednesday night. You see, Terry and I went looking for a snack for her and drinks for both of us at about 8:30 last night. Here's what we learned: Waikiki is pure madness on Friday night. And not in a good way.

Imagine Las Vegas combined with Fisherman's Wharf and perhaps the most touristy part of Hollywood Boulevard, and you have Waikiki on a Friday night. It sucked. After about an hour and a half, we gave up, and Terry got some take out, which she enjoyed in the condo. I didn't really need to drink, so I settled for some Perrier before turning in for the evening.

But that was then, and this is now, and everything is right with the world again. This morning, I cured myself of any tourist-induced blues by turning left instead of right during my morning run and jogging up Diamond Head Road instead of down Kalakaua Avenue. There were other walkers and joggers to be sure, but I had left the out-of-shape vacation crowd behind, and the scenery was pure tropical paradise, as opposed to a chain retail mecca. At one point during my run, I stumbled upon what I hope was a private, or at least semi-private, beach. I say I hope it was private because I noticed a gentleman there sunbathing Baker Beach-style. I left rather quickly after seeing that; I really don't want to be reminded of home in quite that fashion. After running, I went to the beach, myself, which was lovely. No matter how many people cram onto Waikiki Beach, they all melt away once my own feet hit the sand, and I play in the warm waves of the Pacific.

If you're new to this space, you may be wondering why I am in Waikiki, as opposed to, say, Maui. Well, I'll tell you and remind the regular readers that my mother lives in Honolulu, just a stone's throw from Waikiki. So, given the cheap (or in the case of this trip, free) and easy accommodations in Waikiki, it has just made sense to base my vacations here. Especially this time around, since Diva Mommy is having surgery on Tuesday. Rest assured, I'll get to other islands one day.

All of that said, the trip so far has been excellent. Just about an hour after I arrived, I found myself on the patio at Duke's Canoe Club with a drink in my hand. I'm not sure, but it's possible that's what the entrance to Heaven may be like. At least for me. Since then every day has begun with a morning run and included several hours on the beach. Terry and I even had a swank, three-hour, three-cocktail lunch at the private Outrigger Canoe Club yesterday. The man whose condo we're using belongs to the club and secured access for us. The place was full of stodgy Republicans, but we didn't mind being the riff-raff there for an afternoon. And their signature drink, a frozen vodka concoction known as the Henry, is delicious. I know because I had three of them.

May I also please tell you about the free accommodations? It was enough for me that we'd be staying free of charge, thanks to Terry's co-worker. But above and beyond that, we have found ourselves in a large two-bedroom, two-bath, two kitchen space with air conditioning and cable television on three different sets. It's big enough and offers enough privacy that either Terry or I could have a torrid affair with a handsome gentleman in this condo... without disturbing the other person. We're not necessarily planning any affairs, but you never know. And the condo is located right in the thick of things, convenient to everywhere. I was sad when Terry left my place of employment for a new job last year, but I'm certainly glad she met the guy who owns (and more importantly, shares) this place.

Tonight, we're meeting Diva Mommy at the Beach Bar at the Moana Surfrider, where we'll drink, dine and watch the sunset. If Terry and I need any more nightlife, I think we'll take a cab out of Waikiki and go into downtown Honolulu. I don't know what that will be like, but Diva Mommy says she's read about some hipster-type spots. Who knows, though. I'm generally okay with going to bed early and getting up early while I'm vacation. I find that kind of schedule much more relaxing, and I go out enough at home.

Speaking of home, I'll be back early Thursday morning. If my eyes look puffy when you see me, it will be because I've cried on the entire flight back. No offense to San Francisco, but it's just not Hawaii.

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