Trip report while I'm still conscious enough to type: Hawaii was lovely, and I feel really privileged and lucky to have been able to go. The beach was gorgeous; the sand was yellow, the sea was a clear deep blue, and the air smelled warm and fresh and clean. (Except when people were smoking. Which is... a thing now? I've never seen so many smokers in one place. It was like being in an 80's film noir, but significantly more sunny. I confess to being sensitive to smoke, but I didn't mind in Hawaii -- the breeze always carried the smoke away.)
We stayed in a 25-floor hotel that was tiny but very comfortable, although I was annoyed that the "free Wi-Fi" advertised on the website was actually "free Wi-Fi by the pool" and the room internet was (a) corded, (b) cost $10 a day, and (c) hard-coded itself to one computer only, which meant that Husband was forced to learn how to tether his laptop to his phone. But that worked out alright. Funny enough, the hotel elevator system worked on a card-key scanning model: you scanned your room key and you were assigned an elevator. The elevator would only stop at the pre-scanned floors, and there wasn't an emergency stop button (unless you had the firefighter key), which serves as further proof that Richard Dawkins doesn't know everything about hotel elevators and how to exit them. Just in case we needed another reason.
We spent a lot of time in our room so that I could rest (and read blog comments and I hope there are no hard feelings left over from the GRRM discussion! This is the part of deconstruction I worry about: eventually I will alienate everyone on earth and then where will I be? *frets*) and so Husband could program. Let no one say we don't know how to conduct an almost-2-years-late honeymoon in style! When we weren't resting, we spent a lot of time swimming in the ocean (brisk!) and some short time sleeping on the sand (not so long as to get burned). We also went to an absolutely incredible luau show, went for a submarine tour, and then -- and I want to stress this was Husband's idea -- stopped at a teddy bear museum that appeared to be run by a grown-up and utterly delightful Luna Lovegood.
The submarine tour was especially interesting, although I was distressed to learn that at a 100 foot depth, the red spectrum of visible light has given up entirely and gone home, which means that Disney's "The Little Mermaid" movie is apparently a touch inaccurate for Ariel's hair to be a vibrant shade of red like that. Also it's possible -- although I'm not admitting this directly -- that while standing on the pitching deck of the submarine, I might have made a joke about Bella Swan and the number of times she would have fallen overboard at that point. Let the record show that I'm not humorless, I'm just utterly hypocritical. *shame*
Not everything on the trip was delightful. I was saddened by the large number of homeless people we saw sleeping on the streets in groups, and it really brought me back to the whole economy question at large and how lots of people are seriously hurting right now. I know I avoid a lot of that on the blog because I find current events to be the most depressing things ever, but here it was and I don't want to pretend it doesn't exist.
There were also subtle undercurrents of racism that I felt strongly guilty for witnessing and not actively fixing: the nice Australian man in the elevator who told us in conversation that there were "Japs" "all over the island" for some kind of sports tournament ("Maybe it's a positive word in Australia, like 'Aussie'?" I hoped.), the nice ticket seller who called our names to remind us to get in line (we were lost in our books) but didn't call to the other, non-white tourists; the nice couple who sat next to us at the luau and regaled us with delightful tales for thirty minutes before suddenly diving into jokes with racist punchlines (I, being the ultimate coward, hopped up mid-punchline, yelled, "I have to go to the bathroom," and ran out.), the nice tour guide who gave us instructions in English and then quipped "If you don't understand English, just keep doing what you're doing," which I thought was probably unnecessary. And I felt like a hypocrite for being all Oooooh Progressive Blogger, but not so much that I can get around my social Good Girl training.
And the luau. I loved the luau. I love hula dancing, I think it is just the most beautiful thing in the world (ballet being the next most beautiful thing for me). If there is such a thing as reincarnation and if we have any say in the results, I'm coming back with the intent to be a dancer. I was looking so forward to the luau, and it was incredible (in addition to the awesome dances, there were fire batons and somehow the dancer SET HIS TONGUE ON FIRE. And it didn't seem to bother him, which I thought was pretty dang impressive.). At the same time, though, I felt so conflicted because I know that the luau we saw very likely was not even remotely an accurate representation of the local culture, and additionally that elements like the "war dance" were almost certainly played up to fit the "aggressive savage" stereotype when the reality was (I'm guessing) probably closer to football-team aggression than murder-all-the-people aggression. So then I got absorbed in trying to decide if it was alright to sample an inaccurate representation of a culture for the sheer beauty of the art form or if that was exploitation that should not be subsidized fullstop but if that was the right thing then what would the dancers eat tonight, and I'm just not sure of the answer at all. And, wow, that was a tangent. Sorry about that.
Also we ate at a Japanese steak house where the cook grilled everything right at the table and he piled onion rings on top of each other and poured oil into the center of the ring statue an set it on fire and it was like an Onion Volcano. And then he diced my filet mignon into little steak cubes and they had a crusty outside and a sweet buttery inside that just seemed to expand in your mouth and ooooooOOOOooooooooOOOooh. Good. And the Crepe House was incredible: big crepe, a pizza-slice worth of whipped cream topped with strawberry and banana slices, and then everything wrapped up like a flat ice cream cone and eaten while you walk. Divine.
Anyway. I was impressed by how multicultural the island seemed to be from my limited perspective as a tourist: everything seems to be written in multiple languages (English + Japanese + Chinese + Korean), the submarine tour had a tour track with 11 different language options, and every convenience store offers rows and rows of rice balls with spam and seaweed and red cabbage and all sorts of things that looked pretty but which I didn't dare taste because my stomach is constantly plotting against me. The subtitles everywhere were especially cool, given that I hear a lot of complaining in Texas about everything being subtitled in Spanish these days -- what if you had subtitles in three non-English languages, Mr. Complainer? Oh, dear, your head just exploded on my nice shirt. Also, the two transsexuals working in the Crepe House who sang while they worked were awesome in every way, and I totally wanted to hang out there and be friends with them. You don't see that too often in Texas, and it's a shame, so good on you Hawaii in general and Crepe House in specific for being less judgmental than my resident state.
And while I'm thinking of it, I want to apologize to the Living Statue Guy: I'm sorry I screamed at the top of my lungs and jumped behind Husband when you pretended to try to grab me. I'm a little jumpy about personal space sometimes. I hope I didn't embarrass you too much.
I can't remember what else I was going to say, except that I'm really jet-laggy, I'm a little perplexed that I somehow went from being one week ahead on blog posts to MUST WRITE SOMETHING ABOUT CLAYMORE NOW-ville, and I hope that everyone still likes everyone else despite our spirited debates of spirited awesome. Additionally I meant to say something to lead in to showing you pictures. Um... here are some pictures. Enjoy!
|View from the hotel porch.|
|Ana wishes St. Francis could share that whole "Patron Saint of Birds" thing.|
Husband wishes Ana wouldn't clog up the hotel porch with hungry birds.
|They're wolves, but they remind me of "The Cat Returns" anime movie.|
|This is an aardvark. It is the cutest thing in the whole world.|
|View from the dock before the submarine ride.|
|Did you know they just throw huge random stuff in the ocean so that the coral can grow?|
It's pretty awesome -- there were two airplanes and a bunch of giant wine racks.
|The teddy bear museum. They actually do animatronic hula dances.|