Thursday, March 27, 2008

Baby Steps

First things first: find Hawaii public radio.

I drove down South Kihei Road to the classical strains of 90.7, picking up postcard stamps along the way. I drove through Kihei, through Wailea and Makena to Makena State Park and Big Beach.

Big Beach was refreshing, even though there were many people there. It's undeveloped, and there are no buildings in sight.

This part of Maui is not unlike South Florida in appearance, as far as the human habitation is concerned. The vegetation and topography differ in that, as far as I know, Florida does not have volcanoes. I also have yet to see a theme park here in Maui. I don't feel a sense of disappointment; I guess that I did not have many expectations about this trip, and how I feel is more important than how it looks. We'll get out of the more developed areas once we have the time.

Today, I had mainly to myself. I took off my shoes and walked on the soft sand on the edge of the surf, enjoying the sun and sounds. Just a few days ago, it was 14 degrees in Minnesota, and now, here I am: no coat, no socks. The water was blue and green, and the sand was a rich light brown that would be aptly described as "sandy" were it the name of a paint color or a flooring material (I may have remodeling in the back of my mind). I lingered there perhaps half an hour before making my way back through the parking lot. People were beginning to pour in. Mental note: best to get to the beach around 10:00.

I wound my way back up the coast through Wailea, which is the rich man's Kihei. Basically upgraded shops, hotels, and resorts, and the type of manicured green spaces that are abundant when wealth is present. There are acres on the island side of the road devoted to upscale golf courses, sprinklers a-blazing. I found the whole thing to be a bit cringe-worthy.

In Kihei, I stopped at the little natural foods store. I feel very at home in such places, and it soothes me. Bookstores do the same thing. I found local, organic vegetables and fruits, some locally baked bread, and a few other items to stock the condo, all the while realizing that I had not eaten yet aside from tea and seventeen macadamia nuts, and it was almost noon.

I decided to take my haul back to the condo and make some lunch. I relaxed to a show on the History Channel about the War of 1812, and I worked on my uncle Steve's drawing for his CD cover. At around 1:30, I left to head north and west to Lahaina to meet the boys, and I stopped at a farmers' market along the way. It was small, but I found worthy items including strawberries grown on the island, Maui limes and lemons, and some local orange-infused wild honey.

It's only about 17 miles to Lahaina, and the speed limits are relatively low here. Through Kihei, it's 20, sometimes 30 miles per hour, and most of the way to Lahaina, it was 45, though there was one small stretch of 55. I prefer the slower speeds. It's much more relaxing. Plus, it's easier to look around and easier to avoid hitting pedestrians. Maui is infested with wild mustangs, and by that, I mean the car. It seems to be the thing to do: come to Maui, rent a Mustang. They are everywhere, though once I decided to count the frequency of Mustangs in a mile of cars, I only saw one in 85. Once I stopped they were again swarming. I don't know how they knew...

The road hugs the coast, and the waters off to the south and west are practically lousy with humpback whales. I saw a big flipper and what looked like a calf breaching as I drove along. I decided to stop along the way home if there was time.

Lahaina is Provincetown, Massachusetts and Jackson, Wyoming in a tropical setting. There is not much to choose between them on the surface. The difference is in what kind of crap you can buy in the shops and what kind of history you can find crammed in amongst the souvenir stores and Wet Seal. I have found that I am not quite ready for society. The traffic was slow and voluminous, and the people were swarming. I found the needlework store, but it was sparse and unnecessary. If I have a needle emergency, I can go there. Otherwise, meh. By the time Pete called, I had practically had it with Lahaina and was ready to go back home. It was strange to be meeting Pete on our vacation, and it made me realize that we were indeed on vacation, but it was Matt's wedding, and Pete's first responsibility was to that. I was also becoming more acutely aware of how unused to socializing I am, and how uncomfortable I was feeling.

When I finally found a parking space and arrived at the pizza joint to meet the boys, I just wanted to leave. They had been diving, and now they were drinking beer: two things I am not allowed to do. It was coming into sharper relief for me: Pete can do whatever he wants, he has no restrictions. I cannot because I am pregnant. I am still carrying the community property and because of that, I can't do my own things. In that way, I am much better off by myself because I am not as readily reminded of the things I can't do. I eventually settled down, and I had my first NA beer in 13 years. It was not so bad, and it made me feel a bit more like a normal person, but they do have .5 % alcohol in them, so I won't make it a habit. I know that sounds a bit hysterical, but I am not planning on drinking even the odd beer here and there during this pregnancy. There are just too many arguments on both sides of that fence, and the risk is not worth it.

Pete and Matt had to go and get their tuxes nearby, and I decided to head back to Kihei.

I am not sure what that actually means, but it looks like it lights up, which is always nice.

I stopped at an overlook and watched the humpback whales spouting and surfacing for about twenty minutes. It was relaxing, and I started looking forward to the wedding whale watch that would be taking place the next day. I was feeling better, but it was because I was again by myself and removed from all the people and all the overload. I was in control of my time. I got back to the condo just before Pete, and we talked a bit about my social conundrum. He's very supportive and will do what he can to make me comfortable, which helps and means a lot, all by itself.

We just missed the sunrise last night, but we have a few more chances to catch one. By the time we had some food, Pete was feeling pretty wiped out. I putzed around a bit and watched some cable TV, finally falling asleep to John Stewart at about 10:15. Like a kid, I was trying to keep myself awake for the whole thing because we don't have John Stewart in our house, but I was unsuccessful.

Maybe some other time.

It was a good day.

1 comment:

susan said...

thanks for all this Karen--it seems so beautiful there! I am enjoying it and the pictures! Grammasue