Rachel S. Heslin
Thoughts, insights, and mindless blather

Hawai'i no ka oi
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When I was a child, one of my favorite traditions were our annual, family vacations. In the summer, my brother and parents and I would spend three weeks with my mom's parents in the SF bay area, then the four of us would join my dad's parent's for 2 weeks at a cattle ranch in the Sierra Nevada. In the winter, my paternal grandparents would take us all to Hawaii.

We stayed at the same condo in Kihei, Maui, every year. (It was a lot cheaper to do this in the 70's and early 80's.) I have incredibly fond memorieds of Hawaii rituals: shaved ice at Azeka's Place, trips to Lahaina, my grandparents buying us the multipack of mini-cereal boxes (including the sugary ones that I never ate at home). I'd go on walks with Grandpa in the morning, striding the length of the beach by his side and carefully making a notch in the sand with my big toe when we reached the tide pools, mimicking his much bigger to mark before starting yet another lap of the beach.

I remember making forts with my brother out of bolster pillows and blankets. On the beach, Dad would use a real shovel to dig us a pit and build us a mountain that we could dig tunnels through for our little plastic cars. (We lost many cars over the years to those ubiquitous tunnels.) Dad would tell us stories at night starring me and my brother: the premise was that we'd been digging in the sand one day and fell through to a series of connected caves. We met the leader of the creatures who lived down there (his name was Leader) who enlisted our help. See, these tunnels were full of doors, and each door led to a different world. Sometimes we'd help out these worlds if they were in trouble, and sometimes we'd just go exploring. Yes, "Adventures in the Tunnels" was a big part of my childhood.

Flash forward: Shawn's never been to Hawaii. He's just gotten his Associate's degree after 18 years of struggle, and he had straight A's the last two semesters. I work for a school district, meaning that I get most of July off but still get a paycheck.

I'm posting this journal entry from the Kona Coast Resort on the island of Hawaii.

We didn't got to Maui because, much as I loved it, there isn't as much to do as on other islands. We've spent four days on Oahu and are in the midst of 5 days on the Big Island.

Highlights of the trip so far:

  • Bananas the size of my forearm.

  • Doing Tahitian dancing and smacking myself in the head with poi balls at the Polynesian Cultural Center

  • Shawn going wreck diving (although he says it was way too short and cursory)

  • Parasailing in tandem (much better than our honeymoon in Cancun, where they had us sitting together on a bench. Since Shawn literally weighs twice as much as I do, this made for some pretty awkward weight distribution.)

  • Seeing artificial reefs and remnants of small boat and plane wrecks from inside a submersible

  • Kal bi ribs

Mmmm. Kal bi ribs.

Oh, and of course, we bought multipacks of mini-cereal boxes (Shawn ate the sugary ones.)

Anyway, I'm signing off so I can go back to exploring the precarious territory between a "healthy glow" and melanoma.

: )

(PS Pix upon return.)

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