Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Hawaii Day Two

It's 11:00 AM. The steaming, humid heat of the tropics is well underway, wilting locals and tourists alike, bringing up a sweat that only the breeze from the open sea can dissipate. I sit on the patio of my hotel, iced coffee beside me, staring out at the open sea, the water near shore a subtle aquamarine, the far off sea melding to a ever deepening blue until it collides with the light blue of a distant horizon. This is Hawaii, the paradise islands set in the middle of the vast Pacific.

It is only our second day here and already we seem to be settling into a routine. We got up late, even though Emma is typically an early riser. She went to be early last night, at around 9:30 PM. I stayed up late, sitting in the seaside patio bar watching the manta rays glide by in the artificial lights set up by the hotel to encourage them. These are graceful creatures, floating on triangular wings through the shoreside shallows, rising up from the depths, their black tops making them appear as shadows drifting through the sea. They turn, doing a gentle roll, exposing their white underbellies, a tip of a wing slashing the edge of water, flashing white against the lights on shore, then the descend again, completing their circular display only to return a few minutes later, once again to dance for us.

These islands are a dream, a place of gentle rest amidst a sea of distraction. It is no wonder that they have entranced so many nations, turning their lushness into a greed for possession. Yet they are not a safe as they would seem. Yesterday the island was still dealing with the aftermath of a nearby hurricane, massive rains leaving water pooled in many places, the humidity even higher as the land and sea both seek to evaporate the remnants of the storm.

The land itself is thing, arable soil only a skim surface atop a base of volcanic rock. The beaches themselves are sparse on this big island, unlike to rippling silver sands of Oahu or Maui, those more touristic islands most people envision when one says Hawaii. Here on the big island from which the state draws its name, the beaches are smaller, more distant between, the surfaces of sand much thinner. Here, Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, is still active, still building the rocky base underneath this thin strip of mankind's construction. Homes on this island are still taken by lava, new land is still being created as it hits the sea.

Today, it will be a poolside day with perhaps a dinner excursion into the town of Kona, a non-trivial cab ride or long bus ride. My hope is that the bus can take a wheelchair. If not, I will spend the money and take the cab. The upside is that the cab will be air conditioned.

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