Tuesday, January 31, 2012

and…she’s back.

Well, this is a first. This post comes to you from my shiny new iPad. To back up a minute, after ten days on Kauai, we flew to Honolulu for a couple of days. I had visited the Big Island and Oahu for a week apiece in '99, but Kevin had never been to Hawaii at all, and he wanted to see the Pearl Harbor Memorial. So off we went.


One of the stranger and sweeter aspects of this particular visit was noticing how many visitors were Japanese. I just wanted to hug everyone. It’s a place that inspires reverence – not necessarily the same flavor of reverence as the innards of a flower inspire in me, but reverence none the less.



We stayed in a three-star hotel in Waikiki. If you have never been to Waikiki before, it is a major, major shopping emporium. In fact, from what I can tell, the whole city is a shopping emporium. (But what do I know? We live in Vermont.)

Best part of the hotel? The electronic toilet. It was great! It had buttons for washing AND drying your tender bits. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how it worked. I couldn't even figure out how to get it to stop beeping a happy little chirrup every time I either sat down, or got up. Quite disconcerting. I mean, I so get how someone got the idea for a hands-free bidet (think of the uninterrupted reading possibilities!), but what purpose could that little beeping serve? Baffling.

We also had an epic adventure finding the Niishodo candy factory, on an errand for a friend who used to live in Honolulu. Oh, the fun I had being excited taking pictures in the sales room while all around me, folks in the know laughed at me.

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The things you can do with rice flour: unbelievable. Also, just a tip, world travelers: a box of these spongy little delights does not fare as well in checked luggage as you might hope.

Anyway. Where was I. Shopping emporium. There was an Apple store. One thing led to another. Did you know that Apple Store employees walk around with iPhones on lanyards around their necks, and they can process your purchase, down to swiping your credit card, using said iPhone? Not a cash register to be seen. Waaagggghhhh. Please bear in mind: we do not have smart phones – we’re a little behind the curve here. So, when the dude in the store showed us how you could use an iPad as a GPS/navigation device, and explained how you could get a simian card (simian? perhaps he said SIM) that would enable you to access the interwebs from other countries…I’m glad the device is drool-resistant, let’s just put it that way. No regrets thus far.

Then what? We took the red-eye to San Francisco. I puked upon arrival. Note to self. Red-eyes are a little beyond me at this point. We breakfasted with a dear friend, who kindly let us nap, as neither of us had gotten much rest on the flight.

And then we headed down the peninsula towards LA. Check out our wheels:


Turns out that’s what you get when you get a one-way rental car. A sweet, sweet, minivan.



Here’s Big Sur. Turns out there is a place along here somewhere that served for the natives of this region, what that spot on the western side of Kauai served as for the folks there: the jumping off point for spirits to enter the next world. This makes eminently good sense to me.

We did the whole 17-mile drive around Carmel. Full of slurpy goodness.



And, further south, we stumbled across a simply magical place I'd been to before with family – Nepenthe, a restaurant right off PCH.


Around here is when we learned that there had been a landslide, and the rest of the Pacific Coast Highway was closed. We backtracked and cut inland, arriving that evening at the house of...my aunt Jen! Yay!


Put me up as a houseguest and this is your reward. That’s Morro Rock in the background, over my left shoulder. I believe it’s the plug of a dormant volcano. What I don’t know is if it’s where it always used to be, or if was blown sky-high and that’s where it landed.

The day after that, more driving south, and more time with family. Double yay!


Being a tree-hugger apparently runs in the family. That’s my cousin and his three “…AND A HALF!” year old daughter.

And the day after this? We flew home. I spent a couple of days unpacking, dealing with the piled-up mail, and adjusting myself to the cold…gray…bland…Vermont…winter. Hopefully we’ll get some serious snow at some point, and I can re-adjust to the whole New England thing again.

Oh right – like getting up early to go to work. Good night, world!

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