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Friday, October 15, 1999

Aloha! Please Check Your Brain at the Airport

The airport has a built in alarm clock in the form of one's own ambient noise threshold. Come 5am, the people in my dreams kept having to say "What? Say again?" because they couldn't hear eachother over the noise bleeding through from the real world. So it was time to peer over at the American Trans Air charter line to see if it had sprouted yet, and sure enough it was growing fast so we luggage-relayed ourselves over to the line. But the line turned out to be for Chicago, not Hawaii, so we ended up second in the Hawaii line with an hour to sleep standing.

The flight was uneventful. When you pack people so close that no one can move, not much happens.


At OGG, the Maui airport, I sat on our mound of luggage while Garrett* fetched his truck from Matson. The airport security guard spent most of his time going from payphone to payphone, checking for unclaimed change. More luggage relay to a double-parked truck, and then off to Chez Du Jour, our virtual home. We passed Costco on the way. We will return.

We stopped by Hanzawa's general store on the way, checked the note board for any available rentals or cars for sale, and picked up some snacks to encourage the airplane food to digest. I got a curry chicken manapua which is a large, fluffy, seamless dumpling magically stuffed with a filling. It was quite good. Lucky for me, I used to get them (by a different name) from Woo Chee Chong in San Diego many years ago, or I wouldn't have recognized them as anything but some white fluffy dumplings in the hot box.

Talking to people in Maui is a little bit like dreaming. Half of what they say seems perfectly normal, and the other half has no bearing on reality whatsoever. The hard thing to get used to is that this is true no matter who you are talking to, no matter how rational or level-headed they may seem. You just never know when that mysticism meme will kick in and catapult an otherwise rational conversation up into the sky. Where it lands is anybody's guess, but often if you just hold your breath and smile they'll land back on their feet in a moment or two as if nothing had happened.

Coffee table reading available at Chez Du Jour? A magazine called "Enlightenment" with the two lead captions of "Could Jesus have been a woman?" and "What is the association between emptiness and beautiful nails?" No, I am not making this up.

Somewhere in the conversation that ensued with one of our hosts, we were trying to convey our general outlook on life and Garrett* aptly coined the phrase "Think locally, act globally". Heh.

Chez Du Jour has a little path that goes down into the gulch, across a stream, and up the other side into a small clearing that was once a horse pasture. The path is litterred with guavas, avocados, and loquats, which are constantly falling from the trees overhead. From the bridge and pasture, you look back to a huge vertical jungle looming above, growing out of the side of a fairly steep cliff so coverred with vegetation that you can't see the earth anywhere. From the top of the pasture, you can see down over the jungle all the way to the ocean, the canopy obscuring any signs of civilization. I would build a house here if I could.

We walked down there with the Dogs Du Jour, which scared a rat out of the old horse barn, chased it down in a frenzy and killed it, leaving it twitching on the floor of the barn, not particularly intent on actually eating it. Another point against all things "domestic".

We made dinner of a couple Mahi Burgers at the Fish Market in Paia. Imagine a simple burger of fresh ingredients based around a half-inch thick slab of freshly grilled Mahi Mahi. A sprinkling of Tiger Sauce, and it's definately one of the corners of the hypercube of culinary perfection. At some point I attacked mine with a knife and fork, and something gave way unexpectedly, launching a piece of bun across my plate, splashing through the pool of Tiger Sauce and into my lap, instantly converting one of two good shirts I have into an introduction to tie-die.

The clouds are almost always interesting here, as they must be in order to sustain most of the known climates in the world over a forty mile diameter. And since they're always moving, you frequently find a full galaxy of stars when you look up at night. I would build a house here if I could.

Our main host, Sera, is a sexy babe from the east coast who moved to Maui on a shoestring, got a job as a realtor, sold a million dollar house to some guy, and then moved in with him. That's where we're staying. Our connection is through a friend of mine, Laila, who lives in Sera's Ohana house in exchange for administrative help in caretaking the estate. Sera is also now my realtor.

Sera and I stayed up late talking about life the universe and everything. She brought down her chest of "essential oils". No, you wouldn't want a massage with these -- these are for smelling. All sorts of strange smells, definately interesting, but what to say in response to her assertion (passed on from the guy who sells the oils no doubt) that each scent "opens up a part of your mind that you previously had no access to"... Rip the teddy from the little girl's arms, shake it around, and yell "it's just a piece of cloth stuffed with foam!"? No, I think not.

She played various CDs. One of interest was an eponymous album called, I believe, "Lost At Last".

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com