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Thursday, May 04, 2000

Kona Day One -- the Island Without Hope

Garrett* and Samantha decided to join me on my home-scouting trip to the big island. Somehow in the process, my simple plan of a casual trip has turned into a logistical challenge who's magnitude seems to outweigh the trip itself. Instead of simply flying to Kona at a reasonable hour and renting a car for a few days, we had to get up at 4:45am this morning (me having to rattle Garrett* and Samantha to consciousness since their alarm failed--truly an odd circumstance for me to be waking them up!), drop me off at the Hawaiian terminal and them at the Pacific Wings terminal so they could fly to Waimea and I to Honolulu and then Kona where I rented a car and drove to Waimea to pick them up... which, after repeating the process in reverse for the return trip, will have saved us a total of a little over $100, or about $35 each. Not remotely worth the trouble (the rising time alone..) imho, but they wouldn't go any other way, and it wasn't worth $100 to me to subsidize their trip -- or maybe it was but not after weighing in the mere principle of the thing.

I am undecided whether I would have been better off to have just gone alone -- there's definitely a value to a spare pair (or two) of eyes on any scouting trip, but then I am sitting here now writing my journal because they are taking a nap in the middle of our first day here, with only one and two-halves unallocated days total to spend... This after they already napped two hours between their flight arrival and my picking them up... I've already hiked a bit around this area, so I guess I'll wait until they reanimate and then perhaps we can go visit Hilo.

The place we are staying is a bizarre basement of someone's house, which is largely consumed by a rectangular coy pond that doubles as a swimming pool for the biohazardly adventurous (that would be Garrett* -- he and Samantha will no doubt take the plunge before we leave). My bed is in a corner, enclosed by curtains hung on a makeshift box frame which convert the corner in to a cubicle-style bedroom. The water fountain, which looks like a huge ball of mud and rock thrown into the corner of the basement, has just turned itself on, filling the room with the sound of pumped water trying to sound natural. The couple who own the house moved to Hawaii in 1942, and much of the decor was undoubtedly imported around that time.

All in all, it's hypothetically charming in a self-anacrhonistic, alien-planet reproduction of American conglomerate history sort of way. I'll snap a few photos and include them here:

As you can see, Garrett* and Samantha emerged from the room, so we headed down to Hilo to check out the campus. After wandering around it for a while marvelling at how sleepy it seemed, we found a calendar which showed the last day of instruction as... yesterday. Impeccable Simon timing.

We passed this amazing banyan tree on the way back, and had to stop and climb it.

We swung by Honopa'a to check the movies, but they only play tuesday, wednesday, friday, saturday and sunday. Yes, once again, perfect Simon timing (today is thursday...). At 8pm, the entire town was dark, all gone home and shut down for the night, except one small glowing window enclosing an Italian cafe, empty of patrons and staffed by a trio of a coffee puller, a pizza chef, and an ice cream girl. Samantha ("I'm starting my diet when we get back") had an ice cream cone, I had a steamed milk (my vice-free way of paying for a seat), and Garrett* had a cup of water. We'll probably return there for dinner tomorrow. (We ate at a Japanese restaurant in Hilo tonight, where I got three mediocre sushi--six bites total--at the completely unjustified price of $17.50.)

We finally returned home with our bunch of apple bananas procured from a Hilo farmer's market, and found the land lady had been psychically foresightful enough to provide them companions while we were out (another bunch of apple bananas much like the one we bought, so now we have two...). Besides the bananas, our "continental breakfast" consists of packaged pastries with personalized instruction on how to make them fresh again by dabbing them with a wet hand and microwaving them.

Half true to my prediction, Samantha dared Garrett* into the coy pool--naked no less:

And so ends day one of four.

I keep expecting to look up and see the wall clock travelling backward at a furious rate, symbolic of some weird journey back (and a little sideways) through time. Everyone I see here seems quietly resigned to whatever is. I hereby dub this the Island Without Hope. I find myself daydreaming of eating lobster in Maine, having vibrant conversations with Bostonites, looking out at the snow from beside a warm fire... Flannel jammies, Ikea-clean furniture, hard edges, focus, goals... Hope and implementation...


But wait... look what just materialized before me:


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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com