Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Hola From Maui
Thought I'd send a little update on how the vacation's going. That last entry was kind of a downer. I'm happy to report that things have vastly improved. My college friend P.'s wedding -- the real purpose of this trip for me -- was fun and I got to spend some time with friends whom I don't see that often, including another college friend, C., who now lives in California with his wife and two kids, the latter of whom I met for the first time. They're totally hilarious and turned out to be big fans of mine. It's always nice to have a cheering section, even if they're only comprised of children under the age of six. Now that I'm finally in Maui, I'm going to do some serious nothing for the next (last) two days.
A few highlights and lowlights of the trip so far:
Giving a toast to P. Sure, I was one of five people that he asked to speak (about him). I think he was trying to cover every year of his life, the friggin' narcissist. But still, it's not something I get to do every day, and I'm proud that I exercised some restraint and didn't embarrass myself or him. Sometimes when you get a mic in your hand, it's easy to slip up. But I faced temptation down and escaped unscathed. I also got nowhere near the garter belt when they tossed it. None of us wanted it. She threw it, gave it a solid toss, and it flew in the air and hit one of the bachelors right in the chest. He didn't even pick up his arms. That goes to show you.
When the hell did Waikiki become Fort Lauderdale? I could write for an hour about this, but I'm too tired at the moment. Suffice it to say that during my stay in Waikiki the past 4 days, I shared my hotel with a pack of young kids who were either high school graduates or college graduates, or both. It's a sad state of affairs that I've gotten so old that I can't recognize the difference. My confusion lies in the fact that these kids acted like grade schoolers but had the bodies of college age kids. I think I even saw a pair of fake boobs or four. Where do girls that age get fake boobs? And more importantly, why?
Bottom line: they treated the hotel like a friggin' dorm room. I'd be walking down the hallways, and I'd see some girl ranting on the cell phone to some friend of hers about how someone on the trip was "a loser," or how she was "totally fed up" with her boyfriend 'cuz he was flirting with some bitch. They were hanging out in the halls, shooting the shit, drinking, carousing, loitering, and just generally acting like they owned the place. It wasn't completely Animal House and they did tone it down after a couple of nights. But it was like being back in a dorm again, seriously. Oh and on the first day, I went to the beach and within 10 minutes was surrounded by six of these girls (the guys showed up later), who proceeded to have the most vapid, superficial, and mindnumbing conversations for the next four hours.
Here's a sample:
"Madison, you look soooooo tan."
"Aw, thank you!"
"God, it was like, hella-loud last night."
"Oh my God, I know. Some bitch got so wasted she tripped and hit her head on the nightstand."
"Oh my God, no way."
"Yeah. They took her to the hospital."
"Oh my God, no way."
"Did you hear that Kayla got in a fight last night?"
"Oh my God, no way."
"Yeah, it was with this girl Emma, do you know her?"
"Like, I have no idea who she is."
"She's like, a hella-bitch. Kayla's pissed at her about something."
"I like, sooooo want to go on a booze cruise."
"Oh my God, me too."
"We should totally set that up. Hey, you guys! Dyouwannagoonaboozcrooz?!"
"Campbell, you look sooooooo tan."
"Aw, thank you!"
"Fuck, I'm hella-tired."
"Oh my God, we should totally do a booze cruise."
"Where are the guys at?"
"They were hella-bored so they all went for a ride on their mopeds. I think they're going to eat somewhere too."
"Oh my God, I am hella-hungry. Dyouwannagetsomefood?"
"I'm not hungry, but I'm hella-thirsty. Where's the bar dude at?"
"Hey, where are Grace, Haylie, Chloe, Sophie, Kylie, Jenna, and Riley?"
"I think they're all shopping."
"Taylor, you look sooooooo tan."
"Aw, thank you!"
That's a taste of hell, just enough to wet your beak. It was funny as a social experiment for about 20 minutes. After that, I felt like slitting my wrists with the business end of a broken seashell.
The beauty of this place. Ever visit someplace so beautiful, so relaxing, so sunny and optimistic that you can't even believe you're there? That's what Hawaii has been like for me. It's beyond beautiful. I've been traveling around, checking out the scenery, the forested valleys, the huge mountains, the stunning beaches and volcanic rock formations, and it's like a dream. Literally. I feel like I'm dreaming this whole vacation. None of it seems real to me. It's like I'm sleepwalking through it. And now that it's almost over, I just know I'm going to get back to the summer swelter that is New York City and it'll be like I never went anywhere. That's going to really piss me off.
Hitting the reset button in my head. I've been to Hawaii before, so I haven't felt pressured to do things like I did the last time I was here. It's been more leisure and relaxation, though I have been driving my ass off. So I've been able to clear my mind a bit and get refocused on the things in my life that I like, or which need to change. So, that's been good.
Driving cliffside in Maui. Some of the toughest driving I've ever done has been in Hawaii, and specifically, Maui. The last time I visited here, I did the Road to Hana, which involved some difficult, winding two-lane roads that were actually one lane roads, so you had to keep pulling over to let people pass. Then, breaking my rental car agreement, I went past Hana and down around the island, where the roads were one lane and unpaved. It took awhile and by the time the sun was setting, it got a little freaky. But the scenery was fantastic. (Now the road is closed, due to a recent earthquake, so I won't be able to do it this time, which sucks, since Charles Lindbergh's grave is down there, and I wanted to see it again.) The Road to Hana and around was hard, but today's drive was all that and worse. Nothing I've done before compares to the driving I did today.
In blatant violation of my rental car agreement, I took my rented Mustang convertible on a forbidden road that goes from the Maui airport to where I'm staying in Lahaina. I read in one of my travel books that the 20-mile road is incredibly scenic, but a tough drive in spots. The book didn't really specify why, so I decided to bite the bullet and take the road less traveled for a change. I wanted to do this the last time I was here, but didn't get to.
The road -- Route 340 on the map above -- is pretty damn hard to drive. First of all, it runs on the side of a cliff. If you've never driven on mountains or cliff-edged roads, let me tell you, it's fucking scary at times. You look to your right and it's all ocean and a steep drop. Most of the road had no shoulder or guardrail at all, so if you screw up, or get too jittery at the wrong time, you're going over, buddy. It's over. Large chunks of the road were one lane that had cars coming from both directions. A Mustang is a deceptively wide car too, and not exactly the most agile performer. As I took blind hairpin turn after blind hairpin turn, I was wishing to the car gods that they'd spontaneously turn my Mustang into a MiniCooper, but they totally ignored me. The fact that I was driving in flippies didn't make it any easier.
I was seriously sweating it a good part of the drive. I saw a goat, people. A goat. When you're seeing goats, you're pretty high up. And do you have any idea how long 20 miles can be when you're driving mountain roads? Loooong. There were a few times when I felt fear crawl up my throat and take my breath away. I'd see how narrow the road was, the blind turn coming up, and the fact that there was no shoulder or rail, and I'd say to myself "How the hell am I going to do this?" That's a lousy feeling. And if this wasn't bad enough, there were warning signs everywhere for falling rocks. I saw a bunch of small and medium sized rocks lying on the road at different spots, so the signs weren't bullshit. Then I thought, I'm in a convertible. I have no roof. If one of those rocks, or perhaps a boulder, decides to come a'tumblin' down from that steep incline, there's nothing to stop it from hitting me on the Noggin. I'm completely unprotected. Nice. But I made it. So, now we can laugh together... ha ha ha.
Well, I'm crashing.... I'll check for typos and nonsensical sentences later. If I don't get another entry in before I leave, I'll see you back on the Mainland. That'll be hella-cool. Peace out.