As readers of Erica’s blog know by now, we recently got back from a trip to Kaua’i, in Hawaii. This was all made possible by Erica’s grandma, who paid for the plane tickets for 27 other family members, including a fiancé (Ivan) and a boyfriend (me). (THANK YOU AGAIN ELLIE!!) The families were split up into several different condos, and fortunately, Ivan and I had one all to ourselves.
Fortunately, that is, until we opened the door.
Sure, the condo itself was posh enough with its stained sofa cushions, slanted balcony (so the water from the occasional and non-fatal torrential storms can run off), flushing toilet, and two unmarked VHS tapes underneath the TV which the prospect of watching was more frightening than the freakishly huge brown spider hiding in the closet which Ivan broke a broom clean in half while trying to kill – that’s right, our condo was the height of luxury.
That is, it would have been, had Ivan and I not been two firmly straight men with significant others. In other words, the sight which made the greatest impression on us as we walked in the door for the first time, and which we had been afraid of for days before the trip, was the single queen-size bed which welcomed us with open sheets.
Needless to say, I spent a nice relaxing week sleeping on the luxurious pull-out sofa bed - which made loud clanging sounds as if it were stuffed with rusty cans, when any delicate amount of weight was placed on it. Like my spine. Though oddly enough, it was quite comfortable. Plus, I don't think I'll ever need to go to a chiropractor for a readjustment again.
However, the view outside on the balcony – spectacular. I’ve never seen such a beautiful adjacent condo before in my life. And the obstructively dense trees which prevented any sight past fifty feet – gorgeous. And the forsaken roosters who woke me up at five in the morning every day – vastly underappreciated without a gun nearby.
Perhaps a loosely accurate dialogue which Erica recommended I share would help to understand this better...
Erica says to Ivan (seriously): So I hear you have a nice view?
Ivan: A view of what?
Erica: Well, don't you have a pretty view from your balcony?
Ivan: Well, yeah - we have a very pretty view of a bush.
Speaking of fun, many of us went on a Zodiac tour along the western shore of the island. In order to kill two birds with one stone (splat…splat), allow me to show a picture of a Zodiac raft to both inform anyone who doesn’t know what a Zodiac is as well as to illustrate what it was like to ride one.
Please find it in your heart to forgive my elementary Paint skills. But that picture basically sums it up. Most of the younger-aged people in the family went on the Zodiac raft tour, which really is a lot of fun if you aren’t planning on using any part of your back for the next week.
Basically, the Zodiac involves sitting on the side of the raft and holding onto two sturdily attached (ha ha ha) pieces of rope. One of them sits underneath your thighs and you have to grab onto it between your legs, and one of them lies behind you and you have to twist your arm and most of your body around to grab it. There is also an extra rope to drape over your feet so that you won't be automatically plunged into the depths in case the other two ropes spontaneously break. This way you'll just be hanging humiliatingly halfway out of the boat - your face lovingly embracing the waves as they give a new and painful meaning to the term "Ocean Spray".
Provided you manage to avoid falling out and being devoured alive by flesh-eating sea turtles, you end up sitting in this semi-pretzeled position for about three hours, wondering which of your limbs is going to snap in half first.
But the trip is definitely worth it – because the final destination of the tour is a gigantic reef (a lesser known archaic translation of reef is “ocean hangout for hungry fish with a hankering for pasty-white tourists”). Amongst this reef, we all went snorkeling, which was one of my favorite parts of the trip because you get to float over schools of fish that look like they were left alone in a room with a three-year old and a box of phosphorescent crayons.
All humor aside for a moment, one of the more memorable moments of the trip was when we got to see a full rainbow from end to end, and actually got to see it touch the sandy beach outside of our car. However, I didn’t see any leprechauns, pots o’ gold, or Lucky Charms. Lousy false advertising.
And of course, arguably my favorite part of the trip was seeing the sea turtles. Just ask Erica – she’ll tell you I took about 67,362 pictures of them. We saw tons of them throughout the trip, and we got anywhere from just over a few feet away above the surface of the water in the Zodiac to standing on some lava rocks where waves were breaking and we were able to overlook them swimming in the current right next to the face of the rock.
Here's a picture I have to include because I caught it just at the right time, as this gecko was strutting its stuff, doing pushups on a palm tree just outside the girls' balcony.
We also went on a long and rainy hike that most of the group disliked, probably because it turned more into a muddy Slip n’ Slide than an ascent. Actually, let me clarify that. Most of the GIRLS disliked it. For us guys, we had fun reverting back to the carefree and coincidentally dirtier days of childhood, mucking and sliding our way along. Plus, it gave me an excuse to throw away an old pair of sneakers.
The great thing about this trip was that no matter how much fun I make of such insignificant details as the bedding situation or the Zodiac trip (which was worth it just for the turtles alone) or the killer spider that proved firemen don't necessarily have to be fearless about everything (just kidding Ivan), it doesn't change how much fun Hawaii was. It was a total blast. Just ask this happy looking couple: