Adventures in Paradise

23 06 2011

I have found a place where it is constantly 80 degrees and yet one is rarely too hot. Welcome to Maui, where sun shines and trade winds blow and the pool is never far away. Of course, even in paradise one must babysit one’s alabaster skin. It’s a bit of a bother that one can never step outside without first dousing oneself in SPF 2000, and even more of a bother that said sunscreen makes a greasy mess of long hair. Nevertheless it is gorgeous here and we have a well-shaded deck where one can enjoy the sun without being actually touched by it.

Currently I am sitting on aforementioned deck or “lanai” watching kids play in the pool and little birds fight each other for breakfast crumbs left on the floor of the lanai. The surf has been unusually high here due to a recent storm in New Zealand so snorkeling or paddle-boarding had to be abandoned for another day. It’s the first day that I haven’t gone in the water at all, actually. It’s been more of a reading/drawing/hanging out kind of day.

Yesterday we braved aforementioned high surf and went up to Napili to play in the waves. My five Mansours and the other six Mansours trooped out of our condo complex looking like nothing so much as a colorful cattle drive. Twelve of us make almost a parade with our brightly coloured swimsuit cover-ups and board shorts. It’s just a short trip to the beach, maybe five minutes on foot.

Let me tell you, when locals say “high surf” they ain’t kidding. The waves on Napili (previously sedate, friendly and un-impressive)  were sweeping up to the shrubberies and above the heads of the swimmers. Lynn, the youngest of the other Mansours and I walked down to the sheltered area of the beach and floated around. And I would have been fine if I’d stayed there. Instead, foolishly, I walked back toward the center of the beach and came across Barry who invited me to “dive into the waves”.

I know. I’m an idiot.  Read the rest of this entry »


Indiana Jones, Butt-Cracks, and How to Climb a Banyan Tree

18 06 2011

We won’t say who but SOMEONE had the brilliant idea to drive the Hana Highway yesterday. Honestly I was non-plussed about the idea but phrases like “The Garden of Eden” and “Once in a Lifetime” and “Not to be Missed!” were bandied about with such extraordinary enthusiasm that I became convinced. How bad could a road trip in Hawaii be, even if it did take “all day”?

Oh. Oh how unimaginative I was, that younger and more foolish version of myself.

The day started at 5:30 am. I woke up and dragged myself down to the kitchen where I scrambled two eggs and downed an enormous glass of juice. Mostly to offset the intense dizziness that I’d been battling all night. We were on the road by 6:45 and made a quick stop at Starbucks/Safeway for water and snacks.

Now, it was early decided that we would take both Barry’s convertible jeep and my Nissan Sentra. To all fit in the jeep one of us would have had to sit in the way back and my porcelein skin would not have survived all day exposure to the sun.

The sun that, it may be noted, rarely made an appearance.

So there we were, me driving my “Gray Ducky of Doom” following Captain Speedy in his black jeep. Let it also be noted that all three of the kids opted to ride with me. Turns out they were wiser than they could have known. About fifteen minutes into the drive the rain started so we all pulled over and I sat in the Ducky and watched Barry and Lynn scramble to get the top on the jeep. It’s a sight that we were able to enjoy at least fourteen times throughout the day as Barry took off then replaced the top sporadically.

Somewhere in the middle of Maui we were treated to a double rainbow and somewhere farther along we got to see some Eucalyptus trees. They are WORTH pulling over to enjoy.

And then it started…. three hours of single-lane switchbacks through mountainous, ravine-laced mountains. I’m told that this portion of the drive was the “Garden of Eden” that I’d heard tell of, and it may well have been. You don’t get to enjoy much of Eden when you’re focused on keeping on the road and staying close to the ass-end of the lead vehicle. Never mind the fact that I had a car FULL of nausea-prone young people who were also growing hungry. Hungry Mansours are no joke, let me tell you.  Indiana Jones would have wet himself. (Meghan’s are naturally bold and fearless, though, so I was cranky but undaunted!) Read the rest of this entry »

Of Snorkeling, Scissor-Sweeps and Sunshine

15 06 2011

For those of you who did not know, I am spending a couple of weeks vacationing in Maui. The timing could not have been better. The past two weeks have been incredibly intense work-wise. Intense to the point that I wasn’t really eating whole meals for days at a time. And to top it off, last Saturday I had my very first karate test.

In fact, let’s lead off with the karate test story.

Part of the Kempo culture is that you NEVER tell a white belt anything about testing. You tell them to drink water and show up and nothing else. So, like the dutiful Padawan, I drank a ton of water, ate a protein bar, cleaned my gi and showed up. Now, let me state once again for the record that I’m in good shape. Not fantastic shape- I’m no Olympian- but I can run for an hour and do a decent number of push-ups etc. Also, I used to dance three and four times a week and have a personal trainer. And in all my experience I have never had a workout as difficult as my yellow belt test. To be fair, part of the difficulty was in the emotional strain of a testing environment. They didn’t shred me completely but the Senseis certainly pounded me into a pulp.  Read the rest of this entry »

Everyone’s got a Fortress

5 06 2011

Growing up I had a deep and abiding desire to be Superman. Not because of the flying or the super strength or even the excellent hair (though it IS excellent) but rather because he had a super cool second home. That’s right- I was jealous of the Fortress of Solitude. In the interest of full disclosure I will admit that I still am completely jealous of the caped-man’s ice palace.

It’s been an interesting month. Begun with great disappointment, filled with work of various kinds, and replete with new and happy experiences. You can imagine the appeal of a far-removed and silent room. The older I get, though, the more I am able to remember that everyone who knows the Lord HAS a fortress of solitude. It’s an interior castle and easily accessed.

In other news the latest show at the Theatre has been more enjoyable than I anticipated. I’ve found some really good sorts among the cast and enjoy my nightly talks with various people. I’ve learned a few things about kung fu movies and horrified everyone with my karate bruises. Today I had to have one of my old buddies smell-check my hair. (The guy behind the theatre has a smoker and when I went outside to do the recycling I came in smelling of woodsmoke and bacon. Luckily we determined that as long as no-one smelt my hair I’d be ok).

It’s hard for me to find  the right blog topics. When things are going well I haven’t the time to write and when things are hard I am wary of “spilling my guts” all over the internet. Especially when the people who read this would gain little from full disclosure.

Suffice it to say that work is an emotional challenge, karate is continuously awesome and JCS is a twice-weekly ego boost.