Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Slow down, you on Molokai

Back from the island, y’all …

I tell you what, if you want to drop out of life, Molokai is the place to go. Every single day, we woke up with the birds (literally — TONS of birds and other wildlife on this island), ate breakfast (often these amazing pastries from
Kanemitsu bakery) on the lanai (ocean view), greased up with SPF 50, loaded up a cooler with sandwiches and cold beverages, and hit a beach (at which we were almost always the only people there). With the chairs and beach umbrella provided by the condo, we were good for many hours. We came back to the place around 3:00, showered, and headed out for food.

Then we’d hang out on the couch for awhile, flipping among the five (5) channels on the TV and/or sitting on the lanai listening to our neighbor, a chatty older Brit who’d “been in Her Majesty’s Service for thirty-three years” (i.e. was in the Army) and is now “raking it in” as a consultant all over the world for the World Bank (Burkina Faso came up more than once) party like a frat boy with the other permanent or mostly-permanent residents of the complex (this was excellent theatre, by the way — they were on the other side of the lanai wall, obviously, so we’d sit there silently boggling at the stupid and awesome and awesome-stupid things they’d all say, and marveling at the booze they could put away). And then we’d go to bed around 9:00, to the cheery sounds made by the geckos scrambling here and there on the ceiling & walls.

We never wore shoes (flip-flops only, and not even those in our place), there was no air-conditioning (just the breezes), it was low 80s every day, and the action highlight of the week was this huge surfski race from Molokai to Oahu (37.2 miles!) that launched from our beach on Sunday. Oh, there was a hula festival — Molokai is the birthplace of hula — on Saturday, with performances, music, crafts, and food booths, from one of which we got the most AMAZING mahimahi tacos.

Molokai is not a place of action, any kind of action at all (except a widespread disgruntlement about developing
La’au Point, illustrated by the many dozens of homemade signs by the road, e.g. “NO LA’AU!”). In that way, it’s kind of awesome. They just don’t appear to give a fuck about any kind of industriousness at all — frex, the one “upscale” place, the Lodge at Molokai Ranch, looks nice … but the food BLOWS and the service is half-assed at best. As far as local industry/local pride, there is a coffee plantation, revived a few years ago that just this month had enough of a harvest to put out 100% Molokai-grown coffees (I bought some, obv) — but it’s owned and run by some businesspeople from California. There are about six restaurants — two were crap (the Lodge, and the Hotel Molokai … potato flakes, need I say more?), one was pretty good (Molokai Pizza Café), and one was AWESOME (Kualapu’u Cookhouse, now with a sister place, Kukini Cookhouse, on the Big Island); most closed by 8:00, and only the Cookhouse used any kind of local ingredients — I guess this is the San Franciscan in me, but why aren’t they all using local produce, local fresh fish, serving Molokai coffees and whatnot? I suspect if you asked a Molokaian this, you’d get a blank stare and a shrug. They do not give a fuck — they like it the way it is, just fine. And I gotta respect that type of commitment, honestly.

I could go on — the hilarious one-strip airport, the chatty couple we met in the Island Air terminal in Honolulu and whom we kept running into all week (small island, brah), the creeptacular abandoned hotel on the same property as our condo complex, the grocery store that still gives out stamps instead of using a card, the two radio stations that played only Hawaiian music (awesome), the great vistas and isolated feel of the place — but I’ll stop here, since this post has gone on long enough. I’d recommend Molokai only to hard-core adventurers (kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, etc.) or to anyone trying to escape — REALLY escape — U.S. mainstream life. It was great, but in many ways, it’s farther away than you can imagine.


Blogger Sarah said...

Thank GOD you're back. I don't know if they have papers in Hawaii, but a tree fell on John and Elly's dreams.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Jory Dayne said...

Glad you're back, homegirl! I had some King's Hawaiian sweet bread the other day (a piss poor substitute for the real thing, but hell, I'll take what I can get) and wondered how you were getting on out there.

Did you make it down to the Colony? Mainly I'm asking if your vacation involved mules in any way.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

Oh god, Jory -- "Mainly I'm asking if your vacation involved mules in any way." HA! Awesome.

No, didn't do the mule ride, cause of the impending Kid Gleemonex (also meaning I can't take up surfing, or mountain bike the upcountry, boo!). And boy, was I sorry -- VERY sorry -- to miss hangin' with mules. Oh yeah, shoor, you betcha. But hey, we went to the lookout, so we did get to see the peninsula from afar -- spectacular view, for reals.

10:29 AM  
Blogger bgirl said...

sounds glorious. welcome back.

by the way, i figured out who you were many moons ago.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

You did? Really? I had my suspicions about you, but I wasn't quiiite sure ... until the sister thing clinched it. ;-)

Fun bgirl/Gleemonex anecdote, if I have deduced correctly: During my senior year, I went to a party you two threw at your house while your parents were away, got INCREDIBLY drunk on wine coolers, and ended up walking the six blocks home (or whatever it was) while a boy (initials S.S., he was in your class) drove my mom's car home for me ... gooood times. Hey, email me sometime if you want --

10:24 AM  

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