Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Aloha #2

Water Day!
Our next day in Waikiki was set aside as a water day.  Time to play on the beach and in the pool!  We gathered our essentials, bought a couple of bamboo sand mats and crossed the street onto Waikiki Beach.  It  didn't take us long to find a suitable spot, right next to the judges’ tent for the surfing competition being
held this weekend.

If she can, I can!
I have always wanted to surf, but in the past my eyesight prevented me from doing so.  However, since my cataract surgery I can now see reasonably well without my glasses.  Okay, I might hit a car or two on the freeway, but I can see surf boards and such.   Anyway, watching all these dudes and wahinis glide around on their surfboards was inspiring.  Even their falls looked graceful.  And just offshore there was a class where they were teaching kids as young as five years old.

Headed out!
The more I watched, the more certain I was:  I could surf and today was gonna be the day for me to become a surfer!  I told Mona what I wanted to do and she was there for me.  “Go for it!” were the words I heard. (It was either that or, “What about your back?!?!”)  I rented my board and headed for the water!  About three feet in I stopped and strapped the board to my ankle.  I had learned this from watching.  (Old Hawaiian saying, “Observation key to learning.”)  The board and I were now one!

From observation, I knew that I now needed to lie down on the board and gracefully paddle my way out to the “the line up” (dude talk for the line where the surfers line up waiting for a good wave).  But first, I had to make it past the breakwater which was about 20 yards out.  I gave the board a big push and glided up onto the board and began to paddle.  Or so I thought.  The reality is that those boards pivot and spin like a whirligig and perfect balance is required.  (Old Hawaiian saying, “Uke mali mali haui lanai” which means “Balance is key to happy sailing.”)  At that point my balance was totally absent, much less perfect; hence my first big gulp of salt water and my first of many views of the board from beneath the board.  I spit out the water and clawed my way back onto the back of the board.  I was still in only 5 feet of water and had another 10 yards to get past the breaker.  After only two more dunkings I was past the breaker.  I was on my way!
I'm out there somewhere
....probably under my board

Now for the trek to the lineup.  Since it was so far out there I figured I’d have plenty of time to work on my balance.  I’m still just trying to lay flat on the board and paddle, but even that is a big effort considering the board, in tandem with the huge waves, is doing its best to “work” me.  (Surfer lingo for getting pounded by waves and pushed underwater.)  I’m definitely getting my butt worked off, but I’m making progress and slowly getting the balance of the board.  In the meantime, I’m in an incredible position to see my fellow dudes and wahinis doing some incredible surfing.  In fact, they are surfing right towards me….in fact, I’m in the “impact zone” meaning I’m in their line of surf and if I’m not careful I’m going to get a mouthful of “hanging ten”….time to turn right!!!  (Old Hawaiian saying, “Kaumaua tinai aka aka oNo!” which means “Dude in impact zone means surfboard in a$$.”)

Okay, I’m out of the impact zone and on the line up…way the hell on the end of the line up out of the way of the real surfers.  I’m ready to surf!  I watch the other surfers…as the right wave comes along they quickly leap forward into a crouch then up to their feet and they’re off!  Wooty hoo!....err …Cowabunga!  I know I’m going to have to practice this a couple of times and I know I’m going to swallow a little sea water, but hey, you‘ve got to pay your dues to become a surfer on Waikiki!  Up I go.  Down I go.  Up I go.  Down I go.  (Old Hawaiian saying, “Upua kalakini kala kala pua” which means “For every up there is a down.”  No shit, Sevngali!)  I’m lucky I can swim pretty good cause I’m doing a lot of underwater swimming not to mention swimming to catch up with my board.  And my feet keep getting tangled in the cord so I’m having to do a lot of unwinding.  Note: This is not my idea of unwinding!

I continue to practice my up and down routine…not because I want to, but my ups only come with downs.  I was coming out of down and kind of into an up when I heard a yell which made me look behind me.  BIG WAVE!  Just as soon as I saw it, it had me.  The wave plunged me down and shot my board up.  Remember earlier when I told you where I strapped my board to my ankle?  That strap is a nylon rope, about ten feet long, and it’s firmly attached to my ankle and the back of the board.  It’s so you never lose the board and you always have a float if you get in trouble.  But, here’s what’s important…I’m being pushed down into the water.  The board is shooting out of the water.  We each reach our perigee and apogee and then I think I hear this “TWONNG” as the strap stretches past its limit.  All of a sudden I’m heading up and the board is coming straight back to me!!!  Holy aloha!  (Old Hawaiian saying, “Disa sucka gonna hurt!” which means … Screw it, I know what it means! These damn sayings aren’t helping a bit!  Those old Hawaiians can take their poi and mahola it in their luau!) 

Anyway, back to me and the board.  We are on a path to immediate intersection when luckily (luck is relative) the waves start to tumble me over and over wrapping my legs with the cord.  This alters the path of the board and we intersect almost lovingly me on the bottom, the board on top.  Whew!  Of course, I’m still underwater in a fast wave with my legs wrapped in cord, but that’s the lesser of the possible conclusions I had just faced.  (I’m not going to even mention the shark thoughts that went through this landlubber’s mind as my feet dangled off the end of the board throughout the experience.)

Somehow, I Houdinied my legs free, right-sided the board and heaved myself on.  I got my bearings and realized that all the commotion had moved me only a few yards towards shore.  I turned around and paddled back out to the lineup and decided that this is a cool spot…for watching the real surfers do their thing.  I propped myself up on my board and just watched.  What a vantage point to watch some incredible surfing!  It’s amazing what these men and women can do seemingly effortlessly!  I was most amazed by the surfers using the paddle boards.  They stand up on a shorter surf board and use a long paddle to get out to the lineup.  When a wave hits they surf on top of the wave and use the paddle for precision steering.  It’s amazing to see them glide on top of the waves shooting in and out of the curls at will.  What a thrill to watch…and to not attempt!

The picture of Exhaustion!
Finally, it’s time to head in. I’m tired and sore and ready to get off this board!  I turn towards shore and realize I've drifted farther out and way past where I left Mona.  Lots of paddling to do so I get to it!  Yes, conceptually I could have “surfed” my way in, but that would have involved more ignominious falls and water swallowing but I had enough thank you very much.  At last I got through the passage in the breakwater and was able to stand up.  Ahhh….terra firma at last!  I trudged up the beach, battered, bruised, and full of water but secure in the fact that I was one of Them: A surfer dude.  (Okay, so technically I was only up for a milli-second two or three times, but milliseconds count in my world.)  When I returned my board to the rental dude he asked how it went.  I just smiled and flashed him the shaka sign.  I was too tired to do anything else.

When I got back to Mona I asked if she had been watching.  “Nah,” she replied.  “You were so far out I really couldn't tell which one was you so I just walked the beach.”  Score zero for impressing my wahini!  Of course, had she been watching the score would have been in the minus 20 range...unless she could have seen my cool moves under my surf board.  She consoled me by taking me to a nearby beach diner and buying me a rainbow shave ice.  That ice would have felt good on my battered body but I resisted the urge and enjoyed the sweet treat in a more conventional way.
Surfer Dude's Reward

We both had enough of the beach and headed for the hotel pool.  We spent several hours just relaxing in the water and enjoying the sun.  Afterwards, we visited the Tiki Bar for great food and live music.  A day well done!

Next morning we were famished.  Time for a big breakfast.  We had heard about “Eggs and Things” and every time we walked by the place there was a line.  Time to give it a try!  The line was pretty long when we got there but it was supposed to be THE place for breakfast on Waikiki.  We had heard so much good we hadn’t even bothered to read any reviews of the place.  (Can you see where this is going?)  We were in line for 45 minutes, no exaggeration.  When we finally got to the head of the line we had to order.  Yes, you order before you’re seated.  Then you get into a line to pay….yep pay AND TIP before you’re seated.   We were then seated at a little bar along a wall with a buzzer.  When the buzzer went off we raised our hands.  The waiter brought our food to us on paper plates with plastic knives and forks.  Yes, the food was good, but seriously?!?!?  $28 for two eggs each, meat, and two pancakes each…on paper plates.  Even though we didn’t read the reviews you can bet I wrote one!

Next up was Ala Moana Mall, the largest mall in Hawaii.  It’s a multi-level open air mall and it’s huge with hundreds of stores.  Hundreds!  Guess which store we hit first?  In total, we visited two stores.  Then it was time to go up the fourth floor mezzanine for a cool beverage.  We ordered complementing pastel drinks and relaxed while talking to the bartenders.  Very nice!

We walked back to our hotel; past the Hilton Hawaiian Village, through Ft. DeRussey Park and then along Waikiki, stopping for a beverages and snacks as our whims desired.

Our dinner was sushi at Sensei.  It’s a famous sushi bar in our hotel and on this night it was 50% off…..if we can’t get it for free then 50% off will do!  We then walked over to the Moana Terrace of our hotel and listened to live Hawaiian music until it was time to turn in.

Aloha!  (And Shaka, Dudes!) 

No comments:

Post a Comment