Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Paradise ended

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:57 PM 0 comments Links to this post
A long day flying from Kahului to Kona to Honolulu to SFO. I was never one to be happy to go home. I'm a vagabond in nature and happiest away from home. I took one last long look at the West Maui Mtns and my beloved sugarcanes on my way to the airport. I've tried to hold in my tears when IslandAir took off. Back at Kona I didnt want to let go. I bid a silent farewell to Mauna Kea. Dunno when I'd be back. As the HawaiianAir plane ascended into the blue sky, the view below diminished into a pool of green and black lava rocks, and with it my joy and peace. Back to my dull uninteresting life in a dry cold place.

island air
 IslandAir Dash8-100

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

East Maui volcano

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:57 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Driving to Hana was my original plan. But since being here, I just couldnt handle any more emotions so I've decided to dedicate the morning to Haleakala. First order of business was to have Portuguese sausage and rice at McDonald. My favourable island breakfast. Since I was in Oahu last, there's no longer any guava juice at Hawaiian MickyDee. Shame! Holding another Portuguese sausage plate, the girl said 'another Portuguese', and I stepped up to the counter. Hee hee. Another Portuguese indeed! I sat outside, poured soya sauce over the sticky rice, cut the linguica into manageable bite sizes, and mixed them with the scrambled egg, and sipped my coffee. I could still hear the distant waves and smell the sea from where I was. That's truly paradise! With my iPod blasting, the road to Haleakala was filled with sugarcane plains, mountain views, then purest white clouds and absolutely blue sky above them. Truly paradise! At about 7000 ft the crater floor showed itself. Amazing red and amber colors top the cinder cones which once upon a time had been pyroclastic. No time for any serious hike down the crater and at a little over 10,000 ft on the summit, I was beginning to feel lightheaded with an imminent headache approaching. So I went back down to town. Last dinner on the island was at the Tommy Bahama's Tropical Grill in Wailea with Laura and Ben. The food was good. It would probably take another year at least before I came back and see them. Thank you Tom for the suggestion. Got an emotional high here but I needed it. Gosh, I love Maui!

haleakala
Haleakala crater


haleakala

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Maui No Ka Oi

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM 0 comments Links to this post
14 years is a long time. As Island Air 1148 cut through Maui descending to Kahului, I could see Haleakala sprawling below me. The familiar tradewinds picked up and the Dash 8 37 seater bounced a little. Soon as I stepped down on Maui soil, I wanted to kiss the ground. Instead, I leaped in the air. I could not hold the joy inside me. I feel so much for this island. It was a clear day and behind the airport, the volcano shows itself plainly. "Today is a good day to drive to the summit" said Laura. Driving to the hotel, I saw my old carpets of sugarcane, moving with the wind. The smell, the sounds, the tastes, the wind, the humidity, the mountains, all reminded me of long ago. Drove to Wailea to window-shop and admire the new developments there. Later, Laura took me to the Maluaka beach where she and Ben got married. A secluded cove, with warm shallow water, few people, and little surf. I floated there on the clear sea, with alternating warm and cold undercurrents. On impulse, in the late afternoon, I drove to Lahaina with the glorious orange sun setting on my left and the Mauna Kahalawai (West Maui Mtns) on my right. I've forgotten how spectacularly beautiful this drive was. Lahaina Front st was packed with tourists. It was already dark by the time I reached it, and being alone, I didnt feel like staying for dinner. So it was a quick hello and goodbye. I just had to see it. That night sitting in my private lanai overlooking the Pacific, listening to the distant sound of the waves breaking upon the shore, I thought of him.

bird in engine
 Mauna Kahalawai
  (West Maui Mtns)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

till death do us part

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM 0 comments Links to this post
I got so emotional. It wasnt what the pastor was saying but the sight of the love birds beholding each other. I was happy for them. The wedding was a big reunion of friends I havent seen in a long time, and people I've heard of and seen pictures of and wanted to meet for a long time. In the morning M and I shopped at the Kona International market for local crafts. Then lunch at the Buba Forrest (run Forrest run!). Then to the Hilton and slowly people started appearing at the chapel. Hugs and more hugs and I was almost in tears. What makes life worthwhile is that once in a while you get to see your friends who live far from us but always so close to our hearts. And seeing them all, all in good health, and radiantly happy to be there, and they just wanted to know how I've been, and we just talked and talked. Finally the bridal procession started and my tears began to roll down my cheeks. The sun began to move down the horizon leaving streaks of amber and gold in the sky, the sound and smell of the Pacific, the surf slowly crashing on the black shore, the palm trees blowing with the wind, a perfect setting for a romantic wedding. Later, after the meal was partaken and speeches by the best man and maid-of-honor done, to everyone surprise, Tom dedicated a toast to all who were not present, fathers from both sides who were no longer with us, mothers who couldnt make it, Tom's sister Sue whose ashes were scattered off the Kona coast a few years ago, and then friends who came from far away such as Janet who turned bright red, and all those who through the years hung around him for better and for worse, and the blessing of a beautiful daughter. We drank to all that and I thought the dedication really put a meaningful touch to the occasion. Then it was time to be totally silly. We danced the night away. We let go of our bashfulness and inhibition. We loved the playlist Tom and Amelia put together and upon each favorite song, we made fools of ourselves on the dance floor. Later Cathy and I had a nice chat about relationships and raising children. It was always so good to talk to her, always so open and understanding. When our alloted time ran out, and lights were off, the problem we all had was 'how to get out of here? how to get back to my room?'. Gosh, this place is so big, it's scary! That night I couldnt sleep. Even with the amount of drinking I had, my mind just wouldnt let me call it a day. Images of reunion with my dear friends kept flashing on my mind. When will be the next time when all of us would be together again?

wedding
wedding
wedding
wedding

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday, November 03, 2006

last day as bachelor

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Driving to Volcano and to Hilo was what I had wanted. But the hike to the lava flow proved particularly difficult this year, and since I didnt feel like doing anything else in Volcano, we decided not to go to the Hilo side. Instead, we drove north and stopped at Waimea for a bit of natural air conditioning. The highlight of the day was dinner at the Kona Brewery. Nice place. With outside seating (what else?). We had 3 pizzas: 3 mushrooms, greek and pesto. One of the best pizzas I've ever had. Truly! And of course the Hippo had to sample the local beer. No Sprite mixed in. I really cant remember which I liked the best - the Hula I think, but the Fire Rock Pale Ale was good too. I just remember I didnt like the Lilikoi. Here I finally met the legendary Lou, Laura's brother. Been seeing his photographs for a long time now and finally met him in the flesh. Handsome young man, extremely nice and polite. I like him a lot. His girlfriend Daron was also there. Extremely friendly and I felt like I've known her for a long time. She has the rare gift that makes you feel right at home with her. Then back to the condo to see Tom one last time as a bachelor. They were practicing the dance, and we took a few photographs to remember how Tom 'used' to look like while still a bachelor. Tomorrow is the big day, what we came to the Big Island for. I couldnt wait!

kona brewery
 At the Kona Brewery


last night as bachelor
 Last night as bachelor

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bachelor's party and Stuffy bet

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Although my heart belongs to another island, the black volcanic rocks of the Big Island always gave me a sense of awe. There's something about driving up and down Hi 19 on the Kona side. The views of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, spreading out enormously, the clear Pacific and the black pu'us! Oh! I parked the rental in front of Bvlgary and Maria was surprised I made it there so quick (hey, it's the Hippo!). We had lunch at the Hilton by the pool with the waterfalls and drove down to check out my otherwise hotel, the Sheraton in Keahou. On our way back to Waikoloa, we stopped at the farmer's market in Kona and picked up some tropical fruit for the party tonight. Papaya, star fruit, guava and a big whole pineapple. I wore the orange and brown dress that Maria got me from Singapore to Tom's "Bachelor's party". When Doug opened the door for us, the site was a total delight. Janet leaped out to hug me. We havent seen each other for 7 years! Then Laura appeared and Ben followed with a gentle bear hug. Everyone was there and eager to hear my adventure trying to leave SFO. The food was from Costco and all good. We had tri-tip, salmon, macaroni salad, which Laura showed me how to eat the Maui way, mixing it with sticky rice, sushi and lots of fruit and of course wine. With my favorite Blackstone Merlot in a crystal glass in hand, I wandered from buddy to buddy to catch up with all. Of course I brought my stuffy. It was small Leo's turn but in haste I left him back at the house, so I brought small Snowie instead, who happened to be staying with grandma. Tom's bet was the snow leopard (which by the way, I didnt have) and upon laying eyes on Snowie, thought he won. So I had to explain that Snowie is a white tiger instead, so he really didnt win. And Karen just laughed! After the meal and visiting, most of the guests departed and the remaining intimate group stayed around the coffee table and chatted. The iPod was playing the wedding playlist and Doug dimmed the lights. Except for a fire burning in the background, the ambience was perfect. With the Merlot now in my head, I felt relaxed and happy amidst good company in paradise.

bachelor party

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

on behalf of the entire seagull community

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM 0 comments Links to this post
"we apologize for the delay!" said the flight attendant when we finally landed in Honolulu. It was a tiring horrendous day trying to fly out of SFO. As soon as the plane took off, the Hippo, who was sitting next to the right engine, heard a loud noise and instantly thought something must be wrong. Then I noticed the plane circling above SF. Strange! Soon the captain said we're returning to SFO because a bird got sucked in to the right engine. It was a smart move! None of us wanted to fly over the Pacific with a dead bird in the engine. We learned later than an enormous gull got in to the engine and knocked out a third of the fan blade. The plane was appropriately named Nene (Hawaiian goose). Another hour went by before we were told Hawaiian Airlines would fly another 767 from Seattle and the new departure time was now 4PM. We had 6 hours to wait! I thought of going back to my parents to have lunch. But we were offered $10 worth for lunch, and I just didnt fell like Bart'in out to the city and back. So, with the rest of the passengers, I hung out at the airport. When the plane finally arrived at the gate, we applauded. By then we made friends with each other. When we were finally onboard the new plane, the captain said "scene 1 take 2, and no more birds!". We finally landed in HNL around 9PM. Still in the state of confusion, we were told all inter-island flights had already taken off for the day, and so Hawaiian put us all in a cheap hotel, next to the airport, the Honolulu Airport hotel. Instead of spending the day in sunny and warm Waikoloa among friends, and the night in a comfy timeshare, I spent the day in a stuffy airport and the night alone in the worst hotel I've ever been. The cups were made of paper and smelled like coffee, the carpet was damp, and the towels smelled of armpits. I missed a day in the Big Island. But all was not lost. I called and got to chat with June. I actually forgot to bring her phone number but luckily she was listed on the local phone book. It's been many many long years since I heard her voice. She was surprised I was spending the night in Honolulu. And Hawaiian gave us a $200 voucher for the delay. It was a good gesture since the incident was not their fault. And this gave me another excuse to fly to Hawaii again within the year. Not altogether a bad deal!

bird in engine
Hm, I cant see the bird 
 in the engine. Can you?


bird in engine
 

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