Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I walked 10 miles on Sunday zbog cira.

I was all ruffled up with wrong downside up energy and aloneness on Sunday. So I got dressed for the beach; I put on my green flipflops, a candycane skirt that looks fall and heavy but is actually pretty light all cotton, and a red-vermillion husbandbeater with one motheaten hole just to the right of my belly button. I put a hari wrap in my bag and my journal and took off for our beach, Kaimana beach. Who wants to drive, anyway. I needed to exert myself, to move, to marinate in sunlight, and to brush up against the energies of strangers, let stimuli distract me from myself.

I live on one of the western-most streets of Waikiki, just at the edge, just at the threshold where Waikiki-ness fades and real life materializes. The real Waikiki feels like what I imagine Disney World might. Pristine, tiki-torched, dotted with historical Hawaiian monuments but rather void of authentic Hawaiian. Streets and beaches are lined with swaying clapping palms, abundantly flowering shower trees, towering royal palms, climbing bougainvilleas, the occasional giant viney banyan, and the stately, soft, rustling Australian pines. The main drags are narcissistically manicured, from the top of the themed-facade hotels down to the spotless real-stone sidewalks, void of lingering trash (yesterday I even saw some union guys scraping gum off the sidewalk). The side streets and back alleys tell grittier, less sparkly stories but are still bustling, still rich in Waikiki life, with run down walkups and paint-chipped hotel-apartments wearing their age, with hole-in-the-wall bars and restaurants whose less visible back-ends, corners, edges, and secret spaces are full of the skeletons of roaches and rats sunk in indistinguishable must and mold and black grime. But everywhere in Waikiki, you'll find jacked-up prices, and everywhere you look, you'll see people with bags of bought goods and carry out containers and hotel towels thrown over shoulders.

It must be magical here, when you first arrive from somewhere else. The weather is perfect, but perfect - tanktop temperatures, azure blue skies or pocket-raincloud skies with rainbows, always, just over your shoulder. So many noises and sights and street performers and beggars and bums and people from all over the entire world mingling together.

But crowded too, especially on the weekend, especially on the first weekend of summer.

We have a beach we like to go to, on the far hem of Waikiki (Diamond Head side), almost past it and a little less handled. If you are walking along the paved path that follows the water's edge, as you leave the heart of Waikiki, and you pass the intersection of Kapahulu and Kalakaua Aves, to your right the shore becomes reefier and the sandy beach narrows. To your left, beautiful green parks stretch out, with manicured lawns bordered by ironwood pines. If you walk just past these green spaces where you'll often see men in speedos collected, lounging on blankets in the grass, sunbathing, or splashing in the bluegreen waters. And then, if you walk past the Waikiki Aquarium and past the dilapidated, abandoned, no-trespassing Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium, a now-defunct ocean water public swimming pool built to honor the 10,000 men from the Territory of Hawai‘i lost during WWI. If you get that far, then you've found Kaimana beach.

Just around the corner from my apartment, I bought a liter of water and a cookies-n-cream hershey's bar at the ABC store (one of the biggest franchises, more common in Waikiki than starbucks in American suburbs, i'd wager). On my way, I weaved in and out of people and cars and noise and heat from the searing summer sun filling a crystal blue sky along the magnificent Pacific, past an art fair, booths set up in a skinny long triangular park between two tree-lined avenues. The "Glorious!!" kind of day that you want to exclaim about aloud with your arms raised above your head, palms to the sky. I was looking forward to the muted quiet of Kaimana. But when I arrived, I saw that the weekend crowds were collecting the same vibes as me from the Universe: "Today is a day for the beach!" The local crowds were out in numbers and the tourist beaches must have been so crowded that the overflow gushed right up and over into Kaimana. Writhing with life and colors and rainbow umbrellas, towel to towel, happy people, music and smells of barbecue wafting out from under big tents, so many noises they come at me in one single indistinguishable aoieranaogienoriuoaoiern (kind of like the whir of an engine).

I'm walking and thinking, who's gonna stop here when just over the rise, I can sit alone on a cliff and watch, 200 feet below me, the tiny surfers smaller than ants, and feel the wind whip my hair (which is getting long, by the way), and become void of thought and emotion, which is exactly what I needed, let the elements wash this clinging negative energy right off my chest and shoulders, out of my gut, up over Diamond Head mountain, and away. It'd blow full of air, like a plastic bag caught in the wind, dash up over the island on a draft, and land somewhere with a slight slap, in the middle of the Pacific. Or better yet, as it rises and falls, rushing along in the wind, bits and pieces fall away, neutralized in the loss of identity, until it all just fades into the beautiful chi of this planet.

So I kept walking. And I was speed walking by now. Today, I asked B if he wanted to see how fast I was walking. He said yes. We were in our parking garage and I walked out ahead of him, fast, the way I was walking on Sunday. He said people probably thought I was a crazy. Ha. I huffed and puffed my way up to the top of the rise (even passed a jogger--that was awkward) where the cliffs are lined with rock walls to sit on. But I couldn't stop; I was on a roll. My movement was mechanical by now. So I kept walking and walking and walking and walking.

Other side of Diamond Head was empty. The very opposite of Waikiki. Desolate. Creepy quiet. I walked to another neighborhood, another zip code. I walked around a mountain, really but not technically. I walked and walked till I realized all at once and three miles from home that my feet were hurting. That flip flops aren't the best speed walking boots. I started to hobble and practiced a meditation in moving through pain. I felt like I was on an adventure doing something pretty cool. I hobbled fast as I could down the mountain, down the hills, to the ocean, and to my house. On the way, a good-looking teacher tried to sell me huli-huli chicken (edit: at the school that, 9 years later, my son has just begun attending for kindergarten). They had about 70 chickens roasting on spits in the school's parking lot. Smelled sooooooo good. But I was unstoppable. I felt a bit like forrest gump. I felt like I could go on all day. Maybe even walk across a country. If it wasn't for my feet.

What a relief to get home almost three hours later. Sore and sweaty and better.

It has just turned midnight, so I suppose everything's in order.
(Edited 11/10/15)

1 comment:

whatyoudream said...

I love to think of you walking around Hawaii so fast people think you're crazy. So fast they really might say, even if it's just in their heads, with urgency, "Run!" It makes me laugh out loud, but not because it's funny and maybe because it's the same kind of breathless laugh with which they might run after you, had they the right shoes and the freedom to do so. There is something about your writing that conveys sincerity, and I think it's your mix of countries and languages that makes you seem at once completely American and yet sometimes like you've been translated from the French. (I like that phrase, "translated from the [whatever].") For instance, I laughed out loud at "husbandbeater" even though I'm sure other people have thought this word, but I've never thought it. It seems like a joke an outsider or an alien would find incredibly obvious. Like when you sometimes think "If aliens were watching us right now, they would be puzzled."

No one knows what it's like to live in Hawaii (on Hawaii?). Because of who you are you make it sound at once so everyday and so otherworldly.