27 November 2011

Things That Are True - Observations from a Small Island in the Pacific

A few observations from my last 48 hours or so:

You wouldn't think a two hour time change could wreak so much havoc on a family routine - but does it ever. We were woken our first morning in Hawaii by The Imp actually running tight circles in our hotel room, chanting, "I'm not sleepy. I'm not sleepy. I'm not sleepy." Over and over. It was 4:30.


We immersed ourselves in Americana this morning and had a highly salted and oversweetened breakfast at Denny's. The thirteen year old girl at the table next to us was having a Red Bull and nothing else at 9:00. I hope that she had a healthier meal when she too woke at 4:30 am. I'm kind of surprised we didn't see her later, running in tight circles on the sidewalk, chanting, "I'm not sleepy. I'm not sleepy."

Aside: the Denny's on Kuhio is possibly the whitest place on Oahu - except, of course, for the staff. But you know you're about to get value for money when the majority of a business' customers are octogenarians with fanny packs. And I'm talking about the men.


The Imp is much more opinionated about how he wants to spend his time this trip. The difference between not quite three and almost three and a half is remarkable. Not only does he remember every single thing that we saw and did six months ago, he has very distinct notions about how and when he wants to repeat them. It's been an interesting couple of days, managing his demanding behaviour and trying to discipline him in a way that doesn't involve me spending hours sitting with a sullen child in a hotel room. Follow-through sucks, y'all.

But when he is behaving, it's a joy to behold:

Unless you have a heart of stone.

The Imp spent a bunch of time running up and down the beach across the street from our hotel. It's possible he was chanting, "I'm not sleepy. I'm not sleepy," under his breath. What stopped him in his tracks was a dude with a metal detector working his way along the unoccupied bits of sand. Metal Detector Man was, as if straight from central casting, an octogenarian man with a fanny pack. The Imp was riveted.


It's been a long time since I wore, or even much cared, about what was trendy in the fashion world. But here's fair warning for you: mom jean cutoffs seem to be a thing. That's right, waistline-meets-armpit washed denim cut so short that pockets flap around underneath their ragged hems. Cut so short you get to see whatever the bum equivalent of side-boob is. (Side-bum?) Based on the alarming number of young Japanese women I saw today sporting this look (because really, any number higher than one is somewhat alarming, no?) I am officially old and not-stylish. And I'm totally okay with that.


Vancouver and Honolulu are, except for the weather, remarkably similar: both adjacent to ocean and mountains, both ethnically diverse, both highly influenced by a variety of Asian cultures, and both magnets for global investors who drive the price of real estate higher than the jobs provided by the local economy can afford. Of all the American cities I've visited, Honolulu actually feels the most like Vancouver to me - with the glaring exception being, of course, Vancouver's lack of palm trees and trade winds. The Imp keeps asking if we're still in Hawaii.

The Imp: "It doesn't look like Hawaii, Mom. It looks like Vancouver."
Me: "What are you talking about? How can you say that - the weather's beautiful today!"
The Imp: "It looks like Vancouver with all the coffee places."

We were exiting Starbucks at the time, so yeah.


There were a number of times today that I was struck by what a cliche I am. A slightly frumpy, fifteen pounds overweight, middle-aged woman wandering around Waikiki, stopping at beach-side tourist restaurants to sip slushy drinks with a tower of fruit and paper umbrellas poking out the top, going to the beach and training my camera on my much doted-upon child. At one point I even was given an orchid to weave into my hair.

I'll admit, I felt self-conscious for about five minutes. Then I decided it didn't matter. I'm here with my best friend and my child, and we are enjoying the sun, and the ocean, and the family time. I tucked my orchid behind my ear, island-style, looked out at my boy running through the waves, and embraced the cliche.

If this is cliche, I'll take it.

And now, the boys are both snoring, and I am sleepy, so until tomorrow, aloha.

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