Saturday, August 20, 2005

Potluck, moonwalk, snorkleswim

Last night, the street had a potluck. I ended up cooking a bunch of some old world pilaf. I had never cooked this collection of grains before. Consulted the internet and was unable to track down any instructions. So, I ended up tapping into common sense. This particular batch of old world pilaf consisted of brown rice, split peas, black eyed peas, orange lentilish looking things and some other unidentified grains. According to my sister, Liz, brown rice takes 50 minutes to cook and 10 minutes to settle. This became my benchmark. The grabbag of grains ended up only taking 40 minutes. Meanwhile, the potluck ends up delaying for an hour or so.

The potluck ends up taking place in the back yard of one of Liz's neighbors. I think I surprised some of the neighbors when they saw what I brought. I had added salt, pepper and onion powder and the dish actually tasted pretty good. Not bad for the first time and not having any instructions. The crowning moment came when one woman's baby kept asking for more. The mother was very pleased and asked me questions about what it was and how to make it. She explained that her daughter was very picky about what she'd eat.

After dinner I was invited to go to a full moon walk. A bunch of us piled in to Andrea's mini van and cruised into Waimea Falls Park. The night sky is grey with indirect moonlight, it is behind some cloud cover. We wait in line to pay money for this unguided walk. There are eight of us, we walk along the asphalt trail and after 10 minutes or so we reach the falls. There must be 80 people or so that have arrived here. We sit in a kind of bleachers type set up that face the waterfall. Time goes by and the moon is not showing. We are surrounded by steep hills that are delaying the moon's appearance. The clouds are also shielding moonlight but once and a while we can see the moonshadow above the waterfall and this gives us some kind of method to estimate how long it will take. Anyway, it starts raining, 2 little girls with us start crying, moon is hiding... thus, we get up and go. Along the way back, we see the full moon. I wonder if they can see it back at the falls. It does not really matter to me. I kind of just want to get back away from all these flashlights. Along the way and while we were sitting, tourists were shining their flashlights all over the place, on the waterfall, on trees and in my eyes. All I can think is: what's the deal with all the flashlight activity. I call this flashlight pollution.

I ended up helping Roberto around the yard today. He trimmed all his hedges and trees. I raked up the green debris (Liz joined in and helped too), dumped it all in the back of his black Pick up and then we drove to the dump. Along the way, we encountered the traffic which has been increasing as much as Google's stock these last few years. As we approached the now famous turtle beach, Roberto told me how much of the traffic is caused by the word of mouth promotion of this beach by the various hotels. Tourists drive from the south shore in rented cars and buses just to see the turtles. There does not seem to be enough parking or any crosswalks. Folks are continually vying to cross the street for a 70 yard stretch. Traffic can be backed up for miles.

On the way back, we stopped at Shark's Cove and snorkled for an hour or so. This is my first snorleing on Oahu. I've enjoyed this past time on Kauai but never here. I enjoyed it more here, the topography of the ocean floor was much more interesting. The classic tourist moment occurred when I spotted a sea turtle being chased by a couple. They were trying to photograph the shelled creature with their new fangled water proof camera. In their enthusiasm, they became oblivious to the turtle's soverignty. Soon enough, the turtle left them in his underwater wake. The woman glared at her husband and he put his hands up in response.