Monday, August 01, 2005

You have officially arrived in Hawaii

Brian drove up in a green 2-door Ford Explorer. I was ready with an 8'6 longboard, borrowed from Liz. We loaded the surf board into the back, I grabbed a plastic bag, filled with essentials: rash guard, t shirt, cell phone, wallet and a water bottle; hopped into the small SUV and then we are off to pick up Bri's blue mini van.

We pull up at the gas station and I walk around the car and get into the driver's seat. The plan is to meet Brian at his condo. The drive goes smoothly. I park in the correct spot (they're all numbered here) and walk up the steps, knock on the door and am immediately greeted and welcomed by VIvi, Vini and Arlette. They are on their way out the door to play some tennis. Bri arrives and they sort our some of the details of their Monday reading night.

Soon enough, Bri and I are walking down Turtle Bay's main entrance road, It's a 10 minute walk to the point. He has his 4 month old Rip Curl 9 footer under his arm. He sports a black rash guard and board shorts. I've got Liz's board under my arm, a black rash guard on my back and board shorts. The humidity is so much higher here in Hawaii than California. The clouds break up the monotony of the hot sun and sprinkle bits of rain for a few seconds as we carve a path through the winds.

As we catch our first glimse of the ocean, the point that we will be surfing, we see that there are waves. There is a wind swell. I get in the water first and start paddling. The water burns my eyes but I just keep on trucking. The temperature of the salty liquid is warm and I revel in the supreme beauty as I make my way past boogey boarders and short boarders. Brian catches up and then goes passed me. I can only watch as he quickly catches a wave and takes it a hundred yards in. I try to catch the next wave but my spastic paddling is not enough to ride that wave. Meanwhile, Bri effortlessly paddles back to his spot. Waits a few minutes and catches another. The waves are mostly waste to shoulder high at this point. Thus, I am able to see him from behind, as he stands on the board and cuts to the right, riding the edge. This goes on for the first 15 minutes. As each wave rejects my poorly timed advances, like more women than I want to remember, my frustration grows. I can only admire brother Bri's flawless technique as he catches 5 waves to my none. He bends his knees and goes low, walks to the front of the board, slipping along the wall and lets it wash over him.

Finally, I let the frustration I feel take the form of a loud yell as yet another wave passes thru me like a ghost. I paddle back out to the place Brian has been catching his rides - like a hot chick in a bikini with her thumb out on Broadway. Then it happens. I catch my first ride. It takes me a hundred yards or so. I paddle back to the magic spot. Brian: "Now you have officially arrived in Hawaii."

The ice now broken, I relax and settle in. The launching pad is small. The window for catching these particular waves is near the reef. Bri and I sit on our boards and marvel at the good fortune of there being waves on the North Shore in the middle of the Summer on the first day of my vacation. Another wave comes, we both catch it, shoulder high, we ride, people watch from the side of the point, guests of the hotel. It is unique and special to have an audience while we surf. Normally it is just surfers but here, there are people, sitting on lava rock closely watching and they are close. I finish the wave by whooping and doing a flip off the board. I hear one of the spectators whoop back.

My arms, chest and lats feel tired. This is my first surf sesh in several weeks and before that - months... Bri makes it to the shore first and walks along the beach and up on the lawn. A minute later I am standing next to him, we smile and high the five. We walk back against a cross wind.

Arlette and Brian have a weekly reading night on Mondays. I am the musical entertainment tonight. I brought my slide didge with me on the flight and now I know why. Vivi picks out the books. Bri starts off by reading the first one and then I am chosen to read "Have You Seen My Mother?" Interestingly enough, this is one of my all time fave children's books and so I especially enjoy reading it to everyone. I wrap up the night by talking about the didj, playing it, imitating the elephant, dogs, coyotes, crows, elephants, Tibetan Buddhist Monks chanting and then vocalizing the names of the kids - all of this as I circular breathe.

The night ends with Brian, Vivi and I walking to the hotel. Vivi in the middle holds my right hand and Brian's left. The hotel is layed back but the workers are alert. We walk back along the road, Vivi holding our hands. Vivi: "My legs are getting tired."

We take a few steps, Vivi jumps as we swing her up into the air, she lands with a joyful laugh. We take a few steps and Vivi again is pulled up into the air. No more tired legs. We say good-bye and then I am in the Green Explorer driving the 2 miles back to Liz's. This vacation has begun.