I’m back in Waikiki, in the cheapest hotel I could find with a desk, fridge, microwave, and pool, but I wish I were there in the Ilikai.
Bonus: the light and phone makes me look like I’m half-zombie.
I could have just walked, I learned in a short while. I showed my negative covid results of a few days ago, picked up a Ford Fiesta (the car rental agent ominously told me most people prefer SUVs for the rough roads), turned on my GPS “Shaka Guide,” and headed north.
A “Shaka Guide” is a Hawaiian audio guide for phones. You plug it into the car audio via USB, turn off the Bluetooth, choose a tour, and then the guide talks you around the route, pointing out what to see and explaining Hawaiian history and culture along the way. There isn’t much cell service along these routes, but GPS coordinates trigger the talking points. These GPS tours have gained popularity this past year, as no one really wants to sit in a vehicle with a stranger for 4-8 hours while they explain the sights.
I just canceled my flight back to LA and got a one-way to Honolulu instead.
I know I'm being a weirdo. I guess I'd better go change my "hold mail" order.
I really will convince myself to go home. Maybe later this week.
Q: When are you going back to Burbank?
A: Maybe Sunday. Hawaii is currently two hours behind CA, so I start work at 7. On Sunday, the mainland time shifts and I'd have to go to work at 6. I might try it for one week but being perky at 6 a.m. sounds pretty rough.
Q: Are you a morning person?
Q: Are you a night person then?
A: Not really.
Q: Are you even a person?
A: I might be a cat or a guinea pig.
Q: Are you okay in the flooding?
A: I am! Thank you for checking.
Q: Are you really leaving Hawaii on Sunday?
A: I can't decide. I like not having the low-grade stress of worrying about covid.
Q: Do you like Hawaiian chocolate and Kona coffee?
A: Yes, I do. Thanks for asking.
As I sat at the Maui airport waiting to fly to Kona, I found myself having a conflicted reaction to the remarkable moment I am experiencing in Hawaii. I am sure I’d hate this voyage under normal cookie-cutter conditions, but right now the scarcity of traditional tourism is creating a nearly personalized visit. But also: guilt. People are dying of COVID. Everyone I know is suffering from exhaustion and the mediocrity of familiarity and routine. A form of prison for people used to a bit of daily novelty.
And here I am living with only moderate concessions to Pandemic World. My biggest inconvenience is my work day starts at 7.
The vistas are achingly beautiful here, but on Maui, even the few tourists create unpredictable situations. Just one mask-denier causes problems for the tour companies and vendors still operating. The open-air restaurants full of diners terrify me, and I only get carry-out. Sitting on the shuttle to Haleakala worried me too. And getting a COVID test for $125-$150 every time I move islands is more of a pain in the ass than I expected it to be.
Still, my experience here is unique and almost warms my jaded backpacker’s heart. I didn’t even jump down the throat of the Oklahoma guy who said how brave I am for traveling alone. I just said “Well, I’ve been around the world alone,” instead of pointing out Hawaii is a state and god, what a provincial take on women, tourism, traditional lifestyles, etc. Is that even still a thing, not being in a traditional family unit, women on their own?
Maybe it is wherever that guy lives in Oklahoma.
Advance is not defined as "looks at website a few days before." "Curses," I thought. I was too late to just rent a car and drive myself up.
I read up on sunset, which does not require reservations, but I couldn't find a satisfying answer on if sunset was as good as sunrise. I'd have to book a tour if I wanted to see the sunrise described by Mark Twain as "the most sublime spectacle I have ever witnessed.”
But almost no one is doing these tours at the moment, due to a shortage of tourists.
Tomorrow's trip to Haleakala Crater is going to be challenging.
When I was scouring the webs for a rental I could afford for a week on Maui, I read a lot of reviews of my current lodging, all criticizing the chickens.
The comments were all the same: So many roosters! Couldn't sleep once they started crowing, they were everywhere!
Eh, I thought. Been there, done that, wanted to murder chickens at 5 a.m. I remember this one repetive rooster outside my serviced apartment in Kampala...that damn thing wanted me to learn to kill chickens. But my work day starts at 7 here in Hawaii, so it doesn't matter if nature's alarm clock gets it in his head to announce the dawn.
But a funny thing happened here in Lahaina.
No roosters at the complex. Nada. Not one.
There are roosters everywhere else in town. Stray roosters wandering around, underfoot, dodging cars.
But no roosters are here at the Aina Nalu on the edge of the old town.
I don't think I want to know what happened to the roosters of Aina Nalu.
I went for a sunset walk tonight after work. I'm in Lahaina, Maui, which is lovely if super-touristy. I like touristy places because they have options for food and lodging. I also like remote places if I have rented a car and the lodging is cheap and has great wifi for my workday, but I can't think of when all that has happened. It's usually the wifi fall down, go boom.
Anyway, I walked along Front Street, and when a young woman in a cosmetics store tried to give me a sample, I said an abrupt no and kept walking. It's like being at Bloomingdale's with people trying to spray your wrist with perfume. Go away, don't put that on me.
Anyway, I felt guilty after being abrupt, so when the next young woman tried to give me a sample, I took it.
A week ago, I arrived in Honolulu.
I didn’t tell people because even me musing about the possibility created a kerfluffle. Well, I’m here and you can kerfluffle all you want, but I’m still here.
One does not just walk into Hawaii. Right now, Honolulu has a 1.1% positive COVID rate, and they’d like to keep it that way. You can’t get on the plane without first getting a specific type of test from one of the approved partners, and all the LA ones are drive-through, except the one at LAX. I don’t have a car—on purpose—and usually it’s not a big deal, but this was one time when it was annoying. I couldn’t exactly ask a friend or an Uber to drive me through for a COVID test.
Eventually, my results showed up (negative!) and I uploaded them so I could check in.
Then I got a spinning beach ball followed by “Verification in Process.”
What? In process? How long will this take?
I dug around online for an answer to what I was supposed to do when the app got stuck—someone said to just print the results and get on the plane. I went back to the test center to ask for a printout, but they said they can’t do that for privacy reasons. Finally, I checked in and went to the airline’s customer service counter, and they printed out my results.
I realized I might be stuck in quarantine for a few weeks, which would suck since I wouldn’t even be able to go for a walk, but I went ahead and got on the plane, wearing my N95 for the LAX-San Francisco leg, then double-masked from SFO-Honolulu.
On the other end, I showed my printout and was processed on into Hawaii!
A friend was here on Monday night, so we met up that evening for carry-ou
Remember how I was toying with the idea of going to Hawaii for a while?
I am still toying. Airfares are cheap, hotels are cheaper but a lot for someone who is still paying for a roof...but we don't get the work-from-home forever, so I'm still thinking about it.
I ran through a scenario today. I like to call it "What if I flew to Hawaii on Saturday?"
And what I learned is I would have to get a Zipcar to get the pre-travel COVID test.
Basically, only certain places are partners with Hawaii to do the test. And nearly all of them require you be be IN A CAR to get the test. There are FAQs online about these tests, and no, you may not just walk up and take the test. You have to be in a car. (I assume it's for the safety of the workers, though I'm not sure how me walking up is all that different than driving up.)
LAX has a walk-in place you can do day-of-travel, but it's a lot more trouble to get to LAX than it would be to get a Zipcar one morning and go to CVS.
This is all kind of odd and hilarious and this is the world we live in right now.
I've been toying with the idea of going to Hawaii for a month of this work from home stuff, and it ain't cheap, y'all.
I have dug and dug and found a few possible places to stay that wouldn't make me queasy, and just now I checked to see how much groceries are in Hawaii.
Today in Adventures in Condo Owning, Marie contemplates her attempts to buy 36 inches of T-moulding (molding?) to match the existing bamboo. It's "tongue and groove horizontal natural solid bamboo" flavored.
Attempt #1 resulted in a free strip from Lumber Liquidators. Too brown.
Attempt #2 resulted in a $13 strip of "too yellow." This came from the same supplier as the original bamboo, out in Van Nuys.Where will the next attempt take us?
There’s wind and rain in Burbank, and my internet went out almost immediately once the inclement weather kicked in.
“Maybe I’ll sit under a blanket and watch TV,” I thought before realizing the TV I have is connected solely via its little streaming gizmo.
“No problem,” I thought. “I’ll go upstairs and read a book.”
Upstairs, I was cold so I reached for my phone to turn on the heat via Nest.
And that is how I realized I am way too dependent on my internet connection.
Book and blanket it is for tonight.
I bought a new mattress for my Burbank condo because that IKEA foam thing was just a lump. I tried pretty much every mattress in the United States last year and then I did nothing for a while because well, the IKEA one was okay, just not great.
It does kind of feel like a scam but you know, maybe I'll sublet to someone who drinks red wine in bed or something. Or one day I'll dog-sit and the dog will hate me and poop on my bed. And it'll void the warranty because the dog poop will leave a stain. That's so stupid, like if I send the mattress back, the mattress company actually sells it to someone else, but okay, fine, it'll void the warranty. I guess I have to buy a damn mattress protector.
Good news. I signed an executive order to buy a mattress protector, so now the world is saved from the perilous threat of stray dog poop.
I was digging around on Google Maps looking for a way to trespass onto the private lake in Toluca Lake and found these things I didn't know we had.
It was time for a bit of Monday afternoon sightseeing!
|Amelia Earhart's House|
|Frank Sinatra's House|
Pandemic Day 341.
I come from the land of the cheap mani/pedi, plus in non-pandemic times, I travel a lot and find value in being a part of a small community of women at local spas.
What I'm saying is my entire adult life, I'd paid people to pamper my feet.
Today is the first day of my life I've used what can be best described as the mild side of a cheese grater on my own heels.
The results (once I added the pumice and fine emery board that came with the grater) were spa-level, especially when followed up with foot cream, and have given me that same satisfaction you get when you google how to fix your own plumbing problems, and the results are not a disaster. Hooray for smooth heels.
I went out for my evening constitutional. The world feels so normal in ways we would have found bizarre a year ago. Queues of people six feet apart in line outside the supermarket. Masked couriers hanging out outside restaurants.
I look for clues of crisis, but it all feels like a warm Saturday night in Southern California.
Nearly a year ago, I bought a ticket from Newark to Los Angeles for January 2. I always fly back right after New Year's, then I don't make any trips East until late April.
But this time around, January 2 turned out to be the busiest travel day of the pandemic thus far.
So I waited, and checked seating charts. Should I fly to Burbank? That way I would only be in a Lyft home for ten minutes. But the last (and only pandemic) time I flew in the little plane on the connecting flight from San Francisco to Burbank, it was small and packed and intimidating. The benefit of flying to LAX is I can fly direct on a Dreamliner, a newish plane with top-of-the-line air filtration. But the down side of LAX is getting from the airport to Burbank. I can go in a ride share with one driver but that means taking the shuttle bus to the ride share lot, take the Flyaway to Van Nuys or Union Station and then switch to a brief ride in a ride share, or I guess I could walk but that might take...let's see...7 hours. And I don't have the right shoes. I'm not sure I even OWN the right shoes for that, but I kind of like the idea of trying it one day. Who says you can't walk to LAX?
What better way to celebrate the advent of a new year of lockdown than visiting the new train lobby at Manhattan's Penn Station?
I was surprised at how many people had the same idea I had, but then, there's a pandemic on. What else is there to do?
Today we learned the black cat is a bully.
I had a discussion with him about how he's going to have to go to the vet if he can't be nice to his neighbors, but he chased Jay Garrick anyway.
He'll never catch Jay (who is a fast cat, obviously), but he doesn't know that yet.