i made it. i arrived here yesterday from philadelphia-by-way-of-chicago. you should hear the exotic bird call that i’m hearing just beyond the “lanai” right now. patio or deck = lanai when you’re here, and hawaii = hawai’i. oh, and flip-flops = slippers, but i’m jumping ahead. anyway, i can’t see the bird as it’s still quite dark outside right now, but in my mind, it’s very brightly colored with wild plumage. like a bird dr. seuss would draw. it’s probably nothing of the sort, but leave me to my island fantasies, ‘kay?
it’s about 5am here (11am east coast time), and in addition to the call of a lovely bird in the hong kong orchid tree next to the lanai, in the distance i hear a not-so-exotic bird that is also awake with me now: a rooster. further to the wildlife of hawai’i, on the couch curled up next to me is TDC*, my new roommate’s cat. she’s very friendly, as i’ve found most in hawai’i to be so far. i was picked up at the airport and brought here by the condo owner’s boyfriend, despite the astronomical $4.46 price of gas here. mind you, gas just went over $4 in philly before i left, and we were all mortified by that. in jersey, though, you could still get gas for around $3.76. sheesh, what a mess it is when $3.76/gallon gas sounds cheap.
so okay, a little about getting here. i was supposed to arrive on friday, but my flight out of philly into chicago was held on the runway because of bad weather in chicago. by the time they finally let us leave, we were two hours late, and i missed my connecting flight into maui by an hour. those of us who missed connections were told to head to customer service for rebooking, and there the line was quite literally two hours long. by the time i reached the front of the line, there were no more flights out to maui that day, and the manager told the people i was waiting with that they weren’t putting us up in a hotel either. this is the point at which i crumpled into tears. i was amazed that i had lasted that long as, for reasons i may or may not disclose later, i had been teetering on the brink of sobbing all day.
so i head to the counter in full-on cry mode along with another couple in the same predicament. mind you, this couple consisted of a very nice lady named donna* and her very obnoxious husband, roger*. roger had spent his time in the line as follows: (1) belittling every united airlines employee who came into contact with him, (2) sarcastically applauding the counter staff when a new person was able to approach from the line, and (3) shouting “boycott united!” on what he felt were appropriate occasions. he and donna were kind enough to offer me a place to stay with their friend in town, but i was also lucky enough to have the girl at the counter psst me to the side and let me know that it was just donna and roger that weren’t getting accommodations “because they’re very rude” and that she was going to be hooking me up with a free hotel room. she also comped me a meal. lesson: rudeness gets you nowhere.
the sun is rising now, and i hear what sounds like monkeys in the distance. it’s some other kind of wild dr. seuss bird, i’m sure, but leave me to my fantasies within my fantasies, ‘kay? as the plane was landing yesterday, i got my first glimpse of the island, and i thought, “JESUS CHRIST, I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKIN’ OCEAN.” that and being surrounded by volcanoes are the kinds of thoughts that could make a body go insane living here.** good thing i have those roosters to keep me grounded. they take me back to summers at my grandma’s in “the country” in virginia, where i’m from. real terra firma, ya know? so the sound of roosters is always calming to me.
oh, i forgot to tell you about the flight itself. two notes: (1) biggest plane i’ve ever been on—nine seats across, two aisles, and a projection screen for movies. craziness. and (2) longest flight i’ve ever been on. when they announced that flying time was over eight hours, i was like, “buh?” the arrival time zone time threw me off. we were literally chasing the sun across the globe, gaining an hour back for every two hours we flew. kinda neat but also very complicated for my math-handicapped mind.
speaking of math, my new roommate, marisa*, is a middle school math teacher. she took me to the grocery store today, where i had yet another brain-frying math lesson: everything in hawai’i, like gas, is more expensive. two-ninety-nine a pound tomatoes cost $5.29/lb here. five dollar cereal is $7 here. three dollar spaghetti sauce is over $5. and a pack of oreos? forget about it at almost six bucks. ouch, yo. i’ll be eating light. TDC and i will both be eating tuna straight out of a can (lite mayo was $4.39). kidding. kind of. i did spring for the mayo.
i really like being up with the sun. i’ll figure out where to go to watch the sunrise soon, but first, i gotta figure out where to go to watch the “sex and the city” movie. so how much do you think a movie costs in hawai’i? stay tuned for my next entry to find out. the month has really begun, people. signing off now to get dressed and see what day two has to offer.
*all names have been changed
**ADDENDUM, june 19: i’ve learned that this madness really exists and has a (colloquial) name: rock fever!