Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Beach at Waikiki

The traffic was busily scooting to and fro along the streets going wherever it needed to go. People (a mixture of locals and tourists) crowded the streets, a rippling ribbon of color that never seemed to end. Men dressed in shirts with large colorful flowers, women in flowing mumus with the same explosive burst of shades of every description. 


There were tall palms, and large hibiscus bushes in full bloom, croton plants, fragrant pakike flowers and things I've never witnessed before in my life. Living in California had introduced me to a different atmosphere and lifestyle than I'd ever been used to before, but that could not compete in any way with what was laid out before me now.

As we approached Waikiki the hotels took over the landscape, embracing both sides of the narrow street. Tall ones, short ones, large ones, pink ones, tan ones and small ones like the one we were booked in. Our budget was pretty tight. Maybe one day we could be lucky enough to check into perhaps the Royal Hawaiian or the Hilton. But, not now.

 Our motel sat off a side street almost hidden by flowering shrubs, the walkway lined with tiki torches, the flames flickering against a backdrop of greenery. We checked in at the desk then found our tiny room. I settled the kids down to rest and walked over to the window, which was small and higher up on the wall than you would imagine. I pulled the drape back and there was a jungle just outside. Huge philadendron vines, tall banana trees with unripe fruit hanging in greenish-yellow clusters. 

Like I said before, I had never seen anything like it. And, I immediately fell in love with Honolulu.

The sun was sinking lower in the western sky, soon night would fall. After a good long rest, we headed a couple blocks down to the beach. It was gorgeous, the sand, the palm trees softly swaying and the sounds of a ukelele drifting over the air toward us. Diamond Head sat in front of us, A scene I'd seen in pictures but never in real life. This didn't happen to us. Maybe we had stumbled into someone else's dream or movie or something. But, it was real alright.

 As soon as Shirley's chubby, little feet touched the sand, she started jumping around with her hands reaching upward for her Daddy to get her off that weird feeling stuff. So, he carried her while we strolled along the water's edge. Marie skipped along, sending sand flying with her feet. In awhile I tired. After all I was carrying extra weight so we headed back. Walking on the sand pulled at your leg muscles and slowed your steps. Going back the way we came seemed almost impossible.  For me, anyway.

There in the early moonlight sat the pale pink castle of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Elbert decided that we'd just cut through their courtyard and continue back to the motel on a more stable sidewalk. As we were weaving our way through some outdoor tables on a lanai we were suddenly affronted by a security guard. Now, that was a scary event. All we were doing was trying to reach the street, Elbert told them. My pregnant wife needs to get back to our motel and rest. Begrudgingly, the guard said we could continue. We silently was off on our way thinking, "Well, thanks, buddy. We weren't harming anything. So kind of you to let us take up some of your precious, expensive, exclusive space"!

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