I am surrounded by cats- literally as I type! The owner of the hostel has a couple of bengals and another tabby cat that are quite the tricksters. The occasional yell happens as the bengals team up and attack my feet from all sides. They definitely keep me entertained.
Today, someone offered me pu pu. I gave the woman a strange look wondering if she was going to relieve herself or something and she smiled, “That means appetizers.” I laughed so hard it nearly hurt. Yes. I am a tourist although some folks have asked me if I am local because of my dark Portuguese looks. Hawaii is pretty diverse and I asked a local woman how all these different cultures did living together. She went quiet and said that there is an emergence of a move from some native Hawaiians to restore Hawaii’s independence from the United States. This has caused tension and rifts between white Hawaiians and native Hawaiians. It is sort of a catch 22 in some ways. Being a US state means that Hawaiians have good roads, libraries, public services and community centers. It also probably means that Hawaiians have been finding ways to continue to keep their culture alive and in tact.
I spent most of the afternoon at Magic Sands Beach. I took the trolley over and something magical actually happened. When I got on, I only had a $20 bill and the driver didn’t carry change. I got on with him huffing at me that I needed to break the bill and pay. He seemed pretty stressed. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this and went to sit down as he pulled away. I asked a couple of people beside me if they had change and they all said, “No.” Then a lady got on with her daughter and I asked her. All she had was $2 and she put it in my hand to offer it to me. I just stared at her; I couldn’t believe her generosity. After a few moments of eye contact, I declined her offer with gratitude: “Keep it so you can bring more of your kids to the beach on another day. I will find a way to break it.” Needless to say, I was touched and another guy was too because he overheard this and handed me the change I was looking for. He didn’t speak English so he gestured and put the money in my hand. I counted it and noticed he gave me $1 more than he should have so I gave it back to him with a motion that suggested “too much.” He bowed to me and took the bill back. It was so extraordinary. What a lovely start to my day. The surreal part was being in 75 degree weather on a trolley listening to Christmas tunes on the radio!
The water was warm and clear blue at the beach and so salty I floated easily. Of course, my breasts do a good job of helping the effort too! I looked around me and there were all these tiny fish in the water skimming the surface. I didn’t have a snorkel and mask so couldn’t see the others but it was so magical. I remember looking into the water in Honolulu when I was 6 and seeing all of these beautiful tropical fish swimming around my body; I felt like I was in heaven. Today had that feeling too. I took photos of birds and plants that were foreign and aesthetically pleasing to me. I saw the most massive bees I’ve ever seen- black and the size of quarters! One buzzed by my head and I ducked in panic when I didn’t know what it was. Then I laughed when I realized that it was a bee. Yes. Bugs come big and bigger here.
I’m off to shower the salt water off my body, make dinner, and head down to hear some local ukelele tunes. I am off to the Kona Historical Society to make traditional Portuguese stone oven bread. Will write more then.