Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holidays

Seasons Greetings or perhaps I should say, Aloha;

You can consider this a combination Christmas Card and obnoxious Holiday Letter. It's Christmas Day and I am sitting here in my recliner, elegantly garbed in a "Sleepy" ( you know, one of the 7 dwarves) shirt, fleece sweatpants and sheep skin slippers with my laptop on my lap. Armand has just started March of the Penguins on the DVD player. Outside it is gray, hazy and cold. Inside, the wood stove has driven the temperature to a level that has me reconsidering my garb. So far today, the major activities have been unpacking and scratching my multitude of bug bites.

You may be wondering (and if you aren't you might as well hit "delete" now); unpacking from what, where did you get bug bites? We just got back from Hawai'i. Yes - from 12/17 through yesterday morning we have been in paradise (except for the bug bites). Clear sunny days, clear warm nights; temperatures from the mid-70's to the high 80's, relatively low humidity, light breezes in the day and beautiful stillness at night. As for the bug bites, while I could have done very nicely without them, at least the mosquitoes are small and didn't annoy me with the obnoxious "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz" that the local blood suckers emit.

We were able to make this trip due to the generosity of a dear friend. I made the reservation at the Kona Coast Resort II (time share exchange) almost 2 years ago while still getting a steady paycheck. As trip time approached I realized that the cash outlay for airfare, car rental, etc., was going to be incompatible with my self-employed cash inflow. An alcohol inspired impulse caused me to offer the week to any of our guests at Thanksgiving dinner. Two already had plans to spend Christmas week in Puerto Vallarta. The other said she would think about it. A few days later she called and offered to lend us the air fare. We countered with an OK, but only as long as she came along (condo sleeps 4 and has 2 bathrooms).

Thus DBFA, HJM and the Flamingess just got back from Kona where we had to put up with evenings like this.

It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

It wasn't all perfection (but close). There were the aforementioned bugs, actually the bites. Airline seats are too small. The bed was like a rock slab. The couch, sleeper bed was like a hammock. The easy chair must have been carved from lava, and the pineapple ornamentation on the dining chairs was guaranteed to grab at delicate parts of anyone passing. No one slept well, but who goes on vacation to sleep anyway? We couldn't find pineapple juice (except canned) in any of the supermarkets. And - I caught a cold (someone had to do it). We are all ready to do it again.

We only made one excursion this trip, a drive to the volcano. It took about 3 hours to get there, with only one stop at the view point near the south point and just above the green sand beach. A vendor had wares spread out on the wall and some displayed in bowls of the green sand. For those who aren't conversant on Hawaiian sand, the green is olivine which is a prominent component of the lava at this one spot on the island. We didn't spend a lot of time exploring at the volcano since DBFA wasn't up to doing a lot of walking on the uneven ground and Heidi and I didn't want to just leave him sitting in the car. There is no escaping the reality of just how new and alive this land is.

On the way back I made the executive decision to check out the black sand beach. A little background here will help - HJM has been to the Big Island 5 times prior to this trip and visited several others. On every one of these trips she has hoped to see a sea turtle. Special trips to areas guaranteed to have turtles have proven fruitless. We are standing on the black sand beach at the edge of the water gazing at the view. I turn and notice the rock I am standing beside has flippers, and a head! There is HJM's turtle. A woman standing nearby points out about 4 others in the surf nearby. (notice the rounded "rock" on the beach)

The rest of our time in paradise was spent shopping in Kona. I love it - the quintessential beach town. If you get there, you must check out the Wal-Mart (I'm serious). Lounging at the pool, sipping Mai Tais, dining, reading and working hard at relaxing consumed the rest of our days and evenings.

I hope your holidays are as pleasant and enjoyable in their own way as ours were. Merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year.

I will close with an image the sums up our trip

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