Saturday, February 21, 2009

high fashion and other deliciatta...

say what you will about oahu.

it's crowded, it's expensive, it's full of volcanic sand.

all true. except in the cases where it's not.

what is true is that the island is a tropical salad full of cliches and surprises tossed together to taste or the utter lack thereof.

in waikiki, for example, you get the gaudy, the vulgar, the unapologetically ugly, all flowing seamlessly into water so electric blue it can't be processed. it's so pre-economic-meltdown-extreme-american-consumer it hurts then delights then deposits you somewhere else entirely.

the same can be said of turtle bay. take the woman with the louis vuitton face lift sporting a two-piece black and silver ensemble that would be at home in new york or paris. paris, texas, that is. she spent a fortune to look perfectly and wonderfully absurd, and pulled it off spectacularly.

there she was snapping photos of the cast from 'the hills', busting up their lunch as if they weren't in desperate-anorexic need of all the kalua pork quesadillas they could wolf down.

the young stars smiled and posed patiently, then went back to pecking at their food, careful not to actually eat any of it.

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at the other end of whatever karmic kaleidoscope you might look through, the locals in waimanalo queue up at kineke's plate lunch and BBQ. there, one order of kalua pig with rice and mac salad could feed a family of four for about six bucks. or you can walk across the road to the ola bbq truck and pick up an order of garlic shrimp with rice for $10. not less than two meals in that to-go box, and the lady who prepares it for you also brings it to your car.

we picked up take-out at both places, and fed seven adults and four children for around $30, with leftovers galore. it was delicious.

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we fetched breakfast every day from lanikai juice in kailua. their açaí extravaganza bowls with whey protein are an antioxident riot; açaí blended with blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, coconut and granola. one of these in the morning carried us through to dinner.

note: the sign says 'made with aloha' but the gals behind the counter were a little surly to us haoles.

note: we were very nice to them.

* * * * *

i brought back two hawaiian-print shirts and a 'ding king surfboard repair' t-shirt. the total for all three was less than $9, because we found them at the goodwill store in kailua. what? they're great shirts.

* * * * *

unpacking today, i noticed my keens were full of red clay, picked up during our visit to the kukaniloko royal birthing stones. the story goes...for hundreds of years this was the sacred site where hawaiian royalty was born. surrounded by chiefs, royal children would be taken away at birth, to prevent the prospective new rulers from being killed by rival chiefs.

on a misty february day the place has a quiet, solemn feel to it. fresh leis are scattered among the stones like offerings to whatever gods might see fit to sanctify them. there's an unidentifiable sense of order to the stones, as if they might've been placed by fibonacci on a tropical high. you can't see the pattern, or at least i couldn't...but you can feel it. it's like stonehenge with eucalyptus trees.

something's going on there, or maybe there's not. but i don't plan to clean off the shoes.

* * * * *

say what you will about oahu. it's a frenetic mess of a paradise, a banzai pipeline full of 20 or 30 years worth of exploration.

overloved, overvisited, but still, not overrated.

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