I’ve been very sick with a flu like condition since April 9th, the Monday after Easter, that has left me feeling exhausted and blank, with my mind lost in a heavy fog. I haven’t been able to work, and I’ve been sleeping far more hours than normal for me, often sleeping 16 hours out of 24 in a day. But no matter how much I sleep, I’m still constantly exhausted, and my old friend coffee is no help at all in reviving my physical energy level and my level of mental alertness.
I see my doctor tomorrow, and maybe he can get things started to help me get better. Or maybe not… I guess we’ll find out.
Being sick has left me with writers block, during one of my worst mental and creative log jams ever. Every sentence is a struggle to form in my mind and then type on the page. But I’m trying to write today, to see if I can get my mind moving again by using it. What I post here today probably won’t be very good – but it’s the best I can do right now.
Images of Hawaii – My Recollections of Trouble in Paradise
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been to the Hawaiian Islands three times in my life; each time for a two week vacation. I guess I needed three times to get Hawaii right, because it wasn’t until the last trip in 2002 that I felt like we finally got the Hawaiian experience we came for, without all the bad weather and bad luck, and assorted other problems that made the previous two trips both such a bittersweet experience.
I was single for my first trip to Hawaii in 1985, and I made the trip with a group of eight friends. I’ll always remember the 1985 trip for three things:
1. Bad Weather: It rained over 60% of the time during the two weeks we were there, which was very disappointing. To spend a ton of money to get to a distant tropical paradise, and look forward to warm and bright sunny days, spent soaking up the rays on the beach, and then get heavy grey overcast skies with many days of hard rain instead, was hard for us to take.
2. Conflict with Travel Companions: All the rain created lots of negative attitude and resulted in frequent friction and arguments within our group. This was made worse by lots of drunkenness, and instead of being the euphoric and celebratory drinking of a great vacation experience, our drunkenness often turned sullen, hostile and even combative at times.
With the rain spoiling many of our planned activities, we could seldom agree on alternate plans for what to do while it rained. Our group and our combined friendship fractured and split up, and we went our various and separate ways for much of the trip. Some of the resulting damage to friendships within our group remained long after the trip was over, and became permanent.
3. Almost Getting Killed: If you haven’t already read it, it’s all here in this post: A Near Death Experience
But that first trip to Hawaii in 1985 still had some redeeming experiences for me. On one of our infrequently clear and sunny days, I experienced my very first tropical scuba dive and it was like falling deeply in love at first sight. I also found myself in a whirlwind vacation romance with one of the local women, and together, she and I found the perfect cure for the Hawaiian rainy day blues… every day and night, rain or shine. When it was time for me to go back home, our permanent parting was emotionally difficult, but mutually expected and understood.
My second trip to Hawaii was in 1990 for our Honeymoon, after my current wife and I got married. As far as I was concerned, after the 1985 trip, Hawaii was still unfinished business for me, and I wanted to get it done right this time. And of course, the suggestion of a honeymoon in Hawaii was greeted enthusiastically by my bride to be.
Since she and I had first met scuba diving, and we were also enthusiastic hikers and backpackers, and both lovers of wild and remote natural places, our shared vision of a Hawaiian Honeymoon wasn’t just sunbathing on Waikiki Beach and never leaving Honolulu. We planned a very ambitious exploration of the more remote and natural areas; that were much less accessible, and far less frequently visited features of the Hawaiian Islands, and our honeymoon became more like an expedition than just a vacation. We were willing to pay the price of strenuous and often exhausting hikes to reach the breath taking beauty of these more remote places, and experience a Hawaii that is hidden far away from all the congestion of the crowds.
There was a method to our madness, and that was to plan our trip so that after each strenuous and tiring trek into the wild, we spent a day or two in the comfort of accommodations on or near a beach, so we could rest and regain our strength before the next big adventure.
But “Hawaii Two” turned out to be another bittersweet experience, and much of our two weeks spent there was again marred by bad weather. This time, the approach of a tropical storm system caused heavy overcast and rain for over half of the trip. But at least my bride and I were still newly weds and very much in love, and although there was some weather related serious disappointment, we managed to keep discord and friction between us infrequent and brief. We also refused to cancel any of our plans due to bad weather, but with mixed results, and a couple of our excursions turned from disappointing to downright dangerous.
To be continued tomorrow…