I'm in Waikiki, which is like day compared to Maui's night. My resort is right on the beach and on a main shopping strip. It feels more familiar to me than Makawao did. Waikiki is a city. With its endless tourists, shopping bags up to the elbow. Snapping cameras. Hawaiian shirts, big floppy hats to keep the sun out of eyes that were already covered up by Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana. Lots of high heels and dresses. And I'm alone.
It's been very hard for me to write here. I think there are too many distractions (similar to home). In Maui, I had my rustic room, which had beds, a desk, and a clock radio. That was it. It was simple and beautiful and I had the space to write. I was also supposed to write there. Here, there's the beach and stores and lights and a television. I really don't like watching tv often, but I have found myself turning it on here and there. Instead of writing. I think this is a good in between experience...to get me in the mode of what things will be like when I am home. At home, I know, it will feel like there is never enough time to write. It will feel like I have to choose between writing and people all the time. I will have to be measured and precise about when it's time to write. Or else it won't happen. I am worried. I have to shift things so that it feels like I'm supposed to write at home too.
This is paradise. But there is something so manufactured about it in Waikiki. I haven't yet been to the other side of the island which I have heard is very different. I came here because I knew I would be traveling alone and the idea of being in a well populated, well lit (smile) area made me feel comfortable. Safe. What could be so bad about a resort? I've never had this type of vacation before, so why not? I have really tested a lot of assumptions about myself during this trip. I can actually handle more than I thought I could. I started out a little freaked out in Maui and within a couple of days really grew to love it. Bugs and all. I thought this city version of Hawaii would be more comfortable for me. But it's not, in that, I am searching for peace and quiet...and not so much stuff. I'm surprised.
I'm also surprised by how much me traveling alone is bugging...certain men here. I haven't quite figured it out, but during the last two nights, as I ate at restaurant bars, smiling, enjoying my food and being happy, the man next to me (who was also next to a wife or girlfriend) kept looking over. Inquisitively. To examine me. What I was doing. It was weird. Last night, there was a little bit of looking and then the woman started looking too. I definitely didn't have food on my chin or anything. I checked. The night before, the guy would look and then look away. Look and then look away. One time, when he wasn't looking, his wife leaned back to see what he was looking at. She was not pleased. And even less pleased when he started to talk to me.
Husband: Are you on vacation here?
H: By yourself?
H: Well, you should have a book or something!
Me: (what I thought about saying: So that you don't feel so sorry for me that I'm just sitting and enjoying my food?!) I do. I have two in my bag. But I just want to sit and enjoy my dinner. It's Friday night.
And then he continues to ask me questions. About where I'm from, why I came here. He tells me that he's in the Navy and that he is here for a little bit of work and decided to show his wife Hawai'i. They are from Canada. He has been here a bunch of times but she hasn't. He introduces me to her after she interrupts - "Hey CHATTY CATHY! Why don't you do more drinking and less talking! We want to move to the next place." She doesn't look at me. He introduces me to her and his two work buddies, next to her. She loosens up once she sees that I am friendly and interested in talking with her. That I'm not trying to steal her husband. We all talk for a bit, and the other two men were similarly surprised that I am here by myself. As if it's unconscionable to be in such a romantic place without someone holding your hand. At one point, the wife admits that she will be here for two days alone. While her husband and his work friends do some drills. She looks down. She's uneasy. Not terribly thrilled. She looks at me like she has questions. She thinks I'm strange for enjoying being alone.
I also miss Gerry. And my family and friends, but I will be home soon enough. For now, I'm glad to be here. Glad to be on my own. Glad to be seeing myself in a new light.
(picture = the mai tai that led to the questioning)