Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Postcard from Hawaii

That's where we've been, 'H'why'hee' as Max called it. It wasn't the most propitious arrival. Once Max realised that the airport/aeroplane experience was over he went into a wailing fit about wanting to go home. 'I just want to go HOME.' It appeared so simple. That there were now two and a half thousand miles of Pacific Ocean and sixteen degrees of latitude between him and his trains, he had not entirely taken onboard. But I'm not sure if he really wanted to be at home, or was just using home as a vehicle to get back on another aeroplane. Luckily the sun was shining and with some macaroni cheese in his tummy, he was soon persuaded Hawaii wasn't so bad. Top of the list of favourites were the rock pools in front of the house. The black rocks, once molten larva, slowly revealed to us the techincolour beauty living in their eroded ponds. There were hermit crabs in small black shells that had zebra-striped legs and turquoise eyes. They hid in holes in the dead coral. There was pale pink living coral and seaweed like little ivory trumpets. Max made a very happy rockpooling companion, obligingly rushing over to peer in the clear salty water when one of us cried 'I can see a crab' or a sea urchin or a fish. We saw a sea snake coiled under a rock and dark brown nudibranchs strewn around like sewage decorated in sand. There seemed to be tiny jumping fish and there were certainly crabs that skitter scattered across the rocks when you disturbed their afternoon shade.
At night the palm trees bent with the wind and the movement of the fronds sounded like rainfall. Lying in bed and listening to the surf, there was always one wave that suddenly sounded particularly crashing, louder than all the rest, and reminded me that we were in both a hurricane and a tsunami zone. Although we were informed that our evacuation routes were illustrated in the phone book, I searched both directories but could find nothing. I scanned the ocean horizon often and even found myself thankful that we had rented a ridiculously large vehicle called a Commander that would be able to make it cross-country to higher ground if the need arose.
When we wrote our postcards I asked Max what he would like to say to Granny. 'Dear Granny, I hope you love me. Love me.' I wasn't sure I had the punctuation right but wrote it down word for beautiful word.
Max loved splashing in the water at the beach and Oli began sitting up and developed a love for a good book - it was usually mine he was chewing on although Dom's completely disappeared so perhaps Dark Star Safari is in his tummy.
In the gardens there were red and yellow hibiscus and white orchids. And there was a tree in which you might have seen a spider web. The wasp-coloured spider was crouching in the centre. Then you might have seen another, and another and yet another, until you realised with horror and then awe that the entire tree was covered in a killing canopy, a cobweb matrix with spiders suspended all around.
At the farmer's market there were avocados the size of ostrich eggs and I bought cream apples, little plum-coloured globes that dripped milk when I quartered them.
We ate Ono and Opah and Swordfish and Mahi Mahi and thanks to Kristi, Max learnt to say the Hawiian name for a Triggerfish, 'Humahumanukanukaapua'a'.
And now we are back in San Francisco, after all my tsunami fears we are safely restored to our home in the Californian earthquake zone.

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