Living in Hawai’i was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I think not working was a part of it, but Kaua’i is also spectacular. The island is a little plop on the ocean, 25 miles long by 33 miles wide. It’s known as the “garden isle” for being the greenest in the chain.
When we arrived, we didn’t have a place to stay or any solid plan for accommodation. Over the years, we accumulated a slew of bonus points spread across two American Express Bonvoy cards. They were enough to get us to stay a few weeks at the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort in Kapa’a. On the east side of the island.
The way the locals would talk about the other part of the island, they might have been talking about other planets. To the North was Princeville, where the very wealthy lived. The South was Poʻipū which had a very relaxed vibe. Going West, you had the Waimea Canyon and Hanapēpē. Where I was in the East, you had Kapa’a, which I was told in Hawaiian meant busy.
It was true too. It was the one place you would find traffic jams every day. If you think of the island as a clock, there is a main highway from Eleven o’clock back to Seven. And Kapa’a would be the bottleneck for all its traffic. Lucky for us, we were either on foot or taking the bus.
Once while I was waiting for a bus near Poʻipū beach, a hippy lady told me the people that choose to stay in Kapa’a are transitional.
The Island is not without its share of homeless people. I imagine the majority of them stayed in Kapa’a. I was only hit up for money once or twice, though. The only memorable time was when I helped a lady with a foot brace off the bus with her belongings. She was in front of me, and I thought it would expedite the process. Once we were off the bus, she asked for twenty dollars since her husband was in prison.
Next to our hotel, there was a vast field that was boarded off, but you would find tents close to the beach if you went far enough.
The hotel was beautiful. The pool was stunning. The beach left something to be desired, as there was a large rock shelf, and you couldn’t get very deep, but it was gorgeous to look at. Seals would occasionally come up to sleep on the sand, and the staff would place a rope around them in a 10-foot radius so that you couldn’t get too close.
There was a game room with Connect Four and a Nintendo Switch. Each day there was a new event by the pool. Free snow cones with local flavors, Hula dancing lessons, and ‘Ōlelo (language) lessons to learn Hawaiian. We even did ukelele and wove leis. And since the classes were the same each week, we did them all over again!
But one of the most memorable events was the beachside yoga session. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the guests would wake up early and join in front of the pool to do Sun Salutations facing the ocean and the sun rising in the distance.
Having been at the hotel for a few weeks, I had entered a groove with these sessions, and though I would not say I am any good at yoga, I certainly enjoy stretching and felt it was relaxing.
On this particular morning, halfway through the session, in the midst of cat-cow, we start hearing a commotion off to the side. A lady is screaming at the top of her lungs, “Tamika! TAMIKA!!! STOP. IF YOU LOVE ME, YOU’LL STOP.”
Apparently, Tamika didn’t love her as much as she thought because she kept hollering, “TAMIKA!!!”
She sounded like she was getting closer. But I have a thing about not giving my attention to car accidents on the highway, and this felt a lot like that. So I chose not to look in that direction.
I could imagine that some of the guests might have felt that Tamika’s jilted lover was ruining what was meant to be a quiet time. Here this maniac was, yelling her head off at 7 in the morning under the palm trees and a peaceful sunrise. Looking over, I noticed that some of my fellow classmates were casting uncomfortable gazes toward the ruckus.
I couldn’t help but laugh. The joy I felt at the absurdity of the situation knew no depth. Maybe it would have been different if it had been my first day on the island and I had not had so many mellow mornings listening to the waves lap the sand. But with this incident, my delight knew no bounds.
If there is anything in me that I would like most to pass on to my son, and I hope that you reading this could have as well, it would be to retain a good sense of humor in all situations. We are only here for a short while. It is always good to find an excuse to laugh, whether in paradise or being disturbed in paradise.