Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Update on carlessness 

Here we are a couple of months into my being carfree, and how do things stand?

Top notch I tell you. How many times have I had to resort to car trickery in order to accomplish that which needed accomplishing? Rarely. Incident #1 required the use of my friend Sue's Flexcar (http://www.flexcar.com/) membership in order to pick up the food and mini-keg of Roots beer that we were using to entice people into coming to listen to Steph and I prattle on about our "towards carfree cities" adventures. And it worked! An estimated 35 people showed up and no one booed or threw anything or left early (some late arrivals, but that's ok). A good time, but boy do I need to work on my public oratory skills! All in good time.

Incident #2 happened the other week off in Hawaii. It's true. Off in paradise and I rented a car for not only a day, but the entire week I was there! Crazy, but I did turn down the company's offer to upgrade me to a Mustang convertible for an extra $5 a day. My appearance as a tourist was obvious enough. Didn't need to make it more blatant.

And what a trip that was. Going back to a place where during Round 1 I arrived and left as an admittedly pampered migrant worker, now I went as a tourist. I didn't like that as much. Following on the heels of Turkey, the travelers around me on the plane also threw me for a loop and left me feeling even more like an invasive tourist. Quite odd.

A grand trip, however. It was wonderful to be back with Candace again, even if only for a short week. We spend the week bumming around the island sitting on beaches, eating, relaxing, and reconnecting. Towards the end of the week we headed back to Hilo to spend a couple of nights in her house. And man, what a place! Up on a hill on a quiet dead end street, huge front porch with a parcellated view of the ocean, large airy well-lit house, back yard with a few fruit trees....not bad at all. Not that I was jealous or wishing that I had been living there with her all along....no thought of how nice it would be to live on the island again passed through my mind....oh man. That part was a little rough (especially when the plane landed in Portland and I walked out of the airport into the cold rain), I'll admit. But don't feel bad for me. Feel bad for Candace who moves back here (yes! Finally!) next week and has to deal with the Northwest crappy weather after 5 months in Hawaii. I predict some cranky depressed air in the apartment.

Best moment of the trip? Hard to pick. Seeing CEF for the first time; dinner at the Kona brewery the first night gazing smiling laughing remembering toying overeating, stresses of the previous months falling away flaking off disappearing burned off by the Hawaii sun that had yet to sear my skin; laying on a beach in Hilo with clouds scudding across Mauna Loa in the background, the sun beating down, the waves lapping the shoreline and the Candace by my side; cruising down the highway with the windows down the radio turned up after a couple hours of beach time a layer of good coating inside and out smiles abounding; quiet dinner of Thai food with warm Hawaiian rain puttering down outside, no where to be or go or do just sitting and being together. Yah. A good trip.

"History Boys". Good movie.

What else to relate from that trip? Not a single flinch and any rough air or almost botched landing. Yup, that's right. An almost botched landing. Maui was the layover of choice in both directions. On the way out, I got to see some amazing crazy clouds, swirling and capering around over the ocean and volcanoes, the lowering sun casting gorgeous colors on the clouds and also across the rowdy ocean. Beautiful. But. A quick uturn was needed to head back towards the Kailua-Kona airport and the plane seemed to be banked harder than I think I've experienced. Upon touchdown (late on the runway), no slowing was applied for....a while. And then all of a sudden flap wonder and a slamming of brakes and a jolting slowing of the plane, overshooting by a little (but not too much) the turn onto the taxiway. We made it, but barely. Heh. Maybe the pilot was napping?

Oh yeah. Thanksgiving. On the beach? Not bad. Not bad at all. Place of Refuge south of Kailua-Kona and down near the farm (Dragon's Lair) I worked on a couple years ago is where we gathered. A sandy area with picnic tables and coconut tree cover, and then a large expanse of lava and tide pools into the ocean. Amazing place. It was the Candace and I, Ken and Christine (owners of Dragon's Lair previous to my time there, and Candace's surrogate parents), 2 of K & C's friends and a slew of WOOFERs. Maybe 15 people in all? A very mellow and friendly crowd. Really nice and relaxing, great food, cold beer, beautiful sunset seen from far out on the lave with a Candace hand in mine, shoulder to shoulder watching the sun dip into the clouds above the water, enjoying life.

It felt good to sweat and be hot. The last morning we got ridiculously overpriced coffee and sat in lazy chairs in the sand watching the waves come in and stir up the sand on the beach as ratty human-fed-pampered (badbadbad) doves and sparrows flitted about, one of them almost catching the Can in the face. Burritos followed then yet another in a long line of seemingly never ending goodbyes with this one and off I went to the airport.

Watched the remake of "Hairspray" on the plane. Surprisingly (to me) good! Took some of the dour off.

Irony: the only sunburn I got was on the last day, on my left arm. That's right, a driver's burn!

Only one more week!

I should plod off to bed. Gotta me Steph at the LRC in....6 hours? Yoinks.

Need to get Seymour fixed as well. Blew the cable for the rear gears on my last day here before heading to Hawaii. Poor guy.

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com