Saturday, 16 May 2009

Arrived!

Well, first things first, journey was a bit of a nightmare as expected, managed to get very little sleep especially at LA airport, it was deserted and quiet but .freezing cold because of the bloody air conditioning. Ended up walking down eerily quiet, endlessly long corridors and then made the mistake of going outside for some fresh air via the baggage reclaim area and then when I tried to return was stopped by an over zealous old Indian bloke who told me I wasn’t allowed to come back in even though I had just walked past him 3 minutes earlier, the upshot was that I had to wait for an hour before the security turned up for work at 4.30am! to be able to re-enter the departures hall. The upside was that I didn’t have a single delay and my luggage didn’t get lost. The small inter island flight was the most enjoyable, flying over Molokai and Lanai before touching down in Hilo.
After collecting my suitcase I turned around as was greeted by Suzy who had turned up with a beautiful homemade Lei which was very sweet and a lovely touch. She looked just like her photos very slim, but obviously hadn’t got dressed up for the occasion! so was easily recognisable We walked to her pick-up which was obviously well used and set off for her place. She took me on a mini-tour instead of going directly home, we stopped off at a small bay on Banyan drive and Suzy suggested I dip my feet in the water as it would make me feel grounded and tell my body I had arrived, I had a quick chuckle to myself and thought ‘here we go she’s an old hippy’. We then drove through downtown Hilo which was very quaint and full of old wooden buildings stopping off just before at a fresh fish shop where we sampled the hawaiin version of sushi, which is called Poke, most of it was very tasty although one was gross. We then went to the local surf beach, I must admit being rather disappointed as there was no lovely white sand just a very thin black rock beach with quite a few surfers out, conditions weren’t great which would have suited me fine. We then set off again via a very scenic road bounded on both sides by lush tropical vegetation. We soon turned off the main highway and turned into Puumoi road where Suzy lives. Her direct neighbours all have quite a lot of land and are either self sufficient or grow stuff to sell.
Her house is a self built 2 storey completely open plan place. Her bath is even out on her back balcony looking out down the gully that her garden descends into. The downstairs is the Kitchen, Studio, Lounge area, with a large covered veranda, where we eat and where her 3 birds are kept, a cockatiel called Sid and 2 Love birds whose names I can’t remember. The upstairs area is her bedroom Bathroom and music area. It’s furnished very eclectically, lot’s of old mystic symbols and her own paintings cover the walls. A look at her bookshelves show she is into alternative health practises and self help books. She was telling me today about when she was a Psychotherapist in Berkley, California, practising primal therapy-the whole regression and shouting/screaming deal! She is very into eating healthily and on the whole eats vegetarian. She lives totally off grid, collecting all of her water in a large storage tank, her electricity is solar generated and she relies on her mobile phone for communication and internet connection. I am sleeping in a separate cabin with outdoor loo and shower which is lovely, windows on all walls, simply furnished and backing onto the garden, posh camping really.
She decided to show me around the garden and gave me a quick rundown on what she’d like me to do whilst staying here, a start had been made to the vegetable patch, the turf had been rotovated. But the rest of the garden lacked any sort of ideas, just plants plonked in in rows.
A little later we had dinner, the fish Suzy had bought earlier, called Ono, white juicy with some sauted potatoes and green beans, it wasn’t a culinary delight not helped by the fact that Suzy doesn’t use salt and pepper in her cooking but brought some Japanese herbal type thing to the table as a condiment. She told me she had lots of dietary requirements and was allergic to lots of things. She is a typical nuts and pulses type person, and has a disgusting looking smoothie for breakfast in the morning after doing her yoga nad meditation and going for a walk. Although having said that lunch today was quite nice and good salad (although lacking salt) with some nice prawns. The salad was sprinkled with some seeds and beans I didn’t recognise though and the dressing was a bit suspect. The funny thing is that as soon as you sit down to eat her cockatiel-Sid appears and help-s himself to bits of food off your plate(the birds aren’t caged) Suzies Ex even taught him to take porridge from the corner of your mouth whilst he sits on your shoulder. After dinner Suzy said she wanted to watch the tv I thought it was going to be some alternative nonsense but she wanted to watch American idol! The travel started to catch up with me at that stage I my eyelids grew heavier and heavier. Suzy told me she was attending a Yoga class the following morning at 6am so wouldn’t be back until 9, so to sort myself breakfast. Unfortunately she doesn’t drink milk so I had to walk to her neighbour Johns house, he has cows, to buy some still warm unpasteurised milk for my porridge. By the time I had finished breakfast Suzy had returned and then showed my around the garden again to show me what to do.The sun was clear in the sky and very warm so I decided to do the most sheltered job which was clearing the gully area of a plant called Myconia which is a very invasive non indigenious plant. The gully is like virgin rainforest and on a wicked slope so I spent the next couple of hours slipping and sliding, getting scratched, hot and sweaty. The couple of afternoon hours I worked was spent turning the new veggie bed, removing the turned grass. I don’t think I’ve worked that hard, for a long time as well as the fact that this was my first full day in Hawaii after spending more than 40 hours travelling to get here. I had sort of assumed that I’d get my first day off!
In all honesty I know I won’t spend the full 3 months I said I’d come and stay for. I did say prior to leaving that I would like to use this trip to lose some weight, which if the food stays like this won’t be a problem. But ultimately I was a bit miffed to think that my first day here was spent working extremely hard when what I really needed was a time to recover from my travels.
I tend to find Americans rather earnest and lacking a sense of humour and unfortunately Suzies the same, and certainly doesn’t get my sense of humour.
Got up today at 7.30 had some sickly porridge for breakfast, it’s unrefined oats and the full fat milk is hard work. Started at just after 8, Suzy had been up since 6 busy Yogaing and doing her washing. I then another nearly 5 hours on the vegetable patch, clearing it off grass clumps, levelling it and digging holes for the fence posts--to keep the wild pigs at bay. I made a small time lapse film of it but what it doesn’t show you is how absolutely drenched with sweat I was and filthy dirty, covered in the very red coloured earth. My back this afternoon feels like it’s starting to seaze up, which is the last thing I need. Luckily it’s Friday so I’ll get the weekend off, I think Suzy is planning to show me some sights or attend some cultural type things as that’s what she’s really into. I’ve only taken photos of my time spent travelling here so far, nothing of great interest but I’ll be posting as I go along. TTFN
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