Thursday, October 30, 2008
By A.J. Llewellyn
So I am back in Waikiki for five days for some heated council hearings on the new proposed rail transit system which will wipe out the entire neighborhood where I want to re-open the bookstore that has now been closed for three years.
The current mayor has divided loyalties on this issue which up until now has taken place on Hawaii Time, meaning, nothing has happened. The measure to approve it is now on the ballot for November 4 and I am hoping of course it is not approved.
My mate Tony, he of the dithering sexual persuasion (though if current events are anything to go by, he is straight, mate) picked me up from Honolulu airport in my car, brandishing a perfect crown flower lei, my favorite, because it was the preferred flower of the last ruling monarch of the islands, Queen Liliuokalani.
I got leid!
Tony has done a nice job looking after my car, which I shipped to the islands in preparation of a move next year.
He informed me the entire neighborhood where we live in the mountain area above Hawaii Kai has decided to celebrate Halloween.
“We’ve got to buy a pumpkin, mate,” he said, blithely skipping by red lights and even a uniformed cop who stood, hands on hips as Tony gave him a finger wave, ignoring his hand raised in the universally-recognized STOP sign.
I slunk down in my seat.
“Cool,” I said, when I was certain we weren’t about to be shot from the sky by police snipers. Took me a moment to remember we were in Hawaii, not Los Angeles. “I need to stop at Duke’s for a Mai Tai and some crab mac wantons, Tony.”
“No worries, mate,” he grinned, narrowly missing a skateboarder who gave us the shaka sign. In Los Angeles, he would have skated after us and beaten us half to death.
Fortified an hour later, I let Tony take the wheel again only because after one Mai Tai and no sleep I was embarrassingly hammered. I was therefore in a convivial mood to hunt the island for a pumpkin.
Foodland and various hippie-herbal grocery stores swore they had started the day with loads of pumpkins…but they’d just sold out. I have never grooved to Halloween since my childhood in Australia didn’t include it. But since we were expecting children on Friday afternoon and into the evening, we had to have at least one pumpkin.
Then we got creative and bought pineapples. The results of which are above. I think they’re not bad. They actually look a lot like me and Tony. Unfortunately, we got busy barbecuing and forgot about ‘em. They fried to a bloody crisp, so now we’re going to have to start again.
Anyway, on our pineapple-pumpkin hunt, we loaded up on candy for the trick or treaters. Tony and I had a wonderful afternoon buying li hing mango and even li-hing gummy bears in cellophane packets. We bought all the things island kids love and we drove up the mountain road to our house after buying salmon steaks and vegetables.
The feeling I get from being on the mountain property we bought is indescribable. Four of us chipped in and bought it. I love this place and readers of my books will recognize it as the house Lopaka and Kimo live in. Their version of it is far more glamorous than the real thing, but what I haven’t embellished is the sheer natural splendor of the place.
The cool thing is the four of us are great friends, the place is huge and right now Tony is back with his girlfriend. He casually mentioned this on the drive home and I was so happy when he told me she and her little boy are spending a lot of time at our house.
It is my first Halloween ever with a child in my home and he is beyond excited. His joy in the details has transmitted itself to the adults and I got a huge kick out of watching Tony carving pineapples with him last night.
There is a zing in the air here, a scent of promise. I am listening to Keali’i Reichel whose music permeates this island, this house and I am pleased to hear Tony laughing, really laughing for the first time in weeks.
This is Halloween. Hawaiian-style.