I'm back from my vacation in Hawaii. Interestingly enough I was there at the same time as both Barack Obama and Rush Limpdick Limbaugh. Didn't see either of them, though. I think they tend to travel in different circles.
Hawaii, for those who have never been there, is an interesting place. Once you get away from the glitz of Waikiki and the ritz of the North Shore, it's pretty much a replica of a Third World country. Complete with middle- and upper-class enclaves surrounded by rock walls and high fences. Like the Philippines.
We stayed with She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed's brother, who lives in a literal shack on the beach on the windward side of Oahu (just up the coast from the non-politically-correct-named Chinaman's Hat). Great location but the house is literally falling down around him from termite infestations and the battering of the winter winds and surf. Naturally he doesn't own it, but is renting from "the ranch", an oceanside slumlord which owns a stretch of shoreline with crowded-together houses in various states of disrepair.
One evening I went into his study and found the cat playing with what I thought was a very realistic toy mouse. I went back into the living room and asked if Luna had a realistic-looking toy mouse and the answer of course was no. So the brother went in, scooped up the mouse and tossed it out into the sand. The cat was pissed, naturally, and more or less stomped around for a while to show her displeasure. I was afraid she was stomping too hard and would crash through the floor. It was that shaky.
Sitting on the toilet was an experience. The floor around it is so spongy that it rocked back and forth like a teeter-totter. I had a vision of the entire house collapsing, leaving me sitting up on a toilet suspended ten feet in the air on the sewer pipe.
A terrific book to read if you want a scoop into the real Hawaii is Paul Theroux's Hotel Honolulu. It contains some incisive observations on the whole Hawaii scene, from Waikiki to the North Shore and the Third World stretches in between.
And here's a little video showing how I spent my time:
Since the doctor told me to stay warm and get plenty of fresh air, I'm thinking that I can deduct the price of the vacation from my income taxes.