August 27, 2004

Aloha from paradise!

Well, we've reached Kalani safe and sound and have already been caught up in the rhythm of this place. Toli likens the experience to summer camp, where for me, it feels more like college for hippies. I mean, back home in Austin, I feel like we're so progressive - living out in the country, adopting stray cats, heck - even being liberal earns you cool points in Texas.

But here...we're like the squarest of squares among the alternative set. I mean, we're the only married couple on the property (120 or so acres of it) - and probably one of the few heterosexuals. Not that there's anything wrong with that - but it's weird to be different all of a sudden. It kind of feels like we're the targeted minority rather than the norm. And our little round-the-world trip is *nothing* compared to the journeys some of these people are on.

Take Bill the carpenter, who is stopping here before going to Nepal. And who already hiked the Andes. AND who is preparing to apply for a job at a research station at the South Pole.

Or Erika the German who actually lives in New Zealand (after residing in Canada, Denmark, and the U.S.) - she's old enough to have a college-age daughter, but runs around cleaning house better and faster than I do! I'll bet she does a mean yoga too!

Or Roy who learned to surf just two years ago but has since grown roots at Kalani in order to pursue this overwhelming passion for the ocean.

We find that we're just the wannabe's over here, gaping in awe of the adventurous people we come across. We seem so...ordinary in comparison.

Anyway, just for your amusement, here's a rundown of a typical day for us at Kalani:

* We wake up at 7:30am (yeah, imagine that!) as the conch shell sounds in the distance, announcing breakfast. We set an alarm, though, as we generally would sleep through the sound if we're tired enough.

* We leave our A-frame (more on that later) and walk a nice little distance through green meadows, lush jungle vegetation, and fragrant flowering plants (and the occasional kitty cat!) to have a breakfast of champions on an outdoor lanai.

* From about 8:30am to 3:00pm, we work shifts in maintenance (for Toli) and housekeeping (for Christine) with a generous midday break and an hour for lunch. The work is constant, but rarely pressured or rushed. There's a lot of time spent outdoors, especially for Toli.

* When we're done with work, we hit the pool and lap swim. Toli does a kilometer, while Christine does about a half-kilometer and then just floats around trying to distract Toli. Oh yeah, it's "European-style" during the day (which means you can go topless) and "clothing-optional" after 5pm. Suffice it to say, the maintenance crew has found all sorts of ways to prolong their job painting around the pool.

* At about 4:30pm, Toli joins a rousing game of volleyball (which Hawaiians are particularly adept at) while Christine attempts to catch up with the advanced yoga classes. Toli tried it for the first time yesterday, and remarked - "I thought this was supposed to be relaxing!" Of course, he left before the relaxation part...

* Same drill for dinner - the conch shell blows at 6pm, and everyone files out onto the lanai for amazing grub and mind-blowing dessert. Today, we ate a piece of what may have been the largest birthday cake ever made. (I'd like to see Brigitte try to top the size of that cake!) Oh and yesterday, we had these yummyful fried tortilla chips that might actually beat Rosie's in terms of bad-for-you fried goodness.

* There's usually a night activity - like meditation or hula class. Last night was "dolphin dance". Toli and I made merciless fun of the title, but when we actually tried it, we were amazed at how beautiful and spiritual it was. Dolphin dance takes place in a heated pool (94 degrees) that is filtered with salt, so it feels very "womb-like" and comfortable. Basically, you get a nose clip (and occasionally a buoyancy device for your legs), and the instructor guides you through various movements above and under the water. Most of it is very improvisational and in-the-moment (or "zen" as our friend in Dalat would say). The partner dances were particularly interesting for me and Toli, as we've ballroomed before. But once you take away the element of gravity and the concept of "leading", it takes on a whole different kind of feeling. You really have to be comfortable in your own body and be very in touch with your creativity and self-expression to enjoy the class. Plus, you have to kind of give up ideas of personal distance and space since you end up touching and rubbing up against all the people in your class. But once you get over it, it's really quite amazing. Difficult to put into words, but "dolphin dance" is a truly unique and beautiful art form that Toli and I will probably be doing as often as we can.

* Around 9 or 10, we head back to our A-frame to go to bed. An A-frame is pretty much like a screened-in hut. A deck, two pieces of corrugated metal tented together (hence the A-frame) and screens on each side. Great natural air conditioning, but a bit of a nightmare with dust and the occasional mosquito that makes it through the door. It's really cozy, though - we've moved the bed mattress to the floor, encased it in mosquito net, and basically set up house in this tiny little space. On my next day off, I think I'll try to sew some curtains for some extra privacy.

So - that's the quick lowdown on life at Kalani. It's probably not going to deviate much from this, but I'll be sure to write in as funny stories occur and as we come across more "dolphin-dance" like experiences. Apparently they have a "rebirthing" experience here which I'm pretty reluctant to do as it involves pretending...okay, regressing back to your infanthood. But you never know what kinds of boundaries might be pushed after three months of living here!

Oh yeah, Toli also did the hula the other night and looked GREAT. Almost as good as when he got into the spirit of things during the clothing-optional time period at the pool. :-P

Posted by Christine at 01:24 AM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2004

Less than 12 hours to Aloha...

Just brushing the nanodust off this weblog as we prepare for our flight to Hawaii tomorrow! We actually started the leg of this trip a bit earlier, when we left Austin on Friday the 13th for a quick trip to the Bay Area. Since all flights for Hawaii leave from SFO or LAX, we figured we might as well stop by my mother's and visit with some friends before heading for tropical paradise.

It's been a PACKED trip though - dinners every night in the South Bay or San Francisco with old high school/college buds and plenty of housework and maintenance at my mom's. I guess Toli could use the warm-up since that's all he'll be doing in Hawaii. In just the last few days, he installed DSL and a wireless router, updated VirusScan and Windows, replaced a rice cooker fuse, put new batteries in all the smoke detectors (and replaced two of them while he was at it), rehung a curtain rod, installed a new light fixture in the laundry room, and a dozen other things I've probably forgotten about. Add late-night watching of the Olympic Games, and we find ourselves in need of a vacation from our vacation already!

Our sojourn in Hawaii should fit the bill, though - 30 hours a week of "hard labor", but the rest of the time we'll have access to the pool, yoga classes, volleyball, and the occasional new age workshop on "finding your inner dolphin" or something like that. Check out for our new digs for the next three months! They say there's occasional email access, but I hope not to have too many excuses for not logging as often as I should. ALOHA!!!

Posted by Christine at 02:23 AM | Comments (0)