Mt. Grademore does Kauai (and I come along for companionship)

December  22,  2010

Shower me with congratulations, for Mt. Grademore is at last behind me.  But not, I regret to tell you, before it had kept me indoors for nearly two weeks in Oahu and accompanied me on "vacation" to Kauai:

D and Mt. Grademore:
Cunningly arranged to represent the amount of time I have spent with each on this trip

I read papers on the beach in the rain while surfers cavorted spectacularly before me.  Tunnels Beach, where this photo was taken, boasts some of the most famous waves in the Pacific, or so I hear. (Not to mention the odd shark attack, but let's not focus on that now.)  I was mostly absorbed in student accounts of the metatheatricality of Shakespeare.

Kauai is my favorite of the three Hawaiian Islands I have seen so far (the deserts and volcanoes of the Big Island a few years ago; crowded, urban Oahu perhaps to excess this summer and winter; and now a brief weekend in Kauai, which really set about earning its status as the wettest place on Earth.  We are hoping to do Maui when I am back in February for my school's "Winter Break.").  I hope to be back for more than a couple of a days next time, and this time without my papery albatross of argumentative despair.  What really impressed me was how good an impression Kauai does of Nova Scotia:

Kilauea Lighthouse, northernmost point of Hawai'i
Windswept Sycorax Pine at Peggy's Cove,
southern shore of Nova Scotia,
where injury and death have rewarded careless sightseers.
Really, that's what the plaque says.

It must have sensed that I'm homesick.

We were only on the island for a couple of days, but we managed a long, misty canyon hike made all that much longer when we fell in with two jolly, bickering older guys on the trail who claimed to know of a really great shortcut that would enable us to avoid the slippery, muddy, steep climb back to the parking lot.  Next thing we knew we were on a dirt road ten miles from our cars.  The only living creature we had seen for an hour and half was a lost, semi-feral dog who gave us a very, very wide berth before trotting off into the marshy distance of the highest swamp on Earth.  (The lesson here?  D: "Never listen to Waldorf and Statler.")  Eventually we stumbled upon some locals who (Solstice miracle!) agreed to take us ten miles back up the mountain in the back of their pickup.  Bouncing along at top speed in the hot mist on that uncushioned metal may have been the happiest part of my day.  And it was a pretty happy day.

The westernmost bookstore in the United States.
Sadly, it was closed, so I didn't have a chance to purchase the westernmost book in my library.
It did occur to me, however, that Kauai is the farthest west I've ever been.

Now it's our last day in Oahu before we head to our respective families for the holidays, and I am writing this from the set of the show where D works. As I typed along, mere moments ago, gleefully free of the burdens of Mt. Grademore, my computer began acting a little strangely.  The mouse moved without my direction.  Then letters began appearing on my screen - letters I hadn't typed.  Finally, Ouija-like, the letters spelled out, very slowly: "STINKAPOTAMUS...."  I shrieked.  Just as one of the show's very famous, breaktakingly handsome stars walked by.   That's dignity for you.  But, I mean, my computer was possessed.

So it turns out that D has the ability to seize control of my laptop from afar.  This is one of the things the show pays him for, I guess.  But I don't know.  My confidence in free will has been shaken.... 

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