I live in a big old house with 7 other random travelers. I’ve been in this place for 6 months after the old house in Kakio Point was condemned. All the houses on this side of the island are weather beaten with windows painted open and gaps in the walls. I am used to the feel of tiny mice holding a grand prix in the middle of the night, my belly the first bridge in the course.I work at the Tiki Lounge near Kalauea Iki; during the tourist months I make good tips and sometimes bring a big spender home for a few hours so I can pay the rent. I’ve lived on the beach before when the money ran out. It’s not so bad, could be a lot worse, believe me. Back in Montana, during the winter, people’s toes fall off- yes, actually break right off- frozen and brittle.
Here it’s rodents, the reptiles and the bugs. They are everywhere; you can’t get away from them. I think your blood gets thicker or thinner, I can’t remember which, after you live here for awhile. They leave you alone after you’ve passed the initiation. And the scorpions are a pain in the, well, wherever they pinch you, if you are so unlucky as to lie down with one.The air though, the air of the islands blows warm and sexy. You walk seductively down the streets, in the markets, in the clubs, just to let that air kiss every inch of you. And it smells like flowers, but it’s a subtle scent, not the overpowering artificiality of perfume or scented soap, but a soft romantic smell you want to wrap around you like a cocoon.
The food is here fresh, and juicy, and colorful, and messy. A mango can leave you sticky for days, and the rum drinks with pineapple and little umbrellas leave circles on the table tops and stumbling women in their wake. Pupus - island appetizers, are also very sensual- kalua pork, sashimi, shave ice.It would be difficult to return to the mainland after living here for so many years. I never really think about it anymore. I just live, for today, in today, for as long as it lasts, an hour, a day, a month, a year. It’s all the same.
It’s hot, and getting late and I need to take a shower before my shift.
To be continued