Good Morning Duke Kahanamoku Wherever You Are,
I returned from paradise yesterday feeling depressed and empty. I go through this three or four day withdrawal every time I’m fortunate enough to spend time there. Back to work and re-engage with the daily routines and found my self-inflicted wounds were right where I left them. While it’s sad to be sure, but it’s a small price to pay to ingest the beauty and charm of the Hawaiian Islands.
‘Snorkel Bob’s’ wedding went off without a hitch and was happy for my old friend as he was clearly overjoyed with his new bride. After saying goodbye I jumped into the rental car and headed to the ‘Haleiwa Beach House’ on the “North Shore” for pupus and umbrella’d drinks. I was able to secure a spot allowing me a fabulous view of the locals surfing 10 to 12 foot waves–considered small by “North Shore” standards.
I got back to my hotel near Waikiki Beach (which in reality is overrun with Japanese tourists) I changed clothes and found my way to “Duke’s” to enjoy another sunset. Duke’s is one of my favorite places to hang out. While it was certainly busy I was able to find a seat at the end of a rectangular bar being managed by Hailey. At 25 she is the most accomplished bar tender I’ve ever seen. Duke’s is named after Duke Kahanamoku or the “Big Kahuna” who is widely credited as the person that popularized surfing around the world using a board 16 feet long and weighing more than 100 pounds!
I’m not sure if he was involved in the first restaurant/bar and lent his name to it or not, but his old black & white photos are pasted everywhere. Travel to the islands by oneself is similar to a “Table for one” scenario at a restaurant but magnified tenfold! So I was surprised to find a half-dozen people who also made the trip solo and happened to be at Duke’s when I showed up.
Two hours later the entire “windward” end of the bar was engaged in a raucous party with folks from all parts the world! Mexico, Sweden, London, Germany, and Greece were represented and can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed myself more–as the party escalated to the point of drunken debauchery! The youngsters invited me to join them for a midnight skinny-dip, but I explained my naked body would most certainly put a damper on our celebration and to go on without me.
The Pacific Ocean was perhaps 100 yards from the bar so I watched ten of them disappear into the darkness shedding clothing while on the run. Finishing my Hawaiian Island Ice Tea (Malibu Rum) I strolled toward the beach and could hear the jocularity and splashing causing me to yearn for my lost youth. I bid everyone ‘mahalo’ for the party and wished them safe travel. I paid my tab and tipped Hailey who kissed me on the cheek which I appreciated. I caught a cab to my hotel and collapsed in a heap.
It was 2AM.
While it would be impossible to keep this pace on a daily basis, but for a few days I truly relaxed while at the same time abused my body perhaps to the point of no return. That said, I’d do it again tomorrow!