Thursday, August 27, 2009

so...what's been doing 'round these parts?

hi! remember me? i'm back! we got back yesterday around dinner time and then i made us unpack and hyperventilated and had 60 thousand anxiety attacks about how busy our lives are and how much shiz we have to do and then we ate pizza and i organized my life some and fell asleep.

toronto feels like a BIG city after hawaii. but first things first - the disney vacation with the family, which was renamed the "pineapple whip tour 2009". there's a link to some photos 'pon the facebook for those who like such things.

the resort we stayed at was called the "port orleans - riverside" formerly known as "dixieland" (replete with confederate flags until someone realized how INCREDIBLY OFFENSIVE that is.) the resort consists of a bunch of low lying, antebellum mansion type lodgings grouped around a man-made (everything in disney is man-made) river. it was STINKING hot. unbearably hot. instant crankers hot. step outside to be enveloped in the smothering embrace of a hot, wet, woolen blanket hot. it was so humid that every part of you chafed. it is a testament to what a hardcore amazing packer i am that we went down with 1 carry on roly luggage and 1 knapsack each. and that's it! eff you united and your $15/checked bag ways! not on my watch! the key to surviving is 100% cotton aka all american apparel, all the time. it saved my butt.

the pineapple whip is this AMAZING thing that they ONLY have in ONE location in all the park (the whole compound consists of: the magic kingdom, EPCOT, animal kingdom, hollywood studios, and downtown disney). outside of the tiki room in adventureland, dole has a stand that sells "pineapple whip" which is *wait for it* PINEAPPLE FLAVOURED SOFT SERVE. I DON'T EVEN LIKE SOFT SERVE! it's THE BEST! they serve it swirled with plain, vanilla soft serve in a cup, OR you can get a PINEAPPLE WHIP FLOAT which is pineapple whip in a cup of pineapple juice. it's SO refreshing! when we wore our t-shirts people would pass us and either give us the thumbs up or say, "i've heard about this pineapple whip" or just puzzle over what it meant. i also made up a song and a dance for it. it has to be seen to be believed.

here are our photos from hawai'i - what we did and what we ate. i'm going to be honest, i wasn't expecting much because everything i had read was like, "oh there's no fancy hawaiian food, it's all diner-y" etc. then i came to and realized that I LOVE DINER FOOD MORE THAN ANYTHING. most of the hawaiian restaurants worth going to are in shady looking strip malls spattered in industrial areas...but the food is SO GOOD! we chowed down like kings and the portions were HUMONGOUS. now we know how brother iz got to be so ginormous. there's so much ahi tuna you think you're going to drown in it. platters and platters of cool, thick slices of carnelian red tuna. it's insane. spam and portugese sausage everywhere. sweet bread (from the filipino/portugese influence), taro/guava/passionfruit bread. so much pork! loco moco (hamburger patty topped with egg on white rice and canned gravy), poke (cubes of ahi tuna or salmon in a marinade), puupuu platters (appetizers/hors d'oeuvres), and lunch plate style meals (protein, rice, a scoop of macaroni salad). we feasted and our costs were pretty low.

as per usual, we avoided tours. you really don't have to do them. before we left we considered getting a tour to go up mauna kea (the mountain with the observatories up top) which would have cost us $180/person and included dinner. but we just trucked up there on our own. the stars atop the mountain were like nothing you've ever seen before. you can see the swirls of galaxies and jupiter!

what we did

what we ate

the big island is breathtakingly, achingly beautiful. within two seconds of driving you'll go from arid lava desert to misty rain forest. it's the biggest of the chain of 8 hawaiian islands and thanks to the most continually active volcano in the world spewing lava into the ocean (kilauea, going since 1982), it's still growing. there's only 177,000 people on the whole island, so it's not very densely populated. the major towns feel small and poky. everything shuts down by like, 9pm...we'd be driving around looking for things to do - which is why we saw a billion movies while we were gone. we got a little paranoid that everyone at the b&bs were avoiding us because we never saw anyone - we thought there might be a secret party room somewhere that we didn't know about.

it was really hard to leave. i fell in love with the place. it's not just the beaches or the marine life or the nature - the pace of life is so easy going. if you go to hilo, the county seat, you're away from the tourist hubbub and you can really picture yourself making a life there. i've been on other vacations where i've been DONE with the place once it's been over - like, feeling worn out and looking forward to resuming the "regular" pace of my life back in toronto, feeling bored and restless. that wasn't the case with hawai'i - i feel like we have unfinished business. it was enjoyable being still for once (me! still!) - sitting quietly, soaking in the elemental sublime of your surroundings, feeling it reverberate and thrum in concert with some primordial, evolutionary timbre. i will definitely go back.

for dinner tonight i made us a chopped salad of blanched green beans, just-cooked corn off the cob, grape tomatoes, cucumber, and orange pepper in a creamy dill dressing, with grilled sea bream stuffed with lemon and thyme, finished with a slug of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and sea salt. it was delicious!

i gotta get a good night's sleep. our second purchaser's visit tomorrow morning. today at work was crazy, made even crazier by the fact that I'M NOW A PERMANENT EMPLOYEE! yay benefits! yay personal leave! yay sick days! yay glasses! yay varicose vein compression stockings! yay to staying in a job i love with people i like! yay!

so many movie and book reviews!


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