Monday night, we stayed in Waikiki. I’ve never actually spent the night there, though Mike had a hotel room courtesy of the gov’t for a month when he first got here. Since I stayed behind in Germany with our pets, waiting for them to complete the “quarantine” before we could enter Hawaii, I missed out on the experience. A year and a half later, I’m finally catching up.

We had a 13th floor room. I am afraid of heights, and so was a little wary about getting close to the edge of the balcony at first, but I mellowed enough to sort of lean on the railing for half a second before I plopped myself in a chair and stared through the bars instead. 🙂

Waikiki is blazing with activity at all hours of the day and night. We weren’t sure what we planned to do, but since we checked in around 4 and were practically starved, we went down to Biba’s and had drinks and an appetizer while waiting for them to start serving dinner at 5. I had a drink called a Tropical Itch (it even came with a back scratcher). I am not much of a mixed drink person, usually, but what the hell I thought. Mike ordered a Mai Tai. When the drinks came, I took a sip and nearly choked.

“What?”

“Bourbon,” I said, picking up the menu and reading the ingredients. How did I miss that?

“You can tell it’s got bourbon in it?” Mike didn’t quite believe it.

“Huh, can I,” I said. See, in the South, bourbon is the mixing booze of choice for teenagers (or was back in the 80s). I’ve had more Old Charter and coke (or Mountain Dew–yes, eewww) than I care to think about. I was a kid, though, so give me a break.

And then there was the time my mother and I sat at the bar in the Mount Vernon Inn and had a Mint Julep whilst waiting for Mike and his parents to complete their tour of our first president’s abode. I don’t remember why in God’s name we decided to order Mint Juleps, except I think the enticement to drink a Southern beverage that used mint grown in George Washington’s very own gardens was too tempting to pass up.

Neither Mom or I are whiskey drinkers, but it was that darned mint, I tell ya. So, we plop at the bar, peruse the menu, and order. I wish I’d known how Mint Juleps were made. I sort of envisioned a mixed fruity drink. I guess Mom did too. Um, no. Bourbon poured over ice and mint leaves. Supposedly, there’s sugar in there, but danged if I tasted it. Needless to say, half an hour and one Mint Julep later, I was getting pretty sleepy. I don’t remember much, except falling asleep in the car on the way home. ONE drink, dammit. Bourbon is burned on my brain for all time.

I finished the Tropical Itch with no side effects, thankfully. Mike decided to order one for himself, but I got a glass of house red instead. We ate dinner and strolled to the beach to watch the sunset. I know, I know, tons of sunset pics on this blog already, but it’s too beautiful and I can’t help it. Then we sat on the beach and watched the shark bait, er, tourists swim in the darkening water (Shark party, table for two, beachside. Special today is tasty arms and legs…)

We sat there for a long time, listening to the music from the beach bar and watching the stars come out. For some reason, country music was the order of the day, which seemed a bit incongruous. Finally, though it wasn’t even 8PM, we opted to go back to our room where we sat on the darkened balcony, drinking a bottle of red wine we’d brought along and watching the twinkling lights of Honolulu. Far below us, a luau was taking place, so we had the pulsing drum beat of a Tahitian dance and then got to watch the spinning fire sticks wielded by a Samoan dancer as the drums tattooed faster and faster.

I was almost reminded of Marlow and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, of the mesmerizing drum beat in the night and of Kurtz’s slow crawl to get back to it. But even with my eyes closed, the effect was ruined by the sounds of traffic and the voice of the luau host booming over the microphone. There was no native ritual calling me to lose myself in the primitive. Instead, I went to sleep high above the beach, tucked into a comfy bed, my dreams undisturbed by any sinister late night occurences.