Thursday, March 29, 2012

Big Blow, off Maui


It was dark and there was water in the streets and no lights on alongside of the road, and the trees were blown down everywhere. I had heard once we got off the plane at the Maui airport, heard tell, a storm was coming, it evidently had come—although not completely stretched out nor in its full bud. So I grabbed my wife’s hand and got into the escorted tourist van. And we were headed for our hotel within minutes; it was off the Western Harbor. The streets and everything was full of water, gutters filled to the rim, and cars splashing water as they drove by us— tossing water every-which-way, and just everywhere was water and the wind was picking up gradually—more and more to who knows when it would reach its zenith. A moon was scarcely seen overhead with dark faded clouds around it, some through it, and plenty of rough weather seemed to be brewing all around us.

When we got to the hotel all the lights were out, no street lights no any kind of lights but car headlights and very few of them, and the wind was still picking up, “Man,” I said to Rosa, “this is some storm fermenting.” Like a hurricane in the makings.

It was just as dark as an empty barrel with a lid on top of it—; anyhow we couldn’t even recognize our hotel when we came ahead of it, the driver had to shine his headlights on the sign out near the street on the green area, and point to it, and when we got out, he was gone like a flying fish.

As we walked to the back of the hotel, where there was kind of a plaza area with a pool in the middle of it, trees and all types of greenery were blowing in the wind, along with water from the sea and branches from the nearby hotels. And a few trees, bulky tall trees, by the pool were ripped out of the ground, roots and all; some birds lay dead here and there in the grass, a few pelicans, all kinds of birds evidently they were trying to escape the torrent winds and surge of flying water, some I saw being blown from out of the sky—like twisting kit out of control, back and forth to kingdom-come, a shrill and eerie night indeed. You had to look every-which-way, lest you get slapped with something, someplace on your body, and the vibrating thunder run through your body like ramparts being rapidly opened and closed—pounded against some granite, I could feel this heavy impulse from my heart to my throat.

Apparently, most everyone had gone inside one or the other parts of the doubled sectioned hotel we were at, the lower bottom floor of the first section was the one serving hot meals in a cafeteria style restaurant, Rosa and I were hungry, deliriously hungry. The other part that was opened was next to the restaurant, where the hotel desk was; where a clerk remained on duty—by candle light, to check people in or otherwise.

We talked to the hotel clerk, got our keys to our rooms, and we went and put our luggage in it, but there were no lights. And it now was raining hard—there was a grim unrelenting blackness starting to seep into the sky covering earth like a cloak, a sinister and ominous darkness seeping out from the sea; we then walked back out into the plaza area, I started to look out towards the sea, and to where they were serving the hot food, on the other side of the pool, glancing back and forth, one side to the other: sea to café, the sea and then the cafe, thinking: should we go eat or run back to our rooms, eat or run back to our rooms?

“Let’s see what they got left to eat,” I told Rosa “we ought to eat something before morning,” we had flown directly from Minnesota, to San Francisco, and then onward to Maui, with very little to eat, my hunger was overtaking my mind, perhaps even to the point of overlooking safety measures.

We were quite a ways on the other side, across from the plaza, to where the café was, and we ran, getting slapped with the wet and sometimes thick watery air, heavy blows of water from the sea being carried by the winds striking us all over our soaked bodies, as if being bombarded with shapeless ghouls (the hotel having been only a hundred yards from the beach).

When we got to the café, the floor was under an inch of water, somehow they produced some artificial lighting from overhanging gas lanterns. “We haven’t had a storm like this in a decade,” said some voice serving food behind a long row of tables, to a guest in front of me. The food looked like it was mostly picked over—under incandescent light fixtures, perhaps electrified by some generator. And the sign read “$25.00!” And under the sign was a note that read “No exceptions,” meaning I would guess: Take it or Leave it! Meaning, it would cost you $25.00-dollars apiece, skimpy as it was; and where the nearest café was other than this one—only God knew, so we took it. It was a rip-off, but we had no choice, starve or pull out fifty-bucks.

There we were standing up with our trays and dishes of food, bits and pieces of leftovers—so it appeared to me, looking out a glass window at the tall trees swaying, to and fro, looking as if they were going to be ripped out of the ground any minute, and a few smaller ones were already ripped up and out from its roots, laying here and there, around the pool. We looked about, there was no place to sit down, and so we continued to eat standing up. Another peeve I couldn’t do much about.

“If this storm would just take a break until we get settled in,” I commented to Rosa. She remained silent, there was really no response needed it was more a statement than a question.

As we finished our food and walked outside, I could see the tops of the trees rocking as if they were floating ships out at sea. And you could hear the hard twisting winds; whistling and clashing like titans at war—it was all deafening to your ears, branches breaking. I hung onto Rosa as if onto a little dinghy—took a couple of deep breaths then we ran like cabooses attached to a train, across the plaza to our hotel, and once through the doorway, to our room.

I could see Rosa’s hair was tied down somehow—towards the back of her head, tightly; I had to carry my hat in hand. She was right up close to me when we ran into our apartment building; the hallway was dark, drenched. We went up one flight of stairs, and once in our apartment, I had to let go of Rosa, and I heard a great thump, looked out the window, thought a wall from a building had cracked or crashed, or something had gotten wrecked, but it was a large, very large towering tree that had been ripped in two, struck by lightening I guess, and had fallen by the pool, and then I noticed lighting and thunder and there was no longer a moon to be seen—and now an eldritch dark mist had filled all the light spaces the hotel had once emanated.

My head felt tired, my neck stiff and then I rested on the bed, fully clothed, in case I had to get up quick, for whatever reason, but I fell to sleep quicker than a rabbit can jump over a fence, or dash under a fence, after a short tossing and turning and thinking. It wasn’t any good staying up anyhow and just worrying about something you can do nothing about (the hotel staff was not going to vacate the hotel, and told us to simply lock ourselves in our rooms and outwait the storm).

As I initially laid there, I started drifting off into some dream sleep, as the wind was hammering against the window, I had shut the curtains in case the glass broke: the rains lashed out like whips, clear and sharp against the windows, and sand was being tossed about, I could hear the stones inside the sand hitting the building we were in.

This evening had been like witnessing a storm blowing right out of hell—and it was stubborn like a donkey, yes indeed, a donkey from hell; Maui per se, had lost control, and the storm took charge. You couldn’t get out of the hotel—had you wanted to, until morning anyhow, and where would you go anyway. But it came out all right, in the morning, Maui was as if it had a simple nightmare, and had taken a sedative, and woke up sunshine-smiling.

No: 419/ 6-22-2009 (reedited, 8-22-2009; reedited a second time: 2-4-2012)

Dedicated to my sidekick, Rosa