Friday, May 23, 2014
Big Blow, off Maui (12/2001)
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 the driver drove in the direction of our hotel; which was off the Western Harbor.
The streets everywhere, and everything along the roadway 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 it was as if a deluge was in the makings; plus, the wind was picking up progressively—more and more, to who knows when it would reach its zenith.
The moon could be scarcely seen overhead, it had dark faded clouds around it, some through it; and my best guess was, we had plenty of rough weather brewing ahead of us in all directions.
Along the roadway to the hotel all the streetlights were out, only car headlights were visible, as the storm fermented, which was to a the likeness of a hurricane. Matter of fact, we had turned off the headlights at one point, to disembark the van, and it was as dark as the inside of an empty barrel.
Matter of fact, it was hard for our driver to spot the sign recognizing our hotel. Once the driver dropped us off he was gone like a flying fish.
This was our second try to get a vacation to Maui, the first try was on 9/11, can you beat that, and at the very time the towers in New York City was being hit, we were sitting in the airplane in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and at the moment the first tower was hit, the motors were gearing up for takeoff of our jet, and then, when the second tower was hit, we were inside the airport looking at it happening: then came the realization, why our plane was halted; and now this storm of all things.
As my wife Rosa and I walked to the back of the hotel, where we noticed a single light, we found a plaza type 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 which was perhaps one hundred yards away, along with branches flying, and crisscrossing from one hotel to the other in flight, and trees pulled out from their roots laying all about, a number of trees, along with colorful birds—dead as doornails, and I got slapped in the face and thighs with some debris.
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 viciously hungry. The other part that was opened was next to the restaurant, where the hotel desk was, where a clerk remained on duty—by candlelight.
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. As we went to and fro the rain was unrelenting, and the dark sky covered the earth like a cloak, a sinister, ominous seeping sea, roaring as if in front of us.
“Let’s see what they got left to eat,” I voiced to Rosa “we ought to eat something before morning,” standing at the outside doorway of the hotel on the other side of the pool. We’d have to make our way across the plaza, to where the café was, heavy blows of water from the sea being carried by the winds striking everything, everywhere with madness, hence we fought our way across the plaza, nonetheless. When we got to the café, the floor was drenched, under water by an inch or two, here and there, and looking about, there was artificial lighting from overhanging gas lanterns.
“We haven’t had a storm like this in a decade,” said some voice behind the counter, serving food.
The food looked like it was mostly picked over by scavengers, it was a dinner buffet; a sign read “$25.00!” The undersigned was the manager’s name, with a note that read “No exceptions.”
So we had scarps of food, for $50-dollars, that McDonalds would have thrown in the garbage can. Oh well, that’s the luck of the storm. Another peeve, there was no place to sit down, we were like trees with no roots, very uncomfortable; I think Rosa and I just looked at each other, shook our heads, and laughed, a five million dollar hotel feeding scraps for fifty-dollars, you can’t beat that for rudeness, or penny-pinching.
As we finished our food we made our way back through the hard pushing and twisting winds, guarding our faces this time from the clashing branching flying every which way, and the deafening sounds to the ears of the storm. I hung onto Rosa as if onto a little dinghy—took a couple of deep breaths then we made the last few steps to the doorway to our hotel, like cabooses attached to a train: up two flights of stairs to our room, locked it, and said a long prayer, and fell to sleep.
No: 419/ 6-22-2009 (reedited, 8-22-2009)
Dedicated to my sidekick, Rosa