Island of Oahu, Maui, Kauai
Where are all the coconut bras?
The Covid-19 summer of 2020 will go down in history as the summer people made the most jokes about toilet paper. Feeling like a leper every time I went out shopping and forgot to bring my mask, life became so surreal it made more sense to believe stuffed animals were alive: “When visiting a store, masks should be worn by every odd-numbered visitor whose name consists of a number of letters divisible by 3, between 11 AM and 4 PM. However, this doesn’t apply to the week following a full moon and during public holidays, unless the number of visitors equals to x^2=2a−b±b2−4ac where x is greater than 100 and less than 500, not counting weddings and indoor funerals.”
The best solution for this? An escape!
But where? The situation in South America was going from bad to worse, travel to Europe was unpredictable with all the quarantine lists and level 3 alerts, and going to China equaled to high treason.
What about Hawaii? Domestic travel is still on, and imagine the empty airports, no security lines and 5 passengers per plane!
Hawaii? I never really cared, but yeah, I could do tropics. I could swap the cold coastal fogs and killer inland heats of California for weather that actually makes sense.
Hawaii was the first state to impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine, but as of June, most beaches and parks reopened and the inter-island quarantine was lifted. Flights were cheap, rooms too and so were car rentals.
With 5 weeks on our hands, there was nothing to wait for – with Hawaiian prices taking a dive, this was a one-in-a-million opportunity and we’d be fools not to take it!
And here we are. Herded into lines by military personnel to have our temperature checked, we hand our trip details and contact numbers over to the staff of the State of Hawaii and answer their cryptic questions. We made it!
No aloha, no lai, no hula hula, but we made it!
Not as humid as I thought it would be is my first thought, before we jump into a cab that drives us through empty streets with an oddly abandoned feel to them.
We decide to take it easy (the phone call from State of Hawaii checking on us the next day really scared us). We read books we find in the foyer of our condo building (never again David Baldacci!), watch sunsets and panoramic views of the Honolulu skyline from our lanai (what a nice tank top sunburn you can get like that), and surf the Internet getting to know Oahu.
The joy when we find out Safeway delivers. With 12 boxes of angel hair, 7 pasta sauce jars, 8 large pineapples and 5 family-size ice-creams, I think we’re all set.
We’re amazed to see the number of the stores and shopping malls around.
“People are idiots. Who’d come to Hawaii to do shopping?!” We laugh contemptuously and peek inside one. Surprise! We do!
There’s no shortage of entertainment, either. One morning, we wake up to sounds of a gunship attack. All excited, we sneak up the fire stairs and – no insurgents getting their butts handed to them, unfortunately; just a regular helicopter replacing the 2,800-gallon water tank on the roof. Firefighters make an appearance, too, extending, raising, lowering and retracting ladders all morning for no apparent reason other than to keep us in suspense. One evening, 6 flashing police cars surround a woman hollering outside our building and arrest her.
We find trios of red bumps on our necks, arms and legs. Probably an allergic reaction to all the pasta sauce we’ve been eating, we assume. Wrong. Bed bugs, says the internet – the series of three bites in a row are pretty self-explanatory: “breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
I can’t say those were two weeks of a boring quarantine.