Friday, January 1, 2010

The Last Day of the Year

So this is how we spent the last 24 hours of this year.

LK, Shirley and I rented a car and drove to the northern beaches of Oahu. The news was reporting huge waves at the surf beaches, and we wanted to check it out. We were not disappointed at Waimea, where mere mortals were banned from swimming and, as they announced, "only Waimea experts with two flippers" were being allowed to body surf.

Further over from the body surfers, there were some great rolling waves, and we saw some guys paddle out so far you could hardly see them until they were suddenly standing up and taking a ride that seemed to last forever as a few of them made it all the way to the shore.

Standing and watching the surfers counted as our exercise, so we got back in the car and went off in pursuit of one of the northern beaches' famous shrimp stands alongside the road. LK had read about it, and thought it would be the perfect lunch today. She had even brought handy-wipes. Such a thoughtful woman.

It was only a bit after noon and Shirley and I wanted to wait a little before eating, so we passed two or three of the stands, which LK said were supposed to be among the best. Then we hit civilization (or a close imitation of it in that part of the island) and the shrimp stands were no more.

LK's disappointment was evident, and I offered to turn around. She didn't want to, and I was starting to get that sinking feeling of having made a poor decision when we turned a bend in the road and saw a brightly painted lunch wagon called The Shrimp Shack.

Seldom has a roadside food stand looked so inviting. We all ordered spicy shrimp and an ear of fresh corn on the cob. I went inside the little grocery next to the stand and bought three bottles of local beer. The woman put them in little brown bags and told me to make sure we kept them on the bottles. Then she handed me the churchkey, telling me I had to pop them myself since the store wasn't licensed for drinks on the premise.

So our New Years Eve lunch was very tasty shrimp eaten alongside the beach road, washed down with beer from a brown bag. It was everything LK thought it would be. This is the video LK made at the Shrimp Shack.

Somehow we ended up heading back into Waikiki rather than staying on the coast road, but that was OK. We took advantage of having a car and went to the grocery and loaded up on essentials for the rest of the trip. At least I think 5 bottles of wine and a small Kahlua are considered essentials. Can't figure out why we got meat and bread, though.

And with all that wine, we decided to have Happy Hour in our place. Sitting on the lanai, we were able to watch the great Honolulu tradition of neighborhood fireworks. Even before dark, there were fireworks going off throughout the city, and as the night wore on some professional-level displays were soaring from people's backyards.

As much as we have loved the Sydney fireworks, this seemed more fun - people celebrating the New Year, not the government putting on an extravaganza. Of course, I can only imagine how many trips get made to the emergency room here on New Year's Eve.

It was a lovely end to a year that has been one of great change and great fun. Here's to 2010, and Happy New Year to all.

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