I don’t excel at games. An example of my failure to thrive in this arena is my lackluster performance at the game Settlers of Cattan, a pastime favored by my husband and daughters. I just find all the settling so…unsettling. My friend Gregory refuses to play, though my husband has generously offered to refer to it as Non-profits of Cattan in her presence I just don’t have the forethought and patience for games, particularly ones that require me to methodically civilize.
I spent nine glorious days grateful for the savvy bunch who realized the United States had everything, except a tropical vacation land, and elbowed their way through the Polynesians, right into Hawaii. Support a coup against the queen, annex the place, and you’ll have an umbrella in your drink by noon. I would never have gotten that job done. I can’t even get it together enough to build a Cattan road. Neither can the Hawaiian Department of Transportation, but I wasn’t there for the pavement.
From Ke’e Beach, where the road ends and the jungle begins, I hiked up a half mile to get a view of the Ne’pali Coast. This lush land of fluted ridges, dripping with all your favorite houseplants, is accessible only by the Kalalau Trail, or by boat. I wasn’t truly hiking, since I was in flip flops and a wet bathing suit, armed only with my phone for a photo.* We had been snorkeling and I was dying for a peek, so I popped up there in a rain squall. Descent on the muddy rocks proved hazardous, and I had to lose my shoes. One chatty hiker told me he felt overaccessorized. “Only compared to me, ” I replied. But he did have what looked like a hepa-filtered pop-up jacuzzi on his back, partly obscured by his enormous hat and some sort of awning.
My impromptu trip up the hill was only partly inspired by my desire to catch the glimpse of a lifetime. I now believe that I was acting under the influence of Macadamia Nut Cream Pie. Eaters, here is reason enough to bloat your credit card to the busting point and get to the islands. Seven years ago I had chocolate cream pie in the Ching Young shopping center in Hanalei. Many times my thoughts returned to that homely little shop with the least congenial workers on all of the generally friendly island of Kauai. Good news! They still serve it, and still without so much as a trace of a smile.
I showed up at 8.30 am and was greeted by: “NOT SET YET! PIE NOT SET! CAN’T HAVE IT YET!” Not a problem! I waited seven years, what’s another hour or two loitering by the dairy case while the custard firms? But wait! Realizing I was probably going to hang around all morning, staring at her expectantly, the proprietress barked, “I CAN SERVE A SLICE OF MACADAMIA NUT BUT THAT’S IT!” Yes, well, why didn’t you say so? At $2.50, it’s the cheapest deal going, even with the abuse. I don’t need to be treated like royalty, unless you mean like the Hawaiian royalty that got the short end of the stick.
It would have taken more than a shrieking pie-slinger to undo my serene, Aloha state of mind. On numerous occasions, I did not cane people with their selfie sticks. I also made a point of frequently gazing lovingly at my husband (or at the Bernard Cornwall paperback that was in the way of his face [I assume that was my husband behind the book, but I may have spent the week with someone else’s]). I relaxed on the beach, and vowed to make the pie when I returned from paradise. Stay tuned Eaters, this is going to require some experimentation. Worry not! I have been training for this my whole life. I may be unlucky at cards, but in the kitchen, well, I like to think I have my moments.
* I got to come back for a true hike before we left. I wore a dry bathing suit and brought a burrito, so that’s two of the seven essentials.