Chaos Attraction

Small Town Christmas Parade

2013-12-21, 11:37 p.m.

Today's Big Kauai Christmas Activity was going to the Waimea Christmas Parade.

As I mentioned yesterday, it is technically possible to get farther out than Princeville--I think we went to Ke'e Beach last time I was here--but North Shore is pretty far away from almost everything happening on the island. (I think next time I go here with anyone, I'm gonna point out that we should stay in Lihue, that seems pretty central/the halfway mark to everything.) The parade website basically said you need to park your car there somewhere between 3 and 4 p.m., and it was in the end at least an hour and a half, if not more, to get there from Princeville. Since we had a slow start getting Mom out the door this morning (10:15), I was worried about arriving on time.

We went to the Princeville shopping center again on the way out to pick up tickets for the hula show tomorrow at the little Hawaiian music stand. I asked if he had any Hawaiian pop music Christmas albums here--seriously, there are some great crazy tunes I'm hearing on the radio, like the Hawaiian 12 Days of Christmas and Rudolph except it's done about a billy goat. He found me two (though those songs aren't on them) and gave me a third CD for free, so score! More for the collection!

After that, Mom wanted to go see the Kilauea lighthouse...but of course she derailed at seeing a church, and some stores, and she went in stores, and we ended up talking to a lady for a long period of time, and by the time we made it around the lighthouse (which is recommended that you're there for at least a half hour), I was all, " this point we REALLY NEED TO LEAVE BY 1" and it was 12:15. God knows we would not pull off leaving by 1 or staying a half hour if we actually went down there. And I kept thinking of all of the drama that would ensue if we got there and she couldn't park, and if you read the website this was a pretty likely problem if we showed up laaaaate as usual. She nicely said we could do this tomorrow or something.

Today's discussion of folks who moved here:
(a) the music stand guy, who told us how he was from Illinois and he'd been visiting since the 70's when there was really nothing to do here and no television. His wife hated living in Hawaii and eventually moved to Tahoe. He, on the other hand, is delighted to be here.
(b) A woman working in a store in the shopping center in Kilauea who was from Grass Valley (seriously, that's three people in three days from there) who now is all, "I want to move back, I miss my family." (Sigh. I honestly cannot conceive of what it feels like to miss my family. Most of mine don't give a shit, the ones that like me are far away and I'm used to that, and I can't miss Mom when she's always around, if you know what I mean.) Though she did have an interesting story of coming to visit some friend of hers after her last kid went off to college and the friend was all, "Why don't you just stay?" and she saw a "Help Wanted" ad for the bakery and applied and got the job all in the same day, so she figured it was a sign. She talked about how the island accepts some people and rejects some people who are being assholes. However, she is kind of tired of it being small and there's nothing new and you can't even drive in a circle around the place, you just drive up and down the same route all the time. True dat.

There was also a very shrieky bird named Daphne that lives at that center. She's very cute and adorable when having her head stroked, but most of the time it was like, what the heck's the matter?

Anyway, we ended up in Waimea around 1:30...I really wish I'd insisted in stopping off in Hanapepe to see the bookstore on the island, because it's way too far to go back there again. I figured there would be a lot to do in Waimea, but...there is not a whole lot to do while you kill time until 6:15 parade time. We ate at the shrimp place and went to one store and then just sat around saving a spot for the parade for hours. I was very thirsty, but had no effing idea where I'd find a toilet again between now and going home (Waimea is THAT small, bathrooms only for restaurant customers, that sort of thing), so I was trying not to drink. Even then I knew I'd be in trouble three hours later and then we'd have two hours of drive on top of that and god only knows if anything would still be open that late to go pee at.

As for the parade. Well. I do not mean to dog on it, but...for a 4 hour round trip and a six+ hour stay in a town that is not as ah, super interesting compared to some of the other places I have been hanging out at, it was probably not super worth it for that amount of time and effort. If you are staying a lot closer to the area in the future than I was today, sure, go. But if it's a long drive for you, maybe don't. It was cute, it's a small town parade. I really enjoyed the crazy lit up cars and trucks and floats and seeing Santa ride around on dolphins and the entire float made up of motorcycles. There were a few strange ones by churches with Jesus on them. Mormons were walking in the parade. Mom griped that "it could have been a parade anywhere, it could have been in Wyoming," and I was all, "Uh, I don't think so." Since when do you watch a parade in December where everyone has shorts on, for one thing. Or the announcer is frequently breaking out into pidgin? Or again, Santa has dolphins? Mom kept comparing it to the Fourth of July parade she saw in Juneau, Alaska, which I gather was not a thriller for her either.

The parade was maybe around 45 minutes long, but they barricade off the lone freeway (Kauai basically has like, the one main freeway route to get anywhere at all on the island short of going into the canyon or beaches off the beaten path. There are no shortcuts, no other options, just the lone, mostly 2 lane freeway all over) for hours, so after it's over, you still can't leave until maybe around 8:30--though they did get things rolling out of there by about 7:45 and moved up that timeline. I tried to make the best of it by sampling the free food and looking at lights, but Mom just wanted to leave already and could not. I wandered around looking for a bathroom. There was one in one supermarket....a one staller with a loooooooong line of other people in the same problem of "cannot pee anywhere else and have a long drive home." I'm amazed toilet paper was left by the time I got in there!

And then there was the very long drive home. On a one lane freeway. In the pitch black dark. Mom was being kind of fussy--"it's too stuffy in here," "it's too hot," "there's too much air," blah de blah for the first half hour of it, and then her stupid phone alarm started going off every five minutes and I could not figure out why. But around the last hour of the ride we had Trouble. The car started to steam up, and she yelled at me to put on the defroster. Let me reiterate here that neither of us knows jack about a Chevy Cruze and there was no instruction manual in the car, and Mom expects me to constantly take care of her and fix everything and goes ballistic when I fail. So there's like four buttons in there that might be the defroster and I'm turning on everything I possibly can, and it's not defrosting and she's screaming that she can't see and you can't pull over ANYWHERE (no room) and there's a car behind her so she can't slow up and.... yeah, I don't know how we just didn't die because this situation went on for probably at least a half hour or more in the pitch black dark and there weren't even rudimentary towns around to pull over at. She kept yelling at me to fix it, fix it, I have to fix it (or we 're all going to die), why can't you figure this out, FIX IT JENNIFER I CAN'T SEE AT ALL WHATSOEVER.... and I kept screaming back that I've done everything I can and pushed every button and she....Well. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm stupid, ok? Stop telling me I am not dumb when clearly, I am dumb and too dumb to figure out how to defrost a car. We ended up rolling down the windows entirely (pretty damn cold and windy) and that fixed it enough so we survived the drive home.

At this point, I really wish I had some liquor around here. At least Mom is hiding in the bedroom and I am in the living room getting some detox space.

Yes, I would love to do some kind of "Eat, Pray, Love, Hawaii" thing where I would live on each of the four big islands for like three months and see what it's like. But I am pretty sure that for the driving alone on Kauai, this is not the island I would want to live permanently on. It's a nice visit, but dear lord, the driving in the dark.

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