Most people in my generation know the reference. The movie with Eddie Murphy & Dan Aykroyd. One starts out as a bum and the other as a wealthy stock broker and, through a strange bet they’re unaware of, they each get a taste of what it’s like to live the other’s life. Well, my experience is not quite so drastic, but equally cinematic and sometimes equally humorous.
Back in September, right around the time Raquel and I were planning our Brazil trip, she got a call from her old dance teacher in Maui. Raquel had visited her house in Makawao before and they needed someone to look after the house and their dogs this Holiday season. It was also right about the time that I was planning my exit from the work-a-day world and there was no way in hell I was going to let an opportunity like this slip by. I told Raquel to just say ‘Yes’. We’d work out the details later.
Several months later, here we are. Feeling like we’re living their life on the Valley Isle. Driving their car. Sleeping in their house. Taking their dogs to the beach to swim, fetch, and occasionally vomit in the car on the way home, from drinking too much seawater. All of it. (Well, minus the two kids and jobs and house-related financial responsibilities) And it’s quite the life. As I sit here writing this on their patio I can see the mighty Haleakala (dormant) volcano in the distance. We were just at the top yesterday watching the sunrise. To my right I can see the mountains of West Maui and a little further there’s a tiny peak of ocean on the North shore. The sounds of roosters crowing and birds singing fill my ears, along with the normal suburban sounds of a few cars going by on the road and neighbors doing their neighborly things. It’s a seriously calming place. We eat breakfast and usually dinner out here, too.
It’s ridiculously beautiful here. Just. Ridiculous. A million greens of flora. A million blues of ocean and sky. That deep, rusty, beautiful Hawaiian red dirt. Big, white, puffy clouds and sprinklings of vivid tropical colors in the flowers and leaves that pop up here and there. Everything so vivid it feels like someone increased the contrast in Photoshop before it reached my eyes. Oh, and did I mention the rainbows? Nearly every day we see one. Over the ocean, or over the sugar cane fields. We even saw a crazy (non-multicolored) bow of light from the top of the volcano as the sun rose. So much light and life in every direction it can feel overwhelming at times.
We’ve been here about a week so far and I think we’re doing a damn fine job soaking it all in. We’re in the ocean every single day. We’re snorkeling and swimming and hiking and exploring. We’re headed to Molokini for a snorkel trip on Christmas Day. If the swell gets as big as they’re predicting, we’re going to watch one of the world’s most fearsome waves, Jaws, go off in a few days. And lucky for me, that same swell should light up a few other, much more manageable waves that I’ll be trying this weekend!
Honestly, it’s going to be damn hard to leave this place.