Friday, October 14, 2005

A gay, old time in Kauai

I was in Kauai last week for a cousin's wedding. With the exception of threatening rain, it was picture perfect. The sun coming out between the clouds as the happy couple followed the instructions of a Hawaiian minister. The bride was stunning with her hair done up in orchids, her dress, form fitting and flowing down at the ankles. He was in a traditional, Filipino barong and sandals. The Poipu surf striking up against the black, lava-rock reef sending sea water bursting behind the wedding party. Just after the man-and-wife kisses, we retreated for snowcones of blue and gold, Mai Tai and Mango and the secret splash of cream.

In a private house down the road overlooking the beach, the reception setup was all under tents. Hand-made sushi, oysters, hot pupus (appetizers) and an open bar. I've been such a lush while in Honolulu that I decide to spare my family my personal displays, but we all watch the groom and his best men get tanked and chummy. The band had an Island Reagge beat that only sped up for Stevie Wonder's "Superstition."

We did the electric slide to a country song.

The children spun on their backs in the grass that was our dance floor.

Then at 11 p.m., our family went home. The 10 cases of beer and other leftover booze went back with the 20-somethings to the Sheraton and I'm certain more drinking.

For me and my immediate family (with a 10- and a 7-year-old, a toddler and an infant in tow), the next day was spent at the Fern Grotto and a drive out to the beach at Hanalei. That's where they filmed the movie South Pacific. Yes, we were in Bali Hai.

The next day, the family flew back to Honolulu at noon and gave me an extra airline ticket that would leave at 9 p.m. that night. Like the accidental tourist I am, I drove out, saw a gigantic Kauai waterfall and plowed forward up miles of mountain to the Waimea Canyon lookout. Gorgeous. Carved and plummeting. With white birds aloft in the crevaces of mud red, rock and green.

I drove back down to the beach at Waimea and splashed and sunned some more. Then I made it back to Lehui where the airport was to hold up and look for something gay to do. I got on the internet at a book store and got a phone number. Apparently there are no gay bars in Kauai. The gay men there just have gatherings. So I called this guy Jason who was having that weekend's gathering. He was having a bonfire out by where I had just came from, which was a considerable drive back where I came from. But he was very hospitable and lured me out there.

The party was at his mom's house right on the beach. Not a grand place, and tight for the six children and two adults who were there when he grew up. But the lawn opened up to the beach and the island of Niihau in the distance. About six people eventually came, but that sunset was stunning. The orange ball going back behind Niihau made you realize why people who grow up here never leave.

But as I sat there chatting with these guys, many of them either old or content, I knew all this beauty was not yet for me. I had to fly back to Honolulu and then to the urban, city ways of Chi-town and commence with burning the ball of energy still inside me.

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