It was a relief to escape the big city where our days seemed to pass in a blur of trips to Walmart, Home Depot, and Costco, and bicycle rides to and from the library. I didn't even step on a bus until the week before our departure and that was only for a ride to the library after all the rain made riding a bicycle a damp proposition. After spending too much money on "stuff" we let xmas pass without even a hint of a tree, decorations, cards, wrapped presents, or holiday foods. Instead we ran our pedestrian errands amidst people carrying Victoria's Secret shopping bags (oddly enough these were predominantly women), and more people standing in long lines outside the mall Post Office carrying piles of Priority mail boxes. We didn't put a bow on it, but Ziggy got a 22 x 16 x 11 storage box as a new litter pan. He has taken to doing his wet business from only a half squat and we're hoping the high sides will keep it all in the box and not on the teak.
John made a round of doctors visits and lab tests for his annual physical, and we got a reminder of why we prefer to take care of these things in any other country but the U.S. We're used to paying cash for services and receiving copies of the results in turn. Here it was a challenge to get his own medical records given to him, and the bills have gone to insurance limbo. We're told that if the insurance company doesn't pay the full charges, we'll receive a bill "in a few months" which will end up at our mailing address in Oregon. It seems that by the time everyone gets paid, John will be due for another physical!
I enjoyed a two week visit with family in Portland at Thanksgiving time and had a great time getting to know the downtown area there. I was lucky to time my visit before all the bad weather and really enjoyed walking outside in the cold, but mostly dry winter days. Before departing Honolulu John and I took a walk along the Waikiki beach boardwalk, ate hot malasadas (a Portuguese donut) at Leonard's Bakery with Soggy Paws, and watched the xmas eve fireworks with Windy City.
Here in Lono Harbor we finally receive all the major networks, including PBS, which is more than we got in the Ala Wai. But there is no internet, and cell service is only possible from out on the beaches or breakwater - oddly enough, not from the boat, maybe because of the steep cliff backing the bay. A dirt road leads to a very sleepy village five miles away with a small post office and the Mauna Loa General Store which reminded us of the tiendas in Bahia de los Angeles (with all produce stored in a refrigerator). We were lucky enough to be invited to join a local man for the 30 mile drive to the main town in his truck. We spent the day with Chuck and his dog, Kula, with time at the library for internet, a walk-through of the small grocery store (which made me glad I stocked up at Foodland!), lunch at Molokai Burger, stops at hardware and auto parts stores, and a side trip to the Kalaupapa lookout (Father Damien's leper colony).
There are only about 6,000 people living on Molokai now and it seems even sleepier than when I visited in 1984. We've enjoyed slowing down for a few days and concentrating on things like cleaning the dinghy and Nakia's hull (in the murky water), and generally getting back into cruising mode again.