I was floating on my back in a natural pool under a 300-foot waterfall a few miles deep in the forest on the island of Kauai last week.
So that was pretty cool.
Today I’m back in Yakima, stuck with a cold I caught on the plane ride home. That’s significantly less cool. I knew I was in trouble when I heard one of the flight attendants, the one who gave us our complimentary little packets of macadamia nuts and dried pineapple pieces, say his cold was getting worse.
“Oh, yeah,” said the other attendant. “It sounds like it’s getting down into your chest now, not just your throat.” They had this conversation across the beverage cart from each other, right after they’d served our food and drink, and I immediately realized I was about to have a cold — one that starts in the throat and migrates down to the chest. Of course, I have no real proof that this guy gave it to me. It could have been anyone on that flight; airplanes are basically flying incubators of disease with overpriced fruit-and-cheese plates. Still, it’s pleasing to have someone at whom to direct my anger, irrational as it may be.
Also, as a side note, doesn’t it seem odd that they stick with the macadamia nuts and dried pineapple bits as the snack even on the return trip from Hawaii? On your way there you think, “Hmm. Well, I prefer the normal pretzels and peanuts, but this is a fun little touch.” And then the crew starts saying “mahalo” instead of “thank you,” and you think, “Ah, island life. It won’t be long now.” But on the way back, those macadamias and pineapple bits are a cruel joke, a reminder that vacation is over. And then you land at SeaTac and the pilot says, “Mahalo, for flying with us,” and you think, “Mahalo your own self, you stupid jerk. This is the mainland. You’re just taunting us, now.”
Anyway, aside from the cold I caught and the not-too-well-thought-out airline snack schedule, Hawaii was great — all beaches and snorkeling and tiki drinks. I climbed a mountain, ate shrimp tacos and perfected my recipe for rum punch (pour three kinds of rum in a glass, top off with juice and one or two more kinds of rum). It was everything I always imagined a tropical vacation would be — plus mountain climbing, hiking and snorkeling. (That’s a joke. Because of my very outdoorsy girlfriend, it’s gotten to the point where I actually like that stuff. I may need to rename this column.) Despite all of that, it’s good to be home. There’s just something about sleeping in your own bed, even if you’re sleeping in it all day and only waking up to cough or sneeze. Mahalo for that, you stupid flight attendant.
— The Indoorsman