Friday, September 23, 2016

Charon's Hawaiian Adventure, September 2016: Wet, Rainy Cats

On my first morning in Lahaina, I woke up bright and early (3:00am) (awakened by feral chickens) (then I fell back asleep until 5:00) and had some portuguese sausage and guava bread and coffee before heading to the harbor, and Lana’i, and the cat sanctuary. I had planned to eat lunch on Lana’i after the cat sanctuary (see prior post) but I was rain dampened and covered with adorable little muddy pawprints, and I wanted a shower.

I also felt a little bit uneasy on Larry Ellison’s private island. I’d witnessed an exchange at the harbor where a man trying to get impromptu, spur of the moment tickets was questioned just a little, and told that Lana’i really prefers it when people book in advance. Probably so they can Google you and find out if you’re scary. I’m apparently harmless enough to be allowed admittance, but I can’t rent cars there – you have to carry your own personal auto policy, and I’m an urbanite that doesn’t own a car. I can rent them on all the other islands, where there are big corporate car rental places, but Lana’i only has a couple small places renting Jeeps and Hummers. They don’t even have a lot of roads, although they have a traffic light. 

Lana’i City looks like a nice place, anyway, with neat little houses and a funky downtown hotel that contrasts with the swank Four Seasons near the beach.  (Funky in this context means charming old-fashioned architecture; it does not mean messy, dirty or grungy -- everything on Lana’i (that I saw) is nice and clean albeit occasionally stained with rich red dirt.)

I was fascinated by Munro’s rows of trees, and by the thunderstorm. Our driver, Pierce, said there hadn’t been a thunderstorm like this during his lifetime.  Excessive amounts of rain, yup. It spattered me while waiting for the boat. I realized I was starving when I got back to Maui and I devoured a cheeseburger at the Pioneer Inn while carrying on a bizarre conversation with their resident parrot Alex, who likes to say “you’re drunk” in a very judgmental voice. It was a delicious cheeseburger. And I was blissed from the cats. Still am, in fact.

Seriously blissed from the cats. Snuggling with one cat is marvelous. Meeting a flock of cats is incredible. Time stood still while I was stroking this cat, playing with that cat, supporting a sleepy cat with the palm of my hand while it napped on my leg. Cats are a special kind of goodness. Dogs are good too, and I have a big place in my heart for rabbits. I’m your basic animal loving softy.

Cats, though. They domesticated themselves. They chose to live with us, it was their decision. Dogs and cows and horses and sheep and pigs were wild animals we kidnapped, gradually breeding the most tractable ones over generations, but cats noticed we had food and just moved in. They meet us on their own terms. Time spent with a cat is purely therapeutic, for the human and probably also for the cat.

I was cat-happy and full of cheeseburger, the rain had stopped. I went for a brief dip in the hotel pool before my sleeplessness caught up with me and I collapsed, so I didn’t hear anything more about the flooding until the next day.

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