Taking a much needed break from yardwork, broken water pipes, and annoyance in general, warranted a trip down the mountain to town to see anything but more dirt! We made the decision to brave the mobs and attend the Kailua-Kona Independence Day parade by parking the perfunctory 2000 miles away and trekking in like normal locals do. Of course, we had alternately been invited to a party, a bbq cookout, and pupus and cocktails safely tucked away on a nearby lanai – all great invitations which we forfeited for the sake of doing something absolutely atypical, in our mad frustration of dealing with the day’s lack of progress.
In order to beat the posse of revelers, four of us headed to the Fishhopper Restaurant (fka our beloved “Ocean View Inn” with the stellar ox tail soup) and grab a streetside table next to the open windows so we could sip maitais and zombies – yes we were going to splurge and make like touristas as we made the decision to relax with abandonment – while viewing the parade unobstructed. When we arrived at the restaurant, all oceanside tables were occupied by tourists!! and we were relegated to a booth in the back of the room. The host informed us that a front view table would cost $50 an hour (or was it $50 minimum order per person?? – I only heard the $50) because most people would order one drink and sit for the duration of the parade. Now how would he know that we were going to do that?? As a matter of fact, the four of us were ravenous and thirsty and would’ve probably spent upwards of $200 after I reviewed their menu. Since we had no other choice at the moment, we stuck to our booth, ordered a round of exotics, and waited for the procession of marchers, veterans, assorted funky automobiles, an Elvis impersonator with an embarrassed looking baton twirler, canoe club, the perfunctory Ms. Kona Coffee, big-wig politicians (whaaat??? Inouye, Ambercrombie and Mufi all in Kona for our small town parade?)… it was fun – and there was even a helicopter on the back of a truck with a vocalist (hey, I know her – she sings at Huggo’s).
We were getting pretty inebriated with the exotic drinks and manini pupus at the Fishhopper, so we planned to eat dinner somewhere else – after our rude introduction by the uncongenial host. We stopped at Kona Inn bar to watch the oceanfront fireworks display – a big treat for small town Kailua-Kona – and continued trekking to Huggo’s. Unfortunately, the kitchen had just closed (or so we were told) and we were left sitting in the bar like four starving animals. I had stopped the liquor flow at the time of Fishhopper departure, but the guys kept at it. Even though the kitchen was supposedly closed at Huggo’s, we all watched as a patron at the bar was served sizzling shrimp, reaking of heavenly garlic – accompanied by a platter of garlic bread. To make matters worse, Steve tried to buy a drink for another man seated at the bar, however we watched with mixed horror and amusement as the bartender offered it to the guy with the savory feast. Steve jumped up immediately and tried to get the error corrected, but too late – porky took a sip!
The evening wasn’t a total bust – we really did enjoy the parade, the participants, and the fireworks. It was wonderful to see the interest and participation by the residents, who apparently came out of the hills, nooks and crannies to have some fun in Kailua town.
Back to the farm – waterline repaired two days later. I now appreciate the simple act of turning on a faucet to get a nice flow of hot water for a shower; or the importance of light switches. But living in Kona is similar to camping out sometimes – or perhaps I should say mentally camping out. And it just takes a parade to show me how fortunate I really am!