My writing teacher said, “Students don’t understand verb tense until they take a foreign language.”
I say, “Maui residents don’t appreciate what they have until they go away.”
As soon as I landed in Los Angeles, I noticed the background music of the latest techno and hip hop was ill accompaniment to my post-redeye $10 breakfast at Burger King. Even at that hour, LAX was bustling with activity and noise that made me restless. With 90 minutes before my next flight, I happily settled into an end-of-row seat that had a cup-holder for my decaffeinated coffee. I was grateful for the free and fast wifi.Some say Boston’s Fourth of July is the best in the nation. It being my first, I looked forward to this festive day.
The famous “T,” the Boston public metro transportation, makes it easy for tourists to navigate the city like London, Paris, and New York, with one big difference. I’ve never felt more guilty as a reluctant eavesdropper. Somehow, taking the train in London, or anywhere in the Netherlands, always provided me with sufficient sound space to enjoy a comfortable ride. But on the “T” I heard every word of the passengers behind me, to the point that my conversation got jumpstarted by theirs.
Hunger pains lured me to detour to Chinatown’s famous dumpling inn, which scored another point on my list of “what I don’t get on Maui.” The best Chinese restaurant on Maui is still my mother’s kitchen. It’s not hard to explain why I prefer to eat Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese when I am off-island. There’s more choice. It’s cheaper. It’s more convenient (no need to drive lengthy distances). And it’s ultimately better.
By the time we joined the others on the Esplanade for the fireworks and Boston Pops Orchestra, we were squeezed into a long, narrow, and slow queue. The only way out was to keep moving ahead. [Though we were there, we couldn’t see the orchestra — luckily it’s available as video online.]
Population density is something that’s thankfully lacking on Maui. I forget what a luxury it is to hear only my own breathing and have no one touch me and vice versa.
And never have to queue or be stuck in a traffic jam (except in Paia and the road to Lahaina).
And not have to eavesdrop on other people’s conversation (unless they are too loud for comfort).
But then, I do relish the Boston Globe and the New York Times. That it takes two hours to read the Sunday paper reminds me of my Sundays in London — The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph. The Independent. Sometimes I’d grab the copies just after midnight in central London after a night out and spend the next morning or early afternoon lazing about, digesting every article.
I don’t think I’ve ever been that desperate to get the Sunday papers on Maui. There are too many distractions of outdoor activity and awesome Mother Nature — vivid blue skies and ocean — to tempt me.