|The sign of a true geek, roasting coffee, iPhone in hand...|
Our Roastmaster guide for this experience is Jeff, with whom we talk about other UCC employees ("yeah, Seichi-san is great; and I started working here when June had her baby back in 2010"), living in Hawai'i ("it's actually a pretty good time to consider moving here right now, since there's a lot of available places"), and our mutual appreciation for a good medium roast on our coffee. After our coffee has been roasted and bagged and labeled with or custom labels, we hit the store and buy some more coffee, cookies, their always refreshing Kona coffee ice cream, and a major score -- "Coffee Pretz", basically coffee flavored biscuit sticks like Pocky but not actually Pocky but from the same people who do make Pocky so it's basically Pocky but not Pocky.
Pocky. I like saying that. Pocky on the Mamalahoa Highway.
Anyway, after we leave UCC, we cruise a bit north of Kailua and stop by the Discount Fabric Warehouse, to buy some fabric for shirts; unfortunately, I get a bit lost trying to find the place... by the time we eventually find it -- after we stop at a grocery store and buy some drinks and ask the person working the register which driveway we need to take (the first driveway on the road, as it turns out, and of course I tried driveways two through six already) -- we arrive ten minutes after they've closed for the day. Curses! Not only that, but it begins to rain moderately hard as we sit parked in our car.
We consider our options as to what to do next, and Lucie suggests the Kona International Market, just a few blocks away from our current location. It seems a little touristy, but technically we are tourists (repeat tourists and wannabe kama'aina, but tourists nonetheless) so we decide to give it a go. It's almost closing time -- they close half an hour later than the Discount Fabric Warehouse we just left -- and no other customers are still there because of the late hour and the rain, but we peruse through the stores that are still open and find a few things to buy for family and friends and ourselves before they announce that business hours are over.
We return to our room at the Royal Kona, make an appointment for a couples massage later that night (it'll be our first, and an extravagant impulse buy, but it is after all vacation and it's good to do things like that on vacation sometimes) and rest for a bit on the lanai looking at the ocean. The dolphins are gone for the day, but they'll be back; it's Hawai'i.
We head to the "Lotus Center" at our arranged time and meet our masseussesses, Chakra and Reiki (not their real names [I don't think so, anyway]) and we begin our massage. We avoided any of the metaphysical stuff they offer (I'm more than a little bit of a skeptic) like astrology or crystal biofeedback or PSYCH-K, whatever the heck that's supposed to be (the title for today's entry is from an actual quote from the web site describing PSYCH-K's benefits) but the basic massage is incredibly relaxing, and we spend the hour appreciatively limp and drooling, listening to the calming music playing in the background. My masseussess, Reiki (or is it Kinoki?) tells me afterward to make sure and drink lots of water because she had "activated the lymph noids and they need replenishing.". I nod politely, thank her for her consideration (misinformed and mispronounced though it may be), and Lucie and I walk back to the main building, a little unsteady on our feet still since we're so relaxed, but happy.
We have dinner at Don the Beachcomber's, our feet on the barrier wall, as we watch the waves crash against the rocks below. The surf is higher than usual, which makes for some spectacular splashes as we eat and drink and continue to relax. I have the "bleu Hawaiian burger" with bleu cheese, bacon, and grilled onions, a passion-guava daiquiri, a scorpion, a mango daiquiri, and a sweet potato haupia pie for dessert; Lucie has a turkey sandwich, a paradise found, a green flash, a mango daiquiri, and a chocolate molten lava cake for dessert.
Happy, relaxed, full, relaxed, and relaxed, we head back upstairs to our room for the night, relaxed.