13 May 2007
A crabby check-in from paradise
We're on Kaua'i again, in the spot we've been coming back to for more than ten years. It's right on the beach, in one of the most glorious locations on the island. We can see both sunrise and sunset and, over the years, we and our friends have developed appropriate rituals for greeting both.
After all this time we feel as if we own the place, which I realize has everything to do with my pissy attitude at the moment. What used to be a cluster of funky cottages is, under new ownership, in the process of upscaling. Our unit now has marble floors, dark brown West Elm-type furniture that would be at home in a trendy loft in the Pearl or Soho, a Viking range, a two-person soaking tub, and a Euro-style shower with multiple adjustable jets. Our friends Rita and David have a bidet, for god's sake, in theirs. There are sconces and uplights, giant pillar candles and tea lights everywhere you look. The soap, locally made and charmingly wrapped, spa-style, has chunks of stuff in it; I honestly couldn't tell, during my post-snorkle shower this morning, whether I was washing the sand off or rubbing more on.
Plus, we have art: in the living room, a tall urn holding three thick bamboo stalks and a basket of carved wooden balls that suggests a giant Polynesian game of cricket. Or maybe croquet. Or golf. Also a pair of Giacometti-esque figures -- I've dubbed them Anorexic Barbie and Ken -- that are just so evocative of island culture. And, in the kitchen, for some reason, a set of spears.
What we do not have, anywhere on the premises, is a single goddamn drawer for clothing. Everything resembling a bureau or dresser has been stripped from the cottages. We're here for two weeks, paying luxury hotel-room rates, and have no place to store our underwear.
I finally resorted (no pun intended) to taking the bath towels out of their chic little baskets, stashing them under the bedside tables, and using the baskets to hold our clothes. It's not an ideal solution, but it's better than piling shirts and shorts and whatnot on the closet floor.
Speaking of closets, in the course of remodeling, the handy "beach stuff" cupboards were eliminated; there's no longer a spot to store damp, sandy gear. But we do have a Viking range. And some bats and balls to amuse any giant Polynesians who might show up.
Okay, I'm aware that far worse problems exist in the world; I'm just venting. The lack of storage space won't ruin our vacation. We do, after all, have wi-fi.
And the people who bought this place are doing their best; they've improved the grounds tremendously and obviously poured a lot of money into the upgrade, inside and out. They have an absolute right to refashion what we thought was already paradise according to their own vision. But it's clear that our expectations don't mesh with theirs. It's sad to have to admit that, after all these years of what seemed like a perfect relationship with our little patch of tropical paradise, we've grown apart. Aloha.