An elevator traveling up the side of a nearby building reflects the rising sun, sending periodic flashes of rosy light into my hotel room. The low rumble of buses replaces the usual morning bird song.
But I’ve seen the big moon rise two nights in a row, sparkling down on dark water, and last night’s sunset at Ala Moana beach park was a extravaganza of orange and pink that faded to showcase Venus.
Yes, I’m here in the Big City, where I’ve been for the past couple of days, so I haven’t had time to blog. It's all go-go-go.
I don’t really mind spending a few days in Honolulu, although my eyes always feel gritty. It’s an opportunity to reflect on my own life and human existence, because so many people do live in urban areas.
Mostly I’m astounded by all the stores. It’s easy in a city to realize that consumer spending drives America’s economy. For me, though, it amounts to serious overload, a reminder of how easy it is to get caught up in that drive to have more.
Never much of a shopper, I ventured into Ala Moana Shopping Center yesterday and was quickly overwhelmed by “too much” – too many choices, too many people, too much noise, too much stimulation. Although briefly tempted by a pair of Cole Haan shoes, I rightly reasoned that I’d have little opportunity to wear them and justify such an expensive purchase.
I left without buying anything, partly because I didn’t really need anything and also because I was thinking of the small businesses that struggle to make it on Kauai. While a lot of people come to Honolulu solely to shop, I felt like I should try to spend my money at home. Those are the guys who are there day in and day out when we need them.
It also seems there’s a lot more ethnic diversity here, with folks speaking languages other than English, and restaurants that reflect that mix. I’ve enjoyed that, but not the overall crush of people. Where do folks go to get away from it all, be alone here?
I saw one woman living, pretty well camouflaged, in a cardboard box in an alleyway. Our eyes met and she nodded, aware that I’d spotted her, and I smiled back, while wondering how she managed her rough existence, or the old lady moving very slowly and deliberately down the sidewalk, dragging a couple of carts.
Those sorts of sights trouble me in a city, along with the way that pedestrians and motorists don’t even seem to notice, as if it’s just part of the urban landscape. But while I observed, I kept moving, too.