At any rate, I had them at Hanauma Bay yesterday and didn’t have them this morning when we got ready to go to the North Shore. The Hilton Hawaiian Village is part beach resort, part shopping mall, so it was easy to stop into one of the shops, so I could pick up some new sunglasses.
I quickly realized my mistake when David pointed to a pair in a glass cabinet saying they’d look pretty on me and I spotted the discreet Gucci sign next to them. The Japanese saleswoman, though, coached me through a purchase. She quickly determined only two brands would do for me, since I like polarized lenses. It wasn’t an easy sell – I don’t like dark lenses and David doesn’t give the thumbs up to anything too big. We finally found a pair of Oakleys that we both thought I looked good in. They were more than I wanted to spend. She knocked the price down and assured me, “Oakley sunglasses – many dream to have.”
I bought them as much to give her the sale for working so hard as to shield my eyes from the Hawaiian sun.
Not because they were something I dreamed to have.
It’s inescapable, the presence of the Japanese tourists here. The princesses in their designer clothes and stilettos, mincing with determined entitlement, escorted by consciously cool young men. The family groups – several generations traveling in their own pack. Their close-packed competitive culture leads them to push to the front, to block the way, to dive into the elevator before people have managed to come out. They follow a list of their own: some tourist destinations are packed with Japanese, others conspicuously void of them.
Hanauma Bay, for instance, is on their list of must-do’s. We spent the afternoon at the beach park, recommended as one of the 25 best snorkeling spots in the world. I snorkeled three times during the day. Still not as good as the Caribbean, to my mind. David swam in the sparkling waters. Otherwise we laid like slugs, watching the palm fronds wave overhead.
And watching the young Japanese couples arrive, pose on the beach for photos, trading the camera back and forth. The girl wears a floppy sunhat, glances over her shoulder and frames her face with elegant fingers. The boy waves a surfing hand gesture. They leave again, having checked off another point on their dream to have list.
Others do it, too. A Russian family – or some sort of Soviets, judging by the language – arrived, donned their snorkel gear, swam for fifteen minutes and left again.
As we left, I overheard a ranger telling a guest about a woman who saw a sea turtle while snorkeling. “She said it was the most beautiful experience of her life,” he assured the visitor.
At Waimea Bay today, it was all about the long term visitors. The water is crystal and aquamarine, gently lapping over soft white sand. People spent the afternoon, playing. Hanging.
I saw a group of teens playing a game while I snorkeled by. They would dive down to the white sand bottom – ten/twelve feet deep – pick up a bowling-ball sized rock and walk along the bottom with it as long as they could. I don’t know what the contest was based on. Strength, certainly. Holding their breath, too. And all below the water, where only they could see.
The dream to have isn’t about having, I don’t think. It’s about the image in the camera. About the image you want to present. If I have this, if I look like that, if I can say I’ve been to this place and done that thing, then I’ve accomplished something. Maybe become someone special.
Someone who has had the most beautiful experience of her life.
Dream to have.