Friday, May 16, 2014

Bed and Breakfast

The next day there was some discussion of what we were going to do and in the end, it seemed the best thing to do was to go to the beach and explore this ocean that we kept seeing. It turned out that both Code and Darque would have some free time that day and would be able to join us on the beach. We lazed about the house, eating cheese, drinking wine, talking, and entertaining (as we are want to do), until we finally got to a point in the afternoon where we could all get ourselves together to head toward the beach.

Every drive on this island was glorious and magical. Our hosts pointed out things and explained important points here and there on the trip.

“You see the tents on the beach?” asked Code.

“Yes.”

“They are not supposed to be there. They passed an ordinance so people would not be able to sleep on the beaches here.”

It took me a moment, and then again I had the realization that this was a state that didn't experience the brutal cold of the Chicago winter. Since we had been living in a state of perpetual freeze for close to nine years (okay, perhaps hyperbole) it was hard to imagine living in a place that was always this beautiful sunshine and warm. How it is always so damn warm here?

Wouldn’t I get sick of it if it was always like this?

Maybe.

“So to keep people from living on the beaches all the time they passed an ordinance.” This was a real problem. Homelessness is just as bad in Hawaii as any other state in the union. People lost jobs, their homes, everything but their cars. Entire families, roamed around in SUVs with no place to live. So the families would take to living out of the cars while working, trying to make enough to maybe afford a new house again. Working to keep the children fed, to get back a center line. And while this was all going on they lived on the beach. If you didn't mind living out of a tent you could have a rather permanent home on the beaches of Hawaii. Hence, the ordinance.”

The ordinance was basically worded so that you could not be on the beach after certain hours, unless you were fishing. (Because, of course, fishing is important and you can’t always fish during the day so fishing at night is acceptable.)

“So, a lot of people will pitch their tents and set up their fishing poles and then hunker down for the night. They might put a bell on the poll if they really want to catch something,” explained Code. Essentially, if you were homeless in Hawaii you probably owned a tent or bed roll, a fishing pole, and most likely a car; assuming you didn't just want to hitchhike here and there.

As we drove I saw it now, on the tiny little beach outlets, a few tent villages scattered here and there and poles dangling in the water, as if they meant to catch something: maybe, maybe not.

“It’s almost like a bed and breakfast. Go to sleep, wake up and eat fish,” I offered.

“Something like that.”

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