IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT THIS BLOG:
Since Lauren, whom I’m traveling with, also blogs, we thought it would be wildly exciting to have a dual blog about the same event written from both of our perspectives— one with her “voice” and one with mine. It’ll be like listening to two different eyewitness accounts, and this entry will be our first experiment. Mine’s on the top, hers is on the bottom. [Don’t tell me columns would’ve worked better or I will shoot you in the eye]*
*There may have been an incident.
If it goes well, we’ll continue. If it’s a Frankenstein’s monster sort of turnout, we’ll go back to normal.
We have arrived in Scotland. For those who know me or have read my blog before, you know I have a bit of a “thing” for Scotland. If you’re new to my blog, well, first of all WELCOME! And second of all, I love Scotland.**
**”Hi, I’m the doctor who’ll be delivering your babies, and I love Fonzi.”
I love other things, too, like food and warm weather, but Scottish accents, Scottish scenery, Scottish people, and the conception of Gerard Butler are my favorite things about Scotland and why I want to live there someday and/or marry a Scot.
So, Lauren and I have talked about visiting this country for six years. You’ve seen our faces. But I’d like to describe my adventures with Lauren as an illustration of the types of shenanigans we get into when we travel, and to give Scotland a bit of a head’s up.The best example of what happens when the Luck of Lauren and Jenny combines is the story of the hike on Lanai.***
***it’s been long enough that Four Seasons might have forgiven us and/or have forgotten about it.
“It’s a great little hike” –my father’s parting words
Lauren and I were in Hawaii with my family the summer before I started graduate school. We were visiting Lanai, a small island off of Maui where there are fabulous five-star resorts, large waves, and a small, unassuming death hike.
My parents were the ones who encouraged us to go. They went while the sun was shining and we were tanning ourselves and drinking essence of pineapple water. We thought it would be a straightforward hike along the coast with great views, something we could do for a little exercise that we hadn’t done before. I don’t remember if my parents had taken their camera when they went, and perhaps that was our mission: go forth and take pictures! My mom had returned with a battle wound, a cut on her calf, but otherwise they were unharmed. It seemed easy enough, no steep inclines or lava tubes. The only catch was exiting the trail.
“You have to take a right after such-and-such landmark, and that will take you to the 18th hole on the Manele Bay’s golf course. You’ll see the golf cart path; just follow that back to the lodge where you can catch a shuttle to the hotel.”
“Take a right after such-and-such? That’s it? It’ll be easy to spot?”
[extra guidance and assurances, all forgotten]
So, we embarked.
The trail entrance was near the beach, and it followed the coastline. It was pretty. We took photos. We felt good. We were happy.
But then the hike took a turn for the worst. I don’t remember the order of things, but I know that Lauren’s “cankle” started bleeding, I walked into a spiked branch and cut my leg in the same place as my mother’s battle wound, and at the exact center of the trail, we realized it was going to rain.
Granted, it’s Hawaii, and short of tropical storms and hurricanes, rain is not that big of a deal. It was unlikely we’d catch hypothermia or drown in a tidal wave. But it was enough to impair our vision, cause slipping, and get us covered in mud.
The rain cleared by the time we reached what we thought was the end of the trail. My dad had said the trail would take us to the last hole of the golf course, but the landmarks he gave us didn’t make sense, so we started moving inland, through bushes and shrubs and more mud until we found ourselves on top of the putting green. Eureka!
It turns out we were not at hole 18, we were at hole 17, and after we crossed the green, we turned around to see this:
We’d created muddy footprints across the immaculately-kept green on the most scenic hole of this five-star resort’s golf course. It was like invasion of the mud people.
We retraced our steps, walking backwards, until we were along the periphery again and up against the shrubs. It was definitely not what my dad had described, and I kept fearing the next group of golfers were about to show up and stare baffled at the desecration of the 17th hole. Who would clean that? It’s the kind of place where some poor guy with tiny scissors measuring the length of each blade of grass would be called over walkie talkie with a code red. “Yes, we need to you move to hole 17 immediately. It looks as though two swamp creatures have been on the green and disappeared into the hole. FIX THIS MESS!”
Of course, by the time we arrived, we were covered in mud, dried blood, and weeds, with grass coming out of our hair and stuck to our limbs, and the hotel staff wanted nothing to do with us.
We waited for fifteen minutes before someone acknowledged us and issued us a shuttle to take us back to the main hotel as though we were vagabonds. Which, I suppose, we were.
We’re thinking of renting bikes in Scotland, so, my Scottish beloveds: beware.
Bloody Cankles and Muddy Hikes
Jenny and I have been friends for at least a thousand years. We became fast friends in elementary school when we were both placed on the same softball team and spent ample amounts of time swinging likes apes from one end of the dugout to the other instead of actually paying attention to the game.
Part of the reason we have been friends for so long stems from our similar passions- passions for foreign accents (mostly Scottish, Irish, British), for food (all of it), and for writing. Her blog is remarkably funny and deserves an obscene amount of recognition.
She is currently visiting me in Germany and we are finally following through with a plan we made 5 summers ago:
To go to Scotland (and find Jenny a husband) (since i already have one) (otherwise it would have been a goal for both of us).
We also are cowriting blogs during our travels together, where we each tell the same story in our own way and publish them together. Should be great “craic” as the Irish say!
First, before we can write about Scotland, we need to visit the period of our lives where the Scotland dream came to fruition. Mostly so you can see the types of shenanigans that ensue when she and I spend time together. It’s like each of our clouds of bad luck combine to create the perfect crap storm. Let me take you, dear readers, back in time to the summer of 2009.
Jenny’s family has a timeshare in Maui and get to spend 6 weeks of every summer there. I was fortunate enough to join them a few times. This was one of those times. The plan (because I only had a week off from work) was to spend a few days in Maui and a few days on the island of Lanai at the Four Seasons Resort out there. (Ladies and gents, you do not know luxury unless you’ve been fire-hose-sprayed by the Swedish showers at the Four Seasons in Lanai.)
We spent a lot of time doing this:
It’s a grand place. We spent plenty of time on the beach, but Jenny and I also enjoy hiking, and we did quite a bit of that as well.
One hike in particular needs to be mentioned, and it was a hike we took one afternoon at the Four Seasons. Jenny’s dad (hereinafter referred to as “The Judge”) had told us of a nice hike to take around the golf course. “Turn right at —- and it brings you right to the 18th green,” quothe The Judge. As far as I remember, these were the basic instructions we received.
(The —- is because I’ve forgotten where we were supposed to turn)
Shenanigans then ensued.
I was already “injured” going into the hike. I started the Maui trip off with an instant heat rash on my arms, which made it impossibly uncomfortable to get into the ocean. It had started to go away by the time we got to Lanai, but the first day on the beach in Lanai, I managed to injure my knee through stationary biking and also rearranging my beach chair, so I was gimpy at the start of this trek. Not long into the hike, my heels started blistering from the shoes I was wearing, and not long after that it started bleeding, and then the weather changed and it started raining. We’re talking torrential downpour. Thankfully we were in Hawaii and not Antarctica, otherwise it would have been really uncomfortable.
With dampened clothes and un-dampened spirits, the hike continued on. Jenny ended up receiving a lashing from a shrubbery, resulting in a scratch on her leg in the exact same spot as one her mother had received on the same hike the day before. (We assumed it was also from the same bush.)
The rain finally stopped a bit, and by this time we were more than severely lost, not having any idea where we were supposed to have turned, as there were no signs indicating “this way to the 18th green!” So after much walking, raining, and with my cankle bleeding through my socks, we ended up directly on the 18th green instead of near it.
Here’s the great part. We were covered in mud, and we were forced to walk upon the green in order to get back to the lodge where we could shuttle back to the hotel.
Okay so there was a path and we weren’t exactly forced to track mud on the green, we did it on purpose, and it was really amazing. See for yourselves.
When we felt like we had sufficiently soiled the golf course, we decided to take our soaking wet bodies back to the hotel, so we tried to find the lodge– which proved to be a challenge. For some reason I remember us walking through what looked like neighborhoods while trying to locate the clubhouse/lodge, although my I could be imagining this detail. The point is, we were having a hard time finding it.
Eventually we did, though. And the amazing thing is we stumbled into this fancy golf clubhouse completely soaked and tracking mud while people who were snobbishly dressed looked at us disapprovingly. We are shameless, brazen, and completely inappropriate, and there’s no way I would change any bit of it.
It was during a summer full of antics like this (and others… we did try to kidnap a child, but that’s another story) that we decided Scottish men are funny and beautiful and that we should have a Scotland adventure.
And here we are… 5 years later, making it happen.
[This blog is dedicated to my father, the Judge. In case he never saw the pictures.]