Friday, October 06, 2006

From the Bay to the beach

Funny thing about postcards and snowglobes -- they always look so perfect, so ideal, so wonderful to live in. What would we give to escape into that world where everything is crystallized in a dream-like state of perfection?
When I left for Hawaii from the Bay Area, I wondered what it would be like to step out of the Starbucks-and-Kinko's induced frenzy of San Francisco, and into the quintessential postcard of Oahu. Swaying trees. Soft, beige-blanketed beaches. Sparkling crystal-blue-green oceans.
A girl could do worse.
It's been a month now, and I seem to have acclimated to the weather. The air conditioner in my office is no longer set at the lowest temperature and the highest speed. In fact, I don't even turn it on anymore.
Road rage? What's that? Drivers here actually stop to let you merge. Then they actually wave at you once you're in front of them.
I was warned I'd be treated differently because I wasn't local. But aside from my California license plates, everything about me screams local -- brown-skinned, Filipina. That's good enough for them.
This isn't just a postcard...this is Fantasy Freakin' Island.
I find it difficult getting out of bed every morning, when the very first thing I see outside my bedroom window is the beach and the gorgeous green mountains lining the ocean. I want to curl up and pretend that I'm on a luxurious Hawaiian vacation.
But no, I'm here to work -- and there's plenty to work on.
Poverty, crime, homelessness, traffic -- they're here, just like the rest of the world. And in some places, where deteriorated houses and apartment structures appear ready to collapse at any moment, you wonder how this could possibly be America.
Locals will tell you that they can't afford to live here anymore. Mainlanders are buying up land and building million-dollar homes that sit empty until summer comes along. Meanwhile, those who have lived here all their lives have no where to live.
Funny thing about postcards and snowglobes -- you never know what's really going on inside.

I'll be back in the Bay Area to promote my newely released book beginning Oct. 20. Check this blog tomorrow for a complete list of dates, locations, and times!!


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