Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hiking, missing boats and sick tourists

As part of the staff training, I recently went over to the island of Kauai on a leadership adventure trip. It was the most challenging, but also amazing hike of my life. We had to do a 11 mile hike along the rugged Napali coastline, carrying supplies on our back enough for 5 days. I mean we were carrying bare necessities. Now I'm exaggerating when I say this but there were several parts along the hike where if you slip you're either dead or very very bruised. It was an amazing trip in that people pushed themselves further than they thought they could go.

Taylor, one of my very good friends in the team nearly died a few years ago when he fell off a 30 foot cliff and took him over 2 years to rehabilitate in which time he got fully addicted to the painkillers and had to go through rehab for drugs too. Now here we were just about to embark on this hike almost 3 years exactly to the date, which as you can imagine was a little bit spooky, especially cause his knee was still pretty dodgy. Anyway we set off along the trail and got to one sketchy part when his right foot fell off the side of the path/cliff but he just regathered himself. I was amazed to see him get back up and keep going. After camping a couple of days in the Kalalau Valley, the plan was to get a boat ride out of the valley by our friend rather than hike back. By the time the final day came we were waiting on the beach praying and hoping that the boat would come. Taylor was probably praying the hardest cause his knee was know very inflamed from the hike over. I wasn't going to vocalise what I was thinking, but I was like, “that boat better come because there is no way Taylor's gonna be able to hike back on that knee”. One hour went by, two hours went by. By the time it got to 10'oclock we came to the conclusion that something must have happened, Larry and his boat aint coming, and we started preparations to hike out cause we needed to get to the other end of the trail before night fall. We were probably a little too confident of maybe hopeful that the boat was coming cause most of us had eaten all our food and had nothing left for the hike back. As we gathered our bags together we saw another boat coming nearer on the horizon. There'd been boats coming all morning but we thought just we'll wait and see, one last boat, this could be it. As the boat drew near the anticipation was killing us, I couldn't wait any more and started swimming out to the boat thinking that even if its not Larry maybe I could schmooze them boyish charm and convince them to take us. But it was Larry. I've never been so happy to see a man in my life. I'm not sure I've ever had a happier moment. Looking back on the shore, one of the girls was some overcome by emotion that she feel to the ground crying. Two and a half hours late, but we were saved. YEWL!

When we all finally swum our bags out to the boat we were greeted by about 10 extremely sick tourists who had paid a bucket load of money for this catamaran tour. We tried to contain our excitement and cheering which probably didn't help the situation. It got even better when we got to eat all their food cause the tourists were so sick. If I learned one thing from this trip, its that we can push ourselves way further than we originally think if we are forced to.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cougar Bait

I recently tried my hand at a life long dream of mine to street perform on the sidewalk of a busy city with a good friend of mine. Me and Zack set out with the highest of ambitions as we made our journey across the streets of Honolulu to find the most bustling corner of the city. Honestly I don't know what Zack was thinking but I was honestly thinking we'd make at least $100 possibly $200. I'm mean the whole way there we were locating restaurants we were gonna eat at afterwards. Zack was even left his wallet at home having faith that we'd make at least enough money to catch the bus home. Maybe I should've too. After a long walk we finally set up in front of the duke statue in Waikiki with literally hundreds probably thousands of people walking by. After a few songs a couple of attractive young ladies approached us half way through a song. Our first fans! As they came closer they casually continued to walk straight past us and cuttingly remarked that we needed to “start playing already”. I'm not gonna lie that was a kick to the balls. After that I continued to play, maybe more out of spite than anything. We changed our strategy a little and pulled out the slide guitar which made a solid dollar or two, one of which started blowing away down the street. I still kept playing as I watched Zack chased a dollar bill down the street. After about an hour we'd made about three dollars and 5 cents, but then a homeless lady came up midway through a song and asked us if we had a dollar to spare. What could we do, but tell the lady to take her pick out of the two dollar bills that lay in my case. This is not a complaint, like we were both extremely happy to help that old lady, but seriously who comes up to a street performer and asks them for money. Finally we took our $2.05 and made our way to the bus stop. Determined not to let the night discourage me I pulled out my guitar as we waited for the bus to come. Within a few seconds there were a couple of peeps who were quite impressed with out music and came over to listen. One happy middle aged lady came over and repositioned herself right next to Zack. When we'd finished the song all she did was smile and kept repeating that we were “cougar bait”. She then went on to ask us if we knew what cougar bait meant and started stroking Zack's hair while pulling out a beer coloured beverage disguised in a mineral water bottle. After a small amount of dialogue we switched instruments and Zack started busting out an impromptu worship slash prayer song for the people at the bus stop. If nothing else that night, we at least got to give a dollar to a homeless lady and pray for a promiscuous mid-aged alcoholic.