“How’s the bathroom?”
Ian shrugs, “The usual.”
I nod. Why the hell doesn’t Hawaii clean its public restrooms? It’s Paradise in every other way, but the bathrooms?
I rise from my shady view of the lovely sea, snorkelers dotting the surface, the clouds floating over the blue grey sky. I do need to use the restroom, but…..
Sighing, I venture over.
Poke my head in first, the dark, dank, sandy, cave of the public elimination situation.
It is unusable.
Now. I know I’m a bit squeamish, but hell, I did travel and live in China. I think I’m pretty tough when it comes to bathrooms, but….today?
I simply can’t.
I will spare my more squeamish readers the terrifying details.
Use your imagination.
Or not.

“I can’t use this bathroom,” I announce.
“That’s too bad,” Ian points to the sea, “it looks like there’s a lot going on out there. It’d be nice to swim here.”
We’re up past Sunset Beach, at Pupukea beach, in Oahu's North Shore area. The sea is calm in the summer and I long to dive in; however, my wretched bladder calls and sure I could go in the sea but….
No I can’t.

So back in the car heading down Kamehameha highway to Kaneohe again.
We spy the sweet beaches along the way, jammed with dome tents and families and barbeques and suspect bathrooms.
Where oh where will we find a bathroom for me?
Then I spot it.
Atop a grassy hillside amidst a grove of graceful palms.
“What about that one?” I exclaim.
“You think that one will work?” Ian asks.
“I think so.” At this point it has to as Ian does a cab driver U turn and we head back to the parking lot. Leaping out of the car, I head up the little hill and into the cement block housing the bathroom.
No one there. No grossiosity.
I am relieved!

Okay, okay, I know this preamble is a bit much but it’s a big part of my travel experience—finding suitable bathrooms. So when I do, well…it’s such a beautiful thing.
And to top it off—the beach here…..
It is astonishing.
Sandy white slopes of shade under swaying palms. Not too crowded, but with the usual families boogie boarding. Mostly locals which is a good thing.
"WARNING. NO LIFEGUARD. SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK" the signanage announces.
Perfect, I think.
“It looks a bit rough,” Ian remarks.
“Nah, it’s okay,” I grin, “let’s stay here and swim!”
And we do.

I don my bright pink suit and then cover up head to toe in my anti-sun suit.
Then wasting no time, I dive in.
Oh how delicious! The water is a balmy 80 plus degrees. The waves are small and fun. I body surf the first one.
Racing down the side of the little wave, I’m exhilarated. I forgot how much I love to swim in the ocean. It’s just the best.
And to top it off.
The sky.
There’s a shower approaching. I can see it in the distance as I bob up and down over the waves.
And is that a rainbow?

Only in Paradise would you have the combination of the perfect water temperature, wave action and a rainbow on the horizon.
Will it come my way?
I dive under another wave. It’s too wonderful to be in this water with a rainbow on the way.
And when it arrives?
Of course, it’s not a rainbow anymore, but a delightful shower of warm raindrops falling on my head, my face, my back.
Ian jumps in now and we crack up together.
This is the best! The rain comes down harder in sharp little pellets. I laugh like I haven’t since the last time I swam in the rain in Hawaii. I think of my student who has the picture of the delirious swimmer in the rain floating in the sea of Chile. “I’ll think of you, Alyssa, when I swim in the rain in Hawaii,” I told her the last time we spoke.
She’d laughed, “That’d be so awesome!”

And I did think of her, working so hard on her writing, creating a book that she will be proud of. I know it. But still so frustrated and defeated when last I spoke with her.
Yet when I’d mentioned my trip to paradise and how I’d think of her when swimming in the sea rain, she’d brightened immediately.
The Sea Rain has the power to transform.

In the moment and in the distance and in the imagination.

And thanks to the bathroom gods who guided me to this enchanting beach below the north shore of Oahu….


Ruth Jameson said…
What a lovely story...especially about your student and that you brightened her day...that's what it's all about. Loved the kitty pictures and yes clouds do take you into a place like no other images can...they drift, merge, come together, come apart, somehow just like people only you don't have to worry about it...
Cj said…
Thanks for the nice comment, RJ! The student part of the story was integral to the experience. I really did think of her at that rainbow rainswim moment! And the clouds here. Well, you've been here so you know how beautiful they are. Elephants elephants everywhere! Thanks for reading!

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