Salt in the air, and laughter in my lungs; sand between my toes, and wind in my hair: I really seemed to be having a great vacation in Hawaii, but something just seemed to be missing - and I knew exactly what that was. Books.
I'm usually a very meticulous traveller - packing the most important books first (and, invariably forgetting my toothpaste), but this time I was a bit too meticulous, and packed all my books in one bag. Which I'd then, promptly, left behind.
Lazing on the beach, rather than having the intended calming effect, seemed to only emphasize my dull feeling of missing something (I could be reading Waltman right now, I'd think to myself). The only piece of reading material I had on me was one of those terribly bland (and incredibly overpriced) magazines I'd snatched up at the airport in desperation.
Three days in, and I just couldn't take it anymore. So I snuck my family's ridiculous rental -a salmon-colored convertible ("It's a vacation car!" my Lexus-driving father had exclaimed at the airport)- to the tiny little beach town of Kailua in hopes of finding writing, any writing - be it a fancily written tour guide, or a Guide to Surfing or just any book with words arranged in a coherent order really.
But what I found was far more than I expected (though my expectations -of pristine tour guides fresh off the press- were very low). The local book store at Kailua was truly a tropical paradise.
Bookends is a small, privately owned business nudged in between a quaint Indian-Malaysian cafe, and an energetic-looking surf store. Though among the extremities of the bright neon colors of the surf store, and the worn brown of the cafe, the book store seemed to fit right in. The three businesses were like inseperable, but very different, best-friends - similar, but unique.
The moment I stepped in, I knew that this was the place I was going to spend the rest of my vacation, and I was right. My eyesore of a convertible (a 2001 Chrysler) became a regular sight in front of the store, and soon I stopped carrying that repulsive aura of a tourist around me, and almost blended into the local scene. Almost.
|One narrow segway at Bookends. |
The good times..
Stacked to the rafters with second-hand, third-hand, and fourth-hand books left by tourists from all over the world, Bookends was a store that carried an authentic beach town vibe, while also catering excellently to those wandering tourists who had stumbled upon it accidentally (me).
From chattering with Julie, the glasses-toting, flip-flop wearing store owner, to enjoying Hawaiian-Indian-Malaysian food at the cafe next door with the "regulars," my days at the book store were far from anti-social. Actually I thought that Bookends dropped me right into the very middle of Kailua town's eccentric and eclectic population (from the Theo, the Buddhist surfer to Julie the college-student-and-bookworm, the people I met were so very diverse).
Many people think that reading isn't really a vacation, but even stepping into the book world, and forgetting reality is like taking a break. And when book reading comes with perks like interesting pieces of advice from vegetarian Hawaiian natives, I think it very much counts as a vacation.