I rarely, if ever, buy real champagne. The kind made in France. The original stuff. The real stuff. But this NYE, viewing the rather limited selection in a Kailua supermarket, I went for the real thing. I wanted to start 2013 the way I intend to continue. I want it to be real. Authentic. No copies, fakes, or cheap imitations.
We’d travelled to the north-west side of the island of Kona to spend the night at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The surf was high and although I did brave the water, the waves proved too much. Dinner was an extravaganza of wild pig, oysters, fresh crab, dim sum, sushi, prime rib, and almost anything else you could imagine. Fancy clothes discarded, we headed down to the beach in the hope of seeing the fireworks from the Hilton or the Mauna Kea. The hotel staff had told us that the hills would block the view but taking the shuttle across to the Mauna Kea wasn’t quite the style in which I wanted my year to continue. 2013 is going to be a good one and it had to start as such.
We pitched our blanket and popped the champagne. As we waited for midnight we remembered previous visits and argued good naturedly about collective memories that varied so wildly you’d swear we all been somewhere different, my 30th birthday being a case in point. The waves were pounding and we had the beach to ourselves. And then the light show started.
To be at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, when Budapest and Dublin were waking up with hangovers was a little surreal. I had the best of both worlds. The fruit of modern pyrotechnics married beautifully with an ocean percussion. Good company and the simple pleasure of a few grains of sand in my champagne … a great start to my New Year.