Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Because Honolulu police are using Kapiolani Park as a staging area during the APEC summit and parking was not allowed along Kalakaua and Monsarrat, Kapiolani Park and Queen's Beach were practically deserted.  It made for the most peaceful sunset ever.

Even the police are taking pictures of the setting sun

Almost full moon over Kapiolani Park

Taking in the last rays

 Getting out of the water after a last float in the walled-in basin

Walking back home I catch the moon in the power lines.
All is peaceful as I wait for the light on Monsarrat and Paki to change.
Moon above... cool breeze... fresh air... no traffic... delicious...

A whoosh of tires behind me, then BANG!
A fellow in a motorized wheelchair, 
in a hurry to catch the last of the green light,
careens out of control, turns over, wheelchair and all, 
barely missing me.
He crashes with his head in the dirt by the sidewalk.
I rush over and find him lying still, crumpled beside his wheelchair.
Is that blood under his head?
I try to wake him.  He does not respond.  Someone else runs over to help.
I call 911.  Give the location.  Within a minute the first police car arrives.
Sirens.  Flashing lights. 
Ambulance arrives.  Then the firetruck and two more police cars.
Why so many?
I don't know if it's okay to take pictures, so I limit myself to shooting only the vehicles.
I hope the guy is alright.  For a moment he came to, then went out again.  
I left shortly after, my peaceful walk disturbed by a crash and someone hurt.
Two thoughts: 
One:  What a blessing to live in a country where you can call 911 
and people trained in emergency procedures come immediately
with ambulances equipped with life-saving equipment.
 (This was not the case in Ubud, Bali.  
The ambulance there was just an old white van with a red cross painted on the outside.
Traffic did not stop.  Some motorbikes even hurried to overtake it.)

Two:  Since I believe everything happens for a reason,
why did I need to experience this?
What's the message?

I rushed over without a thought, but when I actually was with the hurt man,
I had no idea what to do.  It even took me a while to think of calling 911.
I completely blanked.  Have you ever found yourself in a situation like that?
I didn't think of checking to see if he was breathing.
All I did was touch his shoulder and say, "Are you okay? Are you okay?"
The guy was unconscious and that's what I ask him?!  Heaven help me.
 No amount of First Aid training works if you freeze like I did.

So the message may be to remember how my pride of self-sufficiency is a sham,
  and to see how out of control and truly dependent I am on others, like in,
"Don't think you're so special, girl, you're not any better,
you're just as vulnerable as everyone else."
On the other hand...
I was lucky the guy didn't crash into me or we'd have two people messed up.  
I wouldn't like that.  At all.
Things can happen in a split second, and life as you know it can be changed forever.
I squeaked by.  Boy, did I squeak by.  I did not get hurt.
Rather than living in fear at what might happen, could have happened...
I should just live in a state of perpetual gratitude.

Thank you!  Thank you!  


  1. wow, nice story for its insightfulness. Really like the pics, particularly the one with the police on bikes taking pics of the sunset ; ) But a beauty goes, like the one with the sun peaking through the banyan trees and the one of two people looking out into the water/sunset/boat.

  2. So glad you are alright, though obviously clearly shaken by your day's events. Whatever did we do before all carrying cell phones? Yet somehow we survived; life was what it was.
    We are the grateful ones - to still have you with us! And it must feel good
    to know you helped a fellow human in distress. Even if not in full Girl Scout gold star fashion, you got the experts to him as quickly as was possible. Thank you for being who you are. The one & only!

  3. I think the lesson learned was the fact that you COULD call 911 - versus UBUD!... Living in the USA is better for things like that!

  4. Thank you all for your wonderful comments. Yes, I'm so grateful to live in a developed country, I just read that Indonesia ranks 124th out of 187 countries surveyed on the Human Development Index (survey done by the United Nations Development Program). Norway is 1st, USA 4th, after Australia and The Netherlands. To think, though, that most of the world lives precariously without potable water and all the other luxuries we take for granted, makes me really question what we've been doing.

  5. Glad you are okay, Elsha. Thank goodness for the patient that you were there to call 911.