Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Pier-suit of Happyness

I've loved the song Kokomo by the Beach Boys ever since I first heard it when I was in Sec 1. Then, together with 2 other newbies to this big world called Secondary School, 13-year-old Me donned my ballet leotard and an airy grass-skirt (made out of shredded raffia strings), leis from family trip to Hawaii in 1990, two bare feet, and swayed my booty in front of hundreds of other girls. Feminine stuff like that got the thumbs up in SCGS, together with etiquette classes, dance and singing lessons, and baking chocolate chip cookies to raise money at the school fun fair (I can hear my RGS friends sniggering already.) After all, the leotard wasn't that far off from the sleeveless form-fitting sky-blue sundress which passed off for our school uniform.

Anyway, back to Kokomo. There's just an idyllic, dreamy and wistful quality to the song that makes you just want to stop what you're doing and get lost in a daydream dotted with white sands, sunsets and palm trees.

We were, however, quite disappointed to find out that Kokomo isn't an actual island, but a city in Indiana, USA. So the Beach Boys were totally fibbing when they sang "there's a place called Kokomo..." Apparently, the inspiration for the song was a poolside bar in Islamorada, a village of islands in the Florida Keys. I guess the boys weren't totally making it up then, since the whole line goes "off the Florida Keys, there's a place called Kokomo..." Plus, they never said that Kokomo was an island. At least we can seek comfort in the fact that we did set foot on Islamorada too.

When we were in Singapore, whenever the song came on the radio (which was inevitable, since it's on every single playlist in my iPod
and iPhone), I would tell Dan that I wanted to visit all the places named in the song, and he would humour me and say "Yes, yes, baby. I'll bring you okay?". To which I'd reply "Yeah right. Say only. Dream on, man."

Today, it feels really surreal that we've chased the Kokomo dream to reality, starting with the Florida Keys, and more specifically, Key Largo.

We stayed 3 nights at the Pelican inn on Key Largo. There were cottages of various sizes to choose from, all at different prices. With our meagre budget, the only option was the smallest unit, at a not-very-cheap price of US$60 per night. To call it a cottage would be exaggerating. It was more like a wooden cabin, with the bed taking up almost all the space in the room. We had to tackle an obstacle course comprising human bodies (ours) and massive bags every time one of us wanted to cross to the other side of the room - not that there was very much of it. I think even foreign workers have more space in their dorms.

So, on the days when it wasn't raining and there were no hurricane-like conditions threatening to blow us off the face of the earth, we spent all our time out on the pier. Cos each platform alone was bigger than our room.

Stretching out - just cos he can

We loved being on the pier. And having it all to ourselves. On this particularly cool and grey morning, we took advantage of the extensive cloud cover (there is such a thing as too much sun) and gusty seabreeze to get some much-needed exercise. We started off with deep-breathing exercises, simple stretches, easy yoga and taichi, which evolved into more strenuous crunches, pumps, leg and arm raises, back raises and so on.

It ended with my favourite yoga pose - the corpse pose. (I actually fell asleep in that pose during my very first lesson with a new yoga instructor. My mum, who was in the same class, sneakily let me doze on. I woke up to see people rolling up their mats and grinning at me. Including my mum.)

Slicing through the seabreeze with his smooth taichi moves and flaming hair

Deeeeeep breath.... and focussssss

The I-wish-I-had-legs-this-long dream photo

It's a jumping mop of hair!

To prove that I did some yoga on this trip (hear, hear, Jennifer!) Sadly, I can no longer touch the ground while in a triangle pose

Jumping jacks! Or jills!

The corpse pose - modified for lazing on a pier. It still has the same effect of lulling me to sleep.

With a wide-angle lens, anyone can have the body of a supermodel

My all-time-favourite footwear - barefeet

Pier-ing up at him... hur hur hur

Trying out couple yoga

It's incredible how much happiness a simple wooden pier can bring by transporting you into an endless watery plain, and into the elusive Kokomo dream.

I'm posting this entry from the Bahamas, another island mentioned in the famous song. Aruba, Bermuda, Martinique, Monserrat, Montego Bay and the rest of Jamaica - we're gonna get to you some day. And it's going to be sooner, rather than later.

PS. This entry is dedicated to our yoga instructor-friend, Jennifer, who was amazed to hear that all the places mentioned in the song really do exist. Well, all except Kokomo, the island version. Yes, Jen, we remember that!!!! :P


Li Ming with an elite uncaring face said...

Was that what SCGS girls did in school? Tsk tsk *shakes head in disapproval*

Anonymous said...

woooooooooo i just realize you both are taking the kokomo life !!!!! hahahahaha i have never pay attention but today i could understand why this song makes me go far far away ...

Yi Lin said...

Liming - we strode up and down the dance studio in heels, learnt how to sit demurely, how to pair wine and whether we're a spring/summer/autumn/winter. We went to each other's houses to bake cookies and cupcakes...for fun. While you RGS girls were growling and gunning to be our island's first female prime minister :P

Anonymous - it seems strange to call it the kokomo 'life' - it still seems very much of a dream!

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