The day after Stampede was spent furiously packing to leave for Hawaii, although much of it was in vain due to weather making me miss my connecting flight and being rerouted through LA. All I can really say from the 9 hours I spent there is that LA drivers at the airport make Sydney drivers look like L-Platers (I’m talking about my driver cutting across 4 lanes and then back to overtake one car. IN A BUS) and the Hilton has beds that are quite possibly so soft that if I sunk any further I would suffocate. But after spending the previous 7 months sleeping on the cheapest rock hard plastic mattress a multi-million dollar university can buy, that scenario may just be worth an excellent night’s sleep.
From there it was to Hawaii, the land of beautiful beaches, the luau and big wave surfing. Or at least it is in the winter, in the summer Pipeline is so dangerous that it is, quote/unquote, “an excellent place for snorkelling.” Nevertheless, much time was spent at the beach, and a week of hanging with the family gave me a chance to actually explore further than the 4 blocks I got to know so well last time I was here. Highlights would go to being in the world’s largest passenger submarine looking at shipwrecks, jet skiing, snorkelling at Hanauma Bay (awesomest place ever – I totally swam with a turtle) checking out Pearl Harbour (although I don’t think the Americans took to kindly to me and Mark having a sword fight with the audio tour remotes on a historic commemoration battleship) hiking to the top of Diamond Head (it’s a volcano) and spending about $160 purely on surfboard hire. There was also a failed attempt at stand-up paddle boarding (seriously, it was hard) that resulted in my
sticking to the longboarding, and a whole bunch of burning in the sun. And yet I can honestly say that the sun in Hawaii is much more forgiving than in Aus - after spending 6 hours shirtless at the beach she let my very white self come back into her graces only 2 days later! Oh and I totally saw Geoffrey Rush and Chi McBride (he was in I-Robot/The Frighteners/Gone in 60 Seconds.) Good times.
Oh and fellow Australians? We are being totally ripped off. Everything is so damn expensive compared to the US/Canada. Although the obvious mention is fuel, in Hawaii, all brand name shirts are $20 (compared to what I suspect will be $50 by the time I return – even Billabong!! Traitors!!) decent shoes are under $40, Maccas cheeseburgers are always $1 each, and a litre of Smirnoff is only $18. I don’t even wanna know the price that explains why 10% of the population owns a Mustang, and the entire time I was there I saw maybe 3 cars that are over 15 years old. I guess this explains why there are so many damn Australians everywhere (they’re honestly like the bloody plague, I can’t escape them! ….Mate.)
And in case anyone is wondering, although I had lots of fun surfing and checking out the sights, I don’t know if Hawaii is for everyone. For me, the beaches are fun, the people are nice, but it’s a little too Americanised for my liking. Too many oversized cars and utes, too many buildings and roads, too many people, people advertising guns and shooting ranges all up and down Waikiki, waay too oversized meals (I kid you not, I only had my 3 meals a day, and the only one I ever finish was my breakfast of Cheerios – oh, and a large drink at Maccas is a whole litre of Coke) too much emphasis on buying stuff / making money (why the hell is the TV trying to sell me antidepressants!?!) and too many people with longboards and no idea how to use them (I had at least one person a day either drop in on me while I was on the wave or just have no control and career into me while I was in the water.) Still, to each their own, and I may stop by again on my way back to Aus.
I know holidays are usually a chance to unwind, to relax and recuperate, but all I got to was exercise. Honestly, I couldn’t lift my arms above my head for the next 3 days, after surfing, jet skiing, surfing, hiking, attempting stand up paddleboarding, failing at stand up paddleboarding, snorkelling, and returning to surfing. But it was all totally worth it.] I’ve had my beach fix for now, which should hopefully last me for the remaining months I have here. Alhough I'll try not to have the next posting so far away, I can only create so much adventure at a time. For now though, it’s back to catching up on work and studying.