Traveling back in time
Trip Start Nov 14, 2006
90Trip End Ongoing
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As soon as I stepped out of the airport it instantly felt like I was back in the States. The road signs, big cars and maybe just the smell of the air. The only difference from say, stepping out of JFK Airport in New York is all of the Hawaiian natives with flora shirts with big smiles on their faces
I arrived at the hostel and these early feelings were backed up when I could sense that this place was going to be very friendly and laid-back. The receptionist used phrases such as "right on" and "sweet". I had found the perfect place to relax. Waikiki was a pleasant suburban area built up around the famous beach where surfing began. It is a tourist Mecca for Americans from the mainland which was obvious in the amount of hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops that populate the beach front. I quite liked just walking around and seeing the many very American things we have come to know through TV and film such as all you-can-eat diners, Taco Bell, those yellow school buses, Wall-mart, fat families with fat kids, young black guys that wear those long basket ball tops and walk with a limp, crazy homeless people pushing shopping trolleys around with all their possessions in, Wendy´s, Mustangs, mullet-ed families from Montana, Oreo´s, Gatorade and What Gun magazine next to the New York Times and Enquirer.
I spent a little time on the beach but it was a little too busy and I suspected there was a lot more to see on this island than Waikiki beach. After watching a little bit of concert with beautiful Hula dancers and a fat guy playing the Ukulele I decided to go explore
I took the bus with a young German girl, Franzi to Honamua Bay for a bit of a snorkel. With America being the way it is, we all had to watch a 7 minute video on not disturbing the coral and sea life and being careful not to hurt yourself. Is this really necessary??? If I break my ankle on a rock in the sea, who the hell do you sue? The mayor of Hawaii, the lifeguard or perhaps Neptune? Anyway I chuckled at the whole thing and hope that it doesn't come to this in the UK. The bay was beautiful, however you were more likely to bump into someone else snorkeling than get a glimpse of a turtle. The water was jam packed which obviously detracted from the experience.
The next day I went on a great tour of the Island, which was very much non-commercial and Jack the guide took us to some amazing beaches and view points. I was joined on the trip by two Swiss girls, Franzi and Herman a middle aged German. They were so nice to me and cooked a lovely meal for me. The trip however, just made me want to get out of Waikiki and see more of the island but not before a trip to Pearl Harbour. I was worried that it would be a show of American Patriotism but hey, it was free. They have a museum and a floating memorial that floats over the sunken battleship where a 1000 or so sailors rest entombed which you can walk across
The following day I left the hostel and made my way up to the North Shore and instantly knew I had made an excellent choice. It was only a small village along the coast where the famous Banzai Pipeline wave break is. The bungalows I stayed at were very rustic and full of charm and the guys that ran it were as laid back a you could get. They probably only stir if the pipeline is throwing out huge tubes (surf speak). It was a lot like the islands of Thailand where the only concern for the day is getting to the beach in time for sunset. I shared the bungalow with two English girls, and a Danish lad called Runa. They were on Hawaii after spending the ski season in Whistler. Apart from surfing and snorkeling at turtle bay (where Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed) we chilled, had a few Coors, and ate BBQ, while a homeless looking old time hippy called Grizzly entertained us with his hula-hoop skills. He was class ha ha. I also shared a laugh with an old American bloke who could have been out of King of the Hill. I realised that Americans are hilarious and not just to laugh at. I also backed up my theory of how nice and genuine Americans are despite what we are lead to believe through the politicians and media.
When we went surfing, the pipeline was out of the question because of the reef and if your not experienced your likely to die
I was very sad to leave this paradise, but it was time to move on. Being laid-back all the time is all very well but when you have a flight to catch you need some sense of urgency. I was assured the free shuttle bus would get me there on time and i couldn't believe that the driver drove past the airport to pick people up from Waikiki then drop me off on the way back. The airport was very busy too and I literally just made check in and had to run to the gate. Anyway, i suppose it all turned out OK and I was on my way to San Francisco.