Aloha from Oahu!
Trip Start Nov 08, 2003
97Trip End Nov 08, 2004
Had a bad nights kip with the chest infection so got up early to check out the beach and some of Waikiki's main drag. The heat was searing and very humid
He was heading out to Chinatown with Sushi, a Japanese chap from San Diego who was actually under my bunk. We caught the bus out, very cheap, you pay $2 and can stay on for as long as you like. If you catch the bus that does a tour of the island then that's all you pay. You also get a complimentary transfer ticket to get back or to go on somewhere else. Chinatown wasn't really happeneing as it was a Sunday but we chowed down some noodles at a Vietnamese house and wandered on. Without planning, we headed down Beretania Street where there are a lot of tourist attracting buildings like the Iolani Palace (the only Royal Palace in the US), King Kamehameha Statue and Kawaiaha'o Church, a church made entirely of coral rock. I was in my flipflops and now tiring so we decided to ask our way to the nearest mall for a chill. Phil asked the attendant in a Jack In The Box... "Excuse me, is there a mall near here?"... "Yes"..
We got to the mall, it was the Ala Moana Center and is bigger than most centres i've seen in the UK. Some excellent shops selling very cheap Stussy gear, bit of a bummer that a) I can't afford it and b) can't be buggered to carry it. We decided to head for the $1 cinema a couple of blocks away. 8 blocks later, we arrive and watched Dodgeball, very dissappointing but Ben Stiller was good and there was a complete nutter shouting out answers to questions in the movie behind us which made it funnier. Caught the bus back and headed to bed for a decent night's kip. A good 10 hours rest of jetlagged, chest infected mess to get rid of.
Had good intentions to go snorkelling down at Hanauma Bay today but we decided to order a dose of sunburn on the beach instead. I got a full dose, Phil missed out somehow. I got back to the dorm to find a two-tone forehead which then proceeded to crisp up, turn brown and scabby and make me look like a flakey freak for the next four days. My hat had a good innings. Went out for a couple of beers in the night. Having trouble grasping the whole, ok it's this price, now i'm gonna jam on some tax at 4% so it's now this price, and now give me 15% for serving you so it's now this price..
Phil chipped off the next day to see the aptly named Big Island, cos it's the biggest of the 120 Hawai'ian islands but also of the 8 inhabited islands that are known as Hawai'i. It's famous for it's almost constantly erupting Volcanic National Park but costs a good $90 for a single flight as there are no ferries. It's something I wanted to check out but don't have the cashola to do. I decided to cheekily sneakily head up to the University Campus where I heard internet access was going free. Spent most of the afternoon up there updating Sydney.
Sushi had left for the north shore for the surf but came back before flying back out to San Diego so spent the evening checking out the nightlife of Waikiki. It's main street is awash with Covent Garden style human statues, charicature artists, preaching gospel singers, healers, break-dancers, body-poppers and the best of them all, free-style rappers and beatboxes. They'll ask the audience for a subject and then freestyle rap it backatcha, in time to a guy playing a drum beat on a set
Wednesday, I decided to chip back into Honolulu. I was actually looking for the main town centre where all the shops were but the Lonely Planet assured me that I was in the DownTown area so I had a ganders, at nothing. I think Waikiki is the main area along with the huge malls. I did however, do alot of walking and seeing. I started at State Capitol where the bus dropped me off, then the Hawai'i State Art Museum which was having renovations done but still open and very cool. Some very good paintings from local artists and an abstraction from one guy that needed a distraction, from painting, get a few tubs of paint, pour them onto canvas, wait for them to dry a bit, smudge them a bit, sell it for loads, done, sweet. What?
From there I headed back down past Iolani Palace and the church to Punchbowl Street which leads down to Aloha Tower, the docks and the Market Place.
The evening was spent playing two hours of chess (whilst watching Stepmom) against Darren, a room-mate, on a chessboard with cents as pawns and dimes and quarters as main pieces, that was interesting but I beat him.
Thursday was a bit overcast and best intentions again got kicked into touch, so instead of doing the Diamond Head walk, I took a long stroll down the beach walk, chilling under palm trees and watching dudes doubles at Volleyball on the beach.
Friday, I had booked in to do a tour of the island. Yes, you could do the tour for $2 on the bus system but (surprisingly) I wanted to learn something and I was very glad i did. The day started at 10am with Jack, our tour guide giving us the heads up on what the day was about and what we'd see. We started down at Diamond Head, and thankfully not climbing it as i wanted to do it by myself. Diamond Head is apparently an offshoot crater of the main volcano which is the island Oahu and apparently the tallest mountain in the world. Oahu is roughly 10,000 metres tall, higher than Everest but mostly submerged in the Pacific. The volcanic range that are the Hawai'ian islands are similar to Fraser Island in Oz where vegetation has flourished on sand/rock formation providing itself with a unique eco-system
We then stopped at Koko Head where Jack showed us the layers of volcanic ash in the cliffs that covered the islands many times, thousands of years ago. The greenery was lush on the east facing side of the island as apparently, the winds gather moisture as they cross the pacific, hit the steep mountains of the Koolau Range that divide the east from the west, form mass clouds that hang over the mountains constantly and provide the east side with it's rainforest and the west side with it's dry, sunbathing beach bum lifestyle.
We stopped quickly at Hanauma Bay and managed to spot turtles from the cliff so we pegged it down as one then got picked up by a wave and beached on a rock. Next stop was Makapu'u Beach for lunch and a quick dip before Kahalu'u where we went for a walk as Jack described native and foreign vegetation, trees, fruits and vegetables. He also gave us some info on how the Hawai'ians are trying to go back to their roots and do away with the western influences and cultures.
From there, it was the long drive to the north shore where we found turtles beached, basking in the sun and not in trouble as some people think
Phil got back in the evening after his 3 day trip to The Big Island so we chilled, walked and chatted.
Woke up the next morning to my head resting on a blown up rubber glove. It was actually my hand which had been chewed by a mozzie and had freakishly grown to the size of a ham. Luckily my face had evaded such gnawings otherwise, Elephant Matt would've been in the house. Went down to the Ala Moana centre, sorry center. Pushed the boat out in stupidity and went for a factor 4 sunscreen. Good. Went down the beach and played some rummy before my hand started screaming for attention as a swollen hand in heat is only gonna swell some more, so i left Phil to it and went for a Jack in the Box to douse my hand in ice. Didn't do much else for the rest of the day or night except laugh in my sleep as two Irish guys, Tom and Brian came back into the dorm at 2am-ish with a traffic cone, ah memories of my student days..
Sunday was 8 days in Hawaii and a day over my welcomed stay in the YHA hostel so it was out to the Hokondo Hostel that I had booked on the friday. Got there to find three brit lasses checking out because a 'lady of the night' had wandered into their room for a shower in the middle of the night, and then they were awoken four times by the same man playing a guitar in their room. I checked my room out. Me and two other english chaps were stood in a four man dorm which was probably the worst room ever in history. The kitchen was trashed, there were empty beer bottles outside the door and all over the floor, and none of the beds were free, let alone 3 of them. I put two and two together, luckily came up with 4, whew, and looked for another hostel. The nicest of which was full tonight but free from tomorrow onward. The 3 brit girls were heading up the north shore for a couple of days which i was gonna do later that week, but the free shuttle was coming and i was on it. I booked into the Polynesian Hostel got my $170 refund from the Hokondo from a mardy receptionist, pegged it down the beach to let Phil know and say see ya kid and got back in time for the hour journey north.