So Hawaii is a law unto itself, well more of a rule than a law as everything is so relaxed here. Live the life aloha they say, which is confusing as I thought aloha was hello but it’s probably a bit more like hakuna matata, a concept I’m more familiar with being a Lion King fan.
Anyhoos my point being that nothing works at normal time here, more like Hawaii time, which is fine as its 2 hours behind west coast time and well who cares what time it is in Hawaii?
So we arrived after a harder flight than the one to LA, which wasn’t that difficult just that we nearly missed our connection and I didn’t know whether to sleep or stay awake and pay for an in-flight movie (Southpaw if you’re interested, and a very good choice of you like boxing).
Our entire stay for 5 days will be on O’ahu, it would’ve been good to get to Big Island for the lava or other islands for the tropical views but hey we can do that next time can’t we?
The humidity of the island hit us as soon as we left the plane, surprising as Kelly had read constantly that it was raining in Hawaii.
It was. But not the normal mopey type of rain. The awesome kind that spits a little.
Perfect for those moments when you can’t be bothered to get in the sea but you’re too hot, and then hey it’s raining for 2 minutes.
That kind of rain. Anyway that’s basically what we did on the first day here. Our first day doing nothing on this trip. On the beach. In the sun.
Kelly did read via Facebook that our university friend Greg was on top of Diamond head at the bottom of Waikiki so she messaged him. We then accidentally bumped into him outside a shop further inland, and discovered he’d randomly made friends on Diamond head with Luke, from Kempsey, and a friend of Kelly’s brother Oliver. Small world syndrome crammed into 60 seconds three fold…
The hostel is pretty well located on Waikiki beach and near the bars and restaurants. We went up a rotating bar atop a hotel for a few cocktails and saw the stunning view of Waikiki.
Day two was an early rise, 6:30am to be exact which seems silly when you’re in Hawaii, but we had to be on a coach headed to the north shore.
On the coach our tour guide Ryan gave us an excellent insight into the island and its marine biology. He also worked as a biologist you see and handled sharks, turtles and other wildlife 20 hours a week.
The first stop on our adventure was stand-up paddle boarding. Which was fun until I couldn’t see through the sweat in my eyes.
Then my cheap selfie stick broke and I could only watch remorsefully as my GoPro fell into the river and sunk slowly in the murk.
It was a cheap knockoff so took too long to decide whether to dive in or not and it was lost forever. All videos already uploaded to the cloud, but I wouldn’t have it for our next stop where we could jump off a 7 foot rock into the sea. Not very scary until you’re at the edge, when it’s a case of just going for it and not lingering! Good training for the bungy jump I reckon.
Stop 3 was the true brush with nature, snorkelling with huge sea turtles. Well after a few moments coughing and spluttering water out of a pipe mumbling to myself who would actually enjoy this, but then through foggy lens I saw this coffee table sized majestic beast gliding along the bottom of the bay.
Lunch next and we had garlic butter shrimp (Translation – prawn – even in Australian, where throw another shrimp on the bar-b doesn’t make sense).
Finally a visit to the Dole Pineapple plantation gave us an insight into Ryan’s expertise on the Pineapple. Highlights (and don’t think me stupid), they don’t grow on trees, each plant only grows 3 at most, each one is grown independently, the first after 22 months, the next two 18 months apart, and the Hawaiian pineapple was literally stolen from Spain. In the night.
On the way back the Americans on the bus explained the tipping system and it seems severely swung in the direction of the employer. Being that most in the service industry only need to pay staff the basic $7.20 / £4.50 an hour so tips are a way of getting the consumer to pay their staff properly. Makes you realise how American chain restaurants can be so successful.
Day done we headed home, to rest up for a day of resting up.
For breakfast the next day we went to Shore Fayre, an excellent american breakfast place. I had French toast, bacon, the lot. Fuelled up for a day of… Sitting on the beach. It was a glorious day, in preparation for the evening’s festivities.
That evening then, we attended the Diamond head Luau, in Waikiki aquarium. Now Luau is a kind of party, with food and entertainment. We also got a free wander round the aquarium where I spotted many a Kelly-look-a-like with a sourpuss face (she’s happy but she’d make a great poker player).
The Luau we sat on a table with a couple of Texan geologists, investigating Hawaiian volcanos and an Aussie couple celebrating their first wedding anniversary. Everybody was quite talkative and happy but politely waiting for the sweet release of the live show.
And when it came it was encapsulating. The troupe of dancer/actors, 4 boys, 4 girls taking us on a tour around the Polynesian islands of New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, and of course Hawai’i. It was literally amazing how they memorised the dancing, clapping, slapping, fighting and the haka. Entertaining and educational. Plus Kelly and I got an extra 2 free drinks from the organisers!
Thursday Kelly had signed is up to a surfing lesson. Which I was worried about in terms of looking silly and frustrated. In actual fact it was knackering and awesome. Knackering as a) I have no upper body strength, and b) for 45 minutes apart from the 10 second intervals of surfing you have to drag yourself and a board through waves trying to force you in the other direction. Well our teacher was good and I got the swing of it quickly, after a few proper fails, even in the shop practicing where I couldn’t even remember the steps required to stand. Will definitely be doing it again in Australia and Thailand, but I need time for my feet to heal after scratching the skin off every toe on the rough board!
On the Saturday we arose at 5:30AM in preparation for a day trip to Pearl Harbour.
Kelly got a message about checking into our flight to Fiji, where during a moment of confusion we both realised we’d got the time difference wrong and our flight was tonight!!
Whoops, could’ve been close.
Pearl Harbour was a solemn place, understandably so, but interestingly there is an air of putting the reasons for Japan’s attack into context, and then complete forgiveness in order to move on. The USS Arizona is quite sad to witness, 900 men still reside in the sunken ship below, and the battleship weeps a small amount of oil into the bay, a monument and witness to horror in the same.
Our tour guide was very knowledgable offering historical insights, facts and numbers straight out of his memory. Every American on the coach offered their state of origin, and he barked the state’s position in the union, and the year they became a state. Hawaii, state 50 added to the USA in 1959.
The only thing he lacked was a proper microphone speaker so we struggled at time to glean the information he was so ready to impart.
Tour done and now we have to stay up until 3am to fly to Fiji where Kelly will lose 8 hours of her birthday and we’ll skip forward 24 hours in the madness of time zones!