Day 12, Oahu Hawaii (Friday)
We set out for our anti-clockwise trip of the island at around 5:45 am since sunrise was projected to be at 6:30 am and got to the Makapu’u lookout around 6:20. From this lookout the entire eastern shore of the island can be seen. Unfortunately the sun was behind clouds. I still got some nice photos and we saw some abandoned military bunkers in the hill side. From there we backtracked to Hanauma Bay, which is a protected area with some of the best snorkeling on the island. We were told the best time to get there was before the majority of tourists show up at 10:30.
Three of us watched the safety and conservation video and did some snorkeling while the fourth member of the party slept in the car. The hardest part about the snorkeling was that the coral was less than a foot and a half from the surface, so there was no way to sit up and tread water once over the coral field, which was big and wide. Just touching the coral or fish in the reserve is illegal, though pretty much unenforceable. I nicked me knee early on. Eventually as we got further out we started being hit by surf. Not only were there less fish in this area, but it was difficult to keep the snorkel clear and difficult to keep away from the coral. When one wave hit me hard I paddled hard (waved my arms around frantically) to keep from bumping into some coral and accidentally released the door on my waterproof camera. In a couple quick gulps it was filled with saltwater. I saw a memory card read error, hit the power button, and the screen went black never to turn on again. I signalled to one of my partners that I wanted to swim back towards the beach and we both looked around for the third member of our party, but couldn’t see him. Mind you we couldn’t look out above the water because we couldn’t sit up. After circling a couple times we started heading back toward the shore. When we got there we saw our missing part member swimming after us. I rinsed the camera out with clean water, but knew it would be to no avail. We agreed that we had done enough snorkelling and didn’t want to be in that surf, so we headed back to the car.
Sidenote: Hawaii has two main tourist seasons, summer and winter. In summer there are very few waves and the water is very clear so it is perfect for snorkelling. In winter the waves are high and it is best for surfing. In the fall it’s not best for either as the waves are small, but the water is a little cloudy.
After rousing out fourth party member we started driving up the coast. We stopped for breakfast in Kailua (I ended up having huevos rancheros) and checked out Kailua beech to see if there were any sea turtles. There were no sea turtles, but there was a lot of kite surfing going on. We then stopped at the Valley of the Temples park, but is was raining so we didn’t pay to go see the Byodo-In temple. We drove past the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Mormon temple and stopped for lunch at the legendary Giovanni’s Shrimp. Since I had already tried the shrimp so I tried a mushroom cheese-steak from another food truck and grabbed a coffee. We hung out for a while. I got a shave-ice cone, someone else got a smoothie, a third for a bag of pineapple. The fourth tried some of my shaved-ice and complained that the taste was too chemical. I understood what he was talking about, the flavorings were very commercial and synthetic. Mine was a rainbow with strawberry (red), banana (yellow), and vanilla (blue).
From there we went to Sunset Beach. There was a surfing competition that was supposed to be going on, but the waves weren’t right so they had suspended the competition until the waves were right. There were a couple surfers out practicing and several local boys boogie boarding in the high surf. We drove to a couple other beaches that sometimes have turtle sightings with no luck.
We were then 3/4 of the way around the island and started to head back to Honolulu and stopped at the Dole Pineapple factory on the way. We wandered around and got a few souvenirs. We didn’t pay for the train tour or the maze as it was still raining. I got a taste of some of the Dole Pineapple Soft Serve someone else bought and right at the and I saw a flashy pineapple and my Halloween costume problems were solved. I would be a pineapple! Three of us actually bought the hats.
From DoleLand we went to Chinatown. Parking was a huge challenge, and once we had parked and walked over to the art museum it was closed. We stopped by a walmart (Australians are eager to visit Walmarts for some reason) and then found a really nice coffee shop / bar / cafe. The three were set up as different stores called “Something” Cofee, “Something” Bar, and “Something” Cafe, but I can’t remember the name. Worst of all the place seems to be too new to be found on Google. I’m pretty sure it was on Nuuanu St. and I’ll update this when I find the name. It was a really nice place and I’d frequent there if I lived in Honolulu. After coffee and drinks we returned the car and walked back to the hostel.
I showered, declined an invitation to join a drinking game, put on my pineapple costume and took to the streets. There were a lot of good costumes and a lot of selfies being taken. My pineapple hat had a lot of blinking lights and at one point there was a small boy being fussy, then he saw my hat and was mesmerized for three blocks until I passed them. Hopefully he didn’t go back to being fussy. My highlight of the evening was getting a selfie with Jinora from The Legend of Korra. After quite a lot of walking around I decided I was tired and just went to bed.
Day 13, Oahu, Hawaii (Saturday)
Day 13 was quite a day indeed. I woke up with a few goals in mind. 1. Mail a few things back to MA, 2. Replace my waterproof camera, 3. Get some internet work done, maybe update my blog. I was somewhat successful. I packed and checked out of the hostel with my parcel for home in my shoulder bag. I walked over to the second closest Post Office, the closest was closed for no stated reason. Posting the package was easy. I then caught the free shuttle to Hilo Hattie’s. The driver questioned me when I got on with my bag, but I told him I wanted to drop by the store before I left, which wasn’t a lie. Conveniently Hilo Hattie’s, which is far removed from downtown, is next to the only Best Buy in Honolulu. I ate lunch at Hilo Hattie’s and then headed over to Best Buy. I took my time looking at all of the different camera options and did eventually settle for a GoPro. I went to pay and my credit card was denied. I long phone call later I found that my travel notice had only been put on my debit card, and didn’t transfer over to my credit card. I had locked my bags up on one of the Best Buy shelves while doing this, and had gone back to them to get my debit card as proof of my identity. When I did that I accidentally moved my lock from the locked, to the open, to the reprogram setting. I had also bumped one of the numbers. When I went to leave I found my bag locked and my combination did not work. I swallowed and breathed through a minor panic attack, and then logically started going through one digit variations from my combination. Fortunately that only left me 81 combinations if my assumption that a the shift from the code had been by no more than one digit. Fortunately my guess was right and I found the answer in short order. I turned and asked the salesman who had helped me where I could make change for the bus and he generously offered me a dollar to fill out my fare for the bus.
I took the public bus to the airport. Arriving at the airport I changed into my suit for the flight and went to check in… no one was at the desk. Admittedly I had gotten to the airport 9 hours early, but I was hoping to get in, sit down, and work. I called the airline and they told me that the check in desk would not open for another 6 hours. I then changed out of the suit because there was no location with air conditioning outside (or inside for that matter) the airport. That was a very boring hot wait and I will try not to make the same mistake again.
It was at that moment I realized I could not locate the credit card that I had spent so much time earlier getting unblocked. Rough day.
I had two long discussions with lovely strangers who were in similar predicaments. Then I finally got to check in and get through the the un-air conditioned other side of security. There was conditioned air in the waiting room for the flight, but no one could enter it until the incoming international flight had deplaned. I had some sushi for dinner, watched a family play some word games and finally boarded the plane. The lady who sat down next to me put her Nalgene bottle in the seat back, put in her ear plugs and put an eye mask on. I found it humerus that I then did the exact same.
Day 13+, International Date Line (Sunday)