My stream of memory uploads only have one level of detail; that which you find here. I apologize for those of you who are reading this if it is too long winded for your pleasure. It would take considerable effort to edit the less impactful content.
- Day 8: Surfing lessons – Hike – Shopping
- Day 9: Ukulele lessons – Hula lessons – Sunset Yoga – Tales
- Day 10: Jabs
- Day 11: Surfing – Local food – Cheesecake – Rental foibles
Day 7: Oahu Hawaii
I just wanted to add that I went and got two Malasadas at Leonard’s bakery. I got an original and a pineapple filled and they were the best doughnut style pastries I’ve ever had. After getting back I arranged to go to a surf lesson in the morning with a lady named Erin from Australia.
Day 8, Oahu Hawaii
We got to the beach around 9:50 and signed up for lessons with the first booth at the beach. A semi-private lesson (2-people) was $60 each. We were given water shoes and a rash guard shirt and carried the two boards to the water. As we checked in I realized I had a split down the back of my swimsuit, so I was glad my rash guard shirt came down to my thighs. We were surfing in a coral bottom area so the shoes and shirt were very welcome. We were taught three positions of the beach and went into the water. The instructor alternated pushing us when big enough waves came along. The waves were fairly small, but every few minutes there was one big enough to ride. Erin was better than I was and rode quite a few to the shore. I managed to stand and ride two to the shore. I fell a lot, but it was a fun experience. We headed back to the hostel where I showered and changed.
At the hostel Erin and I met up with Marcie. Marcie had a very strong Australian accent, but was from Germany. We all decided to go on a hike to see a local waterfall. Erin and I grabbed a quick lunch at Wolfgang Puck and joined Marcie for a bus ride out to the falls. The trip to the trailhead should have taken an hour, but the transfer timing didn’t workout, so it took almost an hour and a half to get there. One there we booked it up to the falls and we’re all dripping with sweat be the time we got to the top. The trail and the hike were all in the forest. I don’t know whether it was technically rainforest, but it looked like it to me. The flowering vines overhead were beautiful. The falls at the end were over 150 ft high. It was clear that people used to swim in the pool at the bottom of the fall, but there were barriers and warning signs all around so none of us dared it. We took the hike down more slowly and enjoyed the side falls and interesting plants on each side of the trail. One part of the trail was a bamboo forest. Since most of the bus routes are circular and not linear, you can’t get back the way you came. This time we walked further to catch a bus, but the trip was quicker and the transfer was at the lovely University of Hawaii campus rather than at a street corner Subway.
I recommended trying out the food court at the Royal Hawaiian Center, there was a Pho place there that I quite enjoyed. Upon return to the hostel I stopped to buy a replacement swimsuit. I went to a more expensive store that several travelers had recommended. The first swimsuits I saw were marked around $50 USD. I fortunately found the clearance rack and there was a suit I liked, it appears to have gotten there because is was scandalously short, and by that I mean it came about the knee. I’ve never been a fan of baggy swimsuits anyway. Beyond the rack price there was an additional 25% off at the register, so I only paid $30 for what should have been a $50 swimsuit.
After that I chilled on the rooftop and made tentative plans to surf the next morning with another traveller, them hit the sack early.
Day 9, Oahu Hawaii
The morning surfing plans didn’t work out, plus the waves were too small, so I jus walked the beach. After that I decided to walk up the road to a Safeway supermarket to pick up a few essentials. I was surprised that the supermarket prices weren’t much less than at the corner store and they didn’t sell any small (<32 oz) bottles of aloe. I met up with Erin and Marcie at the hostel and went with them for my second, their first, Ukulele lesson. We were a few minutes late, but the lesson went well. The instructor recognized me and when he joked that they would be teaching advanced techniques the next day. I told him not to make promises he wouldn't keep. In response he asked me if I was a local and I said that I, unfortunately, was not. Marcie had to check out so I gave her my name that she might find me on Facebook and we parted ways. Erin and I continued on to what we thought would be a free Hawaiian massage lesson (Lomi Lomi), but ended up being a hula lesson. I really enjoyed the hula lesson. The instructor was fantastic. She broke down the ladies part and broke the men's part down, (there were only 3 men in a massive group lesson of about 45 people) then harassed the women for dancing the men's part (a significant part of the crowd probably didn't know english well). The movement is a bit like bachata and blues and the hand motions are like sign language, certain gestures representing different concepts. I think the song we danced to was Kona Kai `Opua, but I'll have to verify that later. I wish I remembered the whole routine, but regardless I'll use it to inform my other dances. Erin left before the end of the lesson to go grab lunch. After the lesson I sought out a restaurant that I had seen in an advertisement with a burger patty with a sunny side egg on time over rice. Unfortunately the meal looked nothing like the advertisement, and was not very pleasant. After that I lounged on the beach some, showered and cleaned some of my clothes and then went for sunset yoga with Erin. This instructor was also great. When we got back to the hostel free pizza was being served. I had a couple very small slices and left the rest to others as it was going quickly. The rooftop discussions that evening were a lot of fun. First of all two partiers came up, stuck a bottle of jäger down in the middle of the floor and said the party should get started. The then went on to recount their morning adventure on the big island. They had one primary goal, to see lava snow and the sea while there. They had succeeded with the latter two but had failed with former until their last day. They had been given the number of a local guide who had agreed to meet them at 5 am to lead them out to the active lava flow. They cut through forest to avoid the police blockades. Because of the current lava flow, which was headed for a local village, all the roads around the fair weather tourist spot and the village impending doom were closed. They got to an area that had cooled the prior night and walked on the crust of the active flow with lava running beneath them and red crack showing through the crust. They had the photos to prove it. They then heard the surveying helicopter coming and the guide made them run and hide in the bushes until it was gone. That must have been quite the adventure. Then the rednecks came. Most of the people at the hostel had not met rednecks before and these three represented. There was one over the top extrovert and the other two were definitely introverts. The leader brought out a Bluetooth enabled amp and one of the others put on a combination of both types of music, Country and Western. The adventurers offered up the jäger and when the redneck couldn't find a cup and the adventurers told him to just take a sip from the bottle, he obliged and took a few gulps. They went on to talk about life in real America and about how rednecks are just the Americans that know how to have fun. It turned out the three of them were from the contractor that services air conditioners from Walmart and had been flown out by the company to service the stores on each island. Someone offered me a Wailua Wheat Ale, which was by far my favorite local Hawaiian beer. Much fun was had, but unfortunately I didn't see the three southern gentlemen again. Rumor had it they were caught smoking herbs that are legal in Colorado and Amsterdam, but not Hawaii.
Day 10, Oahu Hawaii (Wednesday)
Wednesday was the day for my Japanese Encephalitis booster, so I slept in and took the bus to the clinic. The vaccine cost me over $500, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I grabbed lox on a bagel with cream cheese for lunch and got the bus back on my transfer ticket just before it expired. I then made a plan to plan. I grabbed my laptop and headed to a coffee shop with wifi across town, but near a store that was offering a free CD of local, traditional music. I got my drink, sat down, opened my laptop, and saw a picture of a red battery on the screen when I went to turn it on. This travel laptop has been good to me, but sometimes when it goes to sleep it can drain itself overnight unexpectedly. Plan to plan foiled. I got the free CD and returned to the hostel. At the rooftop patio I met Erin and a few others and we planned to rent a car to tour the island on Friday. It was another early to bed night.
Day 11, Oahu Hawaii (Thursday)
I got up in the morning for a jog on the beach. After my jog I decided to rent a surfboard and take another crack at the sport. Instead of grabbing a beginner board rental for $15 I decided to rent an advanced board for $10. I figured I wouldn’t do well regardless so why not try a different board and save some money. Attempting to surf was fun. I caught a few waves, but wasn’t stable enough to stand up. I worked at it for 45 minutes and the returned the board early.
Then I just laid down and sun bathed form a while. After toasting both sides I got up and decided I’d had enough sun for a bit. I went back to the hostel, took a two hour nap and then a shower.
Refreshed I returned to my quest for WiFi. I grabbed my fully charged laptop and the charger just in case and headed to find a coffee shop. On the way I came across an afternoon farmer’s market. Popping inside I purchased some Apple Bananas, which are about half the size and have a much stronger flavor that does hint of Apple. I then found a guy who was selling squeezed sugar cane grown on the island. While I knew this amounted to basically sugar water I couldn’t resist the novelty. It was quite good. Finally to top off the culinary experience I bought a fresh coconut. The vendor chopped a hole in the top for me to drink the water and I returned after I had drained it to have it chopped in half so I could eat the meat. Then it was time to go take a few sunset photos. I had a shot in mind, but whe I got to the spot I realized that I didn’t have my tripod on me. It was time to improvise. I found a utility box and took photos of catamarans and surfers silhouetted on the sunset. The I found a seattle’s best coffee and gained access to wifi. I can’t remember what I did on the Internet, but I know it was important. Erin messaged me saying that she would not be able to go on the Friday car ride and that her day was a bust, but she was interested in getting dinner.
Apparently people not from the United States have an obsession the The Cheesecake Factory because it was featured in The Big Bang Theory. Erin wanted to have their food at least once so we ordered takeaway (take out). I was full so I just ordered a slice of cheesecake. On the way back we stopped and picked up the rental car. That’s where I made my biggest mistake. Habitually I declined the insurance. I knew it wasn’t right, but went through the motions anyway and got to the hostel. Then I checked my credit car coverage and thought it over, and realized there was no way I should be driving with no third person liability. I called the local agent… answering machine. After 15 minutes I called national and they said I had to show up in person at the rental location to sign documents. Now this rental location is on the second story of a hotel and their garage is in the basement with no nearby parking spots, so my logic dictated I should jog over rather than waste time finding and paying for parking. That was mistake number 2. I got there and the agent responded with a dumbfounded air that although they just checked the car out to me they needed to reinspect it to change the insurance. Duh. The flaw of my logic rang out immediately. Worse the rental agency closed in 20 minutes and the car was parked on the other side of Waikiki at the hostel. Summing up a sprint back to the hostel and a roundtrip drive later I was exhausted. Late to bed early to rise.
That’s all I have out of bulleted list form at the moment.