It’s funny looking back now at the first leg of our trip, when we’re actually at the tail end of our second. I’m currently sitting at San Francisco airport, about to board another red eye flight. Tomorrow morning we’ll be in NYC– my all time favourite–but albeit extremely exhausted. So instead of thinking about the small amount of asleep we may or may not get, I think I’ll tell y’all a bit about our time in Hawaii.
It’s funny how time seems to just totter along when you’re experiencing something new and different, but then all of a sudden you’re looking back at what happened and it’s a bit like, how did I even get here? Sort of like driving and daydreaming.
Our first day on Oahu was pure magic for us. Back home, winter had dragged its frigid limbs for far too long. We were desperate for sun and salt. We landed at about 7 am and the humidity welcomed us as we sweated through border control in our jeans, jumpers, boots and all the layers we couldn’t quite fit in our bags. Entry went fairly smoothly, Abel does have to exit the country for some amount of time (possibly 30 days), regardless that he has a five year visa but, hey, what can you do? It definitely effects our overall plans, but we’ll make the most of it: a month in Canada won’t be terrible.
After picking up our little silver whip and hopping into the wrong side of the car, we drove straight to the north shore where our airbnb was. A quick stop at Foodland was necessary, only because we forgot to pack some essential beach items: towels and sunscreen (which unfortunately both ended up in the bin on our last day, due to a lack of room in the suitcases). Then we headed straight to the beach: Waimea Bay, where we spent a decent amount of time dipping in the water and exposing our pale, tired bodies to the UV rays. Abel then asked me if I was hungry (his way of telling me that he’s hungry), and I was a little desperate for a decent sandwich. Two turkey, bacon and cheeses and the little girl inside of me was begging for a root beer. It went down a treat for me, but Abel took a big swig, scrunched up his nose and said it tasted like the smell of danker rub: “If you like that, you would love the footy change rooms”. I seriously doubt that.
The next few days pretty much consisted of beaching, eating, drinking, some walking and exploring.
The infamous Diamond Head Monument walk was something we had to tick off the list. It was only slightly shitty because of the intense humidity. Rain had been predicted that day and it definitely came, heavy yet sporadic. It pretty much down poured the entire hour-long drive to the other side of the island, until we drove straight into a clear patch that circled our destination. Afterwards we rewarded ourselves with a much deserved tiki pineapple drink (served in a real pineapple). Then it rained the entire drive back to the north shore, except for our short visit to the Shrimp Shack for lunch. I don’t normally do much seafood (only a bit of fish and that’s pretty recent), but these spicy garlic prawns were to die for. No wonder this truck had killer reviews. I was thinking the holiday gods were really working in our favour weather wise, until the next day.
The rain continued to come and go all the next morning. It arrived in full sheets just as we pulled up to the bay, but this only taught me one thing: the rain doesn’t deter the Hawaiians. Nor its visitors. We ran to the sand in nothing but our swimmers, no point getting our towels wet, right? And there were people still laying there, sunbaking. Barely flinching at the crying skies. Tourists were still fighting over car parks and we were just looking at each other, questioning everyone’s level of crazy. Back home the rain locks everyone indoors, but not here. Everyone just waited patiently for it to pass, not even bothered that it had come at all. We made a sneaky exit to the Waimea Valley botanical gardens and falls across the road on this particular morning. For the first part of the walk, we followed the historical plant guy, Dave. Abel was in nature heaven; this guy knew every little detail about every plant’s origins and needs for pollination. It was actually rather interesting, but we were moving along at a serious glacial pace and wouldn’t have made it to the falls for another week or two, so we split off and finished the tour on our own.
We were lucky our airbnb had a perfectly equipped kitchenette. Money was saved by cooking breakfast every morning and the occasional dinner. Majority of our meals were enjoyed at the cluster of food trucks up the road. Probably about five or six different cuisines all adjacent to each other; it was perfect for my indecisiveness. Abel and I could get whatever we wanted, but still enjoy dinner together with a sunset in the distance: purples and blues, with streaks of citrus, all painted behind a few lanky palms. I remember that first night we ate with such a calming quality. This was the beginning, day one. The thought of ‘work’ wasn’t going to dawn on us anytime soon and bring us back to reality. This was our reality for now. At least for the next four evenings. After that it would consist of something similar, perhaps with a varying backdrop.
We drove back across the island a couple of times. On our way back from the Diamond Head walk, Abel had spotted a trail in the distance, climbing up a mountain across from Hanauma Bay. He said we would come back in the next day or two, attempt it and then snorkel. To me, it looked like an impossible 90-degree trek. I wasn’t interested. Walking constantly ‘up’ just didn’t really appeal to me. I lost. So we climbed the old Koko Head Tramline. I have no idea how in the world a tram could have made it up this mountain, nor why it needed to. But now it was used for hundreds of tourists to climb and shed tears on. I was really out of my comfort zone, before we even got to the bottom of the walk. I hate heights.
The first part of the trek was just a lot of broken wooden sleepers acting as steps, with a few cinderblocks thrown in here and there for balance. The path looks steep, then kind of flat, and then unbelievably steep– more like climbing up a ladder. The flat section looked like a dream. Turns out it was a fucking nightmare. The sleepers laid flat over a 1-2 metre drop which isn’t high for many, but plenty for me. Abel’s really calming and encouraging in these situations. I had already moved to the side, repeatedly said that “I couldn’t do it”, convinced and partially happy that the walk was over for me, but still panting from non-stop steps and height anxiety. Abel told me I was fine, I’d be fine and that I could do it– no shame, just crawl on your hands and knees. And I did. I hated every moment of it, but I made it. Even the 90- degree ladder part too.
To be honest, we got to the top, surrounded by sweaty delirious humans and I was thinking: is this it? We climbed that for this?! Meanwhile, Abel is calling my name telling me to walk further up and around the corner and I’m thinking, I ain’t walking anywhere. I finally got off my ass and followed him and there it was, sprawling out beneath us: mountain ridges, beaches, and ocean. Lots of ocean with another island settling on the horizon. Ok, so it was kind of worth it.
That afternoon we also went to Hanauma Bay, which is a bit of a novelty for tourists. I was expecting epic snorkelling and my hopes deflated slowly, over the course of the hour or two it took to finally get down to the bay. It’s a fair mission to get in and down there– once you’ve watched your nine minute intro/safety video and queued up for your snorkelling gear–but then the water was seriously murky and lacking in fish. I saw a handful. Plus Abel is an experienced diver and I’ve snorkelled maybe twice. I had a blocked nose too, so that put a damper on things. It really wasn’t worth it and I wish Abel had told me sooner that he’d already been here before and thought the same things as me. I was expecting flourishing colours and an array of bright fishes and coral. That was not there.
All in all though, it was perfect. Our mind and bodies were thirsty for summer notions. Time was gradual and kind and we did all the beaching, eating, reading and drinking that we needed. Not that I could ever really get enough of those things.
The weather’s been exceptionally pleasant during our time in San Fran and Lafayette. I’ll be back at some point to talk about it. But, for now, get me a slice of that NY pizza (cause I don’t eat enough pizza as it is).
PS. If you made it to the end, hurray, and consider yourself lucky because my first draft was almost twice the size of this post. I also wanted to include photos (as I plan to be doing with most posts), but for some reason they wouldn’t upload and this would’ve sat in my drafts for too long.