So in March I went to see my brother in Honolulu on O'ahu finally. He'd been living there for a while and I owed him a visit. Now luckily I used my frequent flyer miles so the flight cost me nothing and I only had to pay "only" $50 for an "expedite" fee and the charges incurred while I was there.
I didn't grow up with my brother as you probably know already but we're cool with each other now. But I really look up to him a lot now. He's very intelligent and one of those people I can ask just about any question and he'll give me an informed answer in response. I'm always impressed. And so he did an excellent job guiding me around Hawaii and teaching me what he had learned about it during his studies and time spent there. I had an awesome time during the week+ I stayed with him. So thanks, bro, for being patient and generous with me.
Okay well first of all, this isn't really a big deal since nothing happened, but for once I got two flights where I sat next to cute chicks. I mean, honestly, I'm almost ALWAYS sitting next to some old person who loves to chat about REALLY boring stuff. And who doesn't notice that you've lost interest completely. Except for this one time when I sat next to this really cool old woman whose husband was a writer for a paper in Stockholm and who wrote up articles about car shows and shit, so she got to travel with him and test drive all the newest cars all the time. She was really sweet, and of course her English was superb even though she was Swedish.
Anyway. I arrived in Honolulu late and met up with my bro. We then drove to Waikiki and walked around for a bit. FULL of college kids and Asians. People always warn you about how it may shock you to be around almost all Asians...but I'm part Asian so at least I somewhat look the part. That always helps.
We ate dinner at a Thai restaurant which had some delicious spicy chicken. As I was 4 hours ahead and 9 hours of a flight away, I crashed.
We decided to hit Pearl Harbor first. It was interesting seeing all the subs and surveillance boats and helicopters and other classes of ships in the same area as a beautiful harbor and...the Aloha Bowl. I wonder if one of the subs we saw in the harbor was the one that hit the Japanese trawler just a few days before. We went on the U.S.S. Missouri first of all, which is a decommissioned battleship that was used most recently in Desert Storm. I'd never been on a military ship before and I was blown away by the quality of design. It really is a feat of engineering. Giant guns, phalanx installations, interior room layout, flexibility. There were some Japanese tourists on the boat and I wonder how mixed their feelings would be about the whole thing.
We then went on the Bowfin, a very old submarine. I haven't been on the new classes of submarine (those Virginia class subs look tight!) but these old ones must have been a bitch to be on. VERY cramped (the newer ones are better) and very primitive equipment. In one storage room we saw boxes full of vacuum tubes! Man oh man... The guys who took these subs out to sea had major balls.
We went to the submarine museum nearby afterwards, then later drove to the furthest western point on O'ahu to catch the sunset, Yokohama Bay. It was covered up by clouds but the drive was pleasant and I got to see a lot of smaller towns. That most of the population in Hawai'i is probably centered in Honolulu-Waikiki and the rest is very sparse and spread out across the islands is weird to think about. Especially since Honolulu seems so small to begin with.
When we got home and chilled out, I watched some dumbass Oprah Winfrey movie while I ate. (my bro only had ABC at the time) Okay, huh-ney, you can go do yo' thang, but enough with the movies about a daughter getting raped by her male teacher as she thinks she loves him and then she refuses to talk to her mom because her mom made her break up with him and then the mother tells her daughter that she too was raped by a guy and then they bond and do this lovefest male-bashing thing. And this was just on ABC. I can just imagine what they play on Lifetime 24/7. Men are always evil! Men are always wrong! It is okay to feel what you're feeling right now, because men are pigs!
On Monday we drove up the east coast and along the north coast, stopping to bodysurf on this one beach that had a nice flat sandy shore. Later in the afternoon we made it to some of the bigger surfing spots along the north shore. I told my brother if I were to live in Hawai'i, it would be if I were a surfer. The whole area seems to be full of apartments for surfers who just hit the beach all day. Plenty of hot women and big waves around. I would love to be a surfer. Although I've never even been on a skateboard before. Hmm, must buy one!
As it got dark we ate at Kua Aina, some burger joint nearby in Waimanalo, then cut through the middle of O'ahu and past the pineapple plantations owned by Dole to go back home. You could smell the sweet pineapple in the air.
Late at night we went to a restaurant where there was a drum and bass and hiphop event. Listened to some quality beats and left when the place closed.
The next day we took a quick flight down to the Big Island, Hawai'i. The airport near Kona is really cool because it's so small. Most of it is outside and you walk out to the plane. Always nice weather, I guess they don't need fancy buildings... Very relaxed and quiet. We rented a car and then after stopping into the King Kamehemeha hotel in Kona we drove north a bit and found an out-of-the-way beach called Kua Bay which was perfectly flat and empty and great for some more bodysurfing. We had to walk across a good stretch of lava rock to get there, plus it wasn't a big place on the map, so only a few hardcore people were there.
We stopped at Fu'ukohola Heiau and looked at some old Hawai'ian temples.
Then we drove further north up to Pololu Valley Lookout, so we had a spectacular view of a huge valley and the ocean. Both of us were pretty tired after that so we drove back and caught a basketball game on TV before going to sleep.
Wednesday we took a LONG drive. We went up to the Onizuka visitor center on Mauna Kea, a big mountain on the island, and read up on the astronomical observatory stationed at the very top. It was interesting following a military convoy as it passed through military property where people were conducting drills, then driving higher and going through fog and then reappearing in a much dryer climate where nothing much was growing, then going back down to warmth and greenery.
We stopped in Hilo on the other side of the island for some lunch, then continued to the south part of the island to Kilauea, where we hiked out across huge huge cooled lava flows to catch a glimpse of live lava flowing as the sun went down. It was something to look out over the top of the ridge and see nothing but black lava going right down into the ocean. It felt like one of the most remote places in the world, like Hell almost. And it was! The southernmost point of the southernmost point in the U.S. with nothing for a long way in any direction.
Our last day on Hawai'i, we went snorkeling near Captain Cook, at Honaunau Bay. I saw fish of all colors, but no sharks. Further out, there were some spinner dolphins swimming around all afternoon, named for their jumping out of the water and spinning in the air. Right next to this bay was the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park, which used to be royal grounds. A kahuna was there, wearing just a loincloth, and waded into the water full of large turtles. Very cool. Later that night we flew home, and then listened to some drum and bass at a sushi bar.
Back in Honolulu we had lunch with a friend of Daniel's in Chinatown. Then we walked around town, saw the royal palace, then drove up to Diamondhead to see some of the surfing from up high above. Being tired, we took the rest of the day off.
Saturday we drove up to Pali lookout, which is on top of one of the ridges where Kamehameha drove opposing forces straight off the cliff to their deaths. Brutal. Afterwards we drove to the north side of the island and did some bodysurfing at Bellows Beach Park, a beach only open on the weekends since the land is owned by the military.
My last day, we drove back up to the north shore and watched some kitesurfers get huge 20 foot air off waves, then hiked out to the northwest point a bit before turning back because of hunger. Then I packed up and said goodbye to Daniel at the airport. The flight's movie was that Oscar-nominated Laura Linney one. Don't ask me how it was nominated, or how Gladiator won best picture. We wuz robbed! Traffic should've won!
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