Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu
30.05.2017 - 05.06.2017 35 °C
On Tuesday 30th May, after what seemed like forever, we landed in Hawaii. In actual fact, we went back in time. We had left New Zealand at 7am on 30th, travelled for 24 hours, with a stop in Australia and arrived in Hawaii at 6am on 30th. It was enough to mess with us and even resulted in us booking our accommodation for the wrong dates. Luckily, as we do, we checked and double checked and realised our mistake in time to fix it.
So anyway, we arrived at the airport and instantly noticed that the weather was great. Like I mentioned, it was pretty early and so we needed to kill some time before heading to our hostel. Rather than pay for a taxi, we decided to get a bus. It was good because it meant that we got to see a little bit more of Oahu Island on the way. On our way to Waikiki, where we were staying, we noticed LOADS of homeless people in bus stops, parks and just generally on the street. It didn't really paint the backdrop which we expected, I must admit. Regardless of that, we both stayed in pretty high spirits. We got off the bus and still had a fair way to go, so we decided to walk and have a look around on the way. We passed some beautiful shopping malls and the streets just had the American feel going on. We were pretty hungry and so decided to stop off for some breakfast at a typical American/Hawaiian diner.
After the walk and our breakfast, it still wasn't yet time to checkin to our hostel, so we decided to change our clothes in a toilet and leave our bags in storage until we could check in. What better way to kill some time, then to head down to the beach where we could catch some serious ray's. So off we went on our merry way's. 'No rhyme intended'
It is fair to say that we may have slightly overdone it. By the time we were able to check in, I was pretty red and Paul had enjoyed quite a few local beers. The room was decent. We had booked a semi private room, which was basically a double room with a shared bathroom and kitchen area. We dumped our stuff in the room and decided to go for a walk to find our way around. We stopped off at a food pantry and got some bits to make for dinner during our stay, rather than eating out for every meal.
That night, I cooked a chicken dinner and we pretty much recovered from our antics. I was a little burnt so didn't feel like I was up for much.
... 5 seconds later
The next morning, we woke up pretty early and could hear the beach calling our names. We quickly had some breakfast which was included at our hostel. It was simple toast or oats but decent. I had decided that it would be best for me to stay in the shade at the beach because I was pretty burnt from the previous day. This time, the beach was super busy and the sun was placed in a position which didn't create much shade. We chose a beautiful spot on the grass, just by the beach, but had placed ourselves between two lots of crazy people. We quite quickly realised after arriving in Hawaii that tonnes of people were on drugs and pretty much all of the homeless people we spotted appeared to have been on one thing or another. Being big fans of documentaries, we had learned quite a bit about the Crystal Methanthetamine problem in America. Well, Hawaii's problem is at an all time high. Seriously, neither of us had seen anything like it. It made for quite an uncomfortable place to spend time as people who take this drug become very aggressive and unpredictable. It was quite strange to see so much of it on the streets, especially considering that the law there is pretty strict. For example, you could not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes on the beach. In fact, I found it pretty hard to find anywhere to smoke. Restaurants and bars didn't have a designated smoking area and most places didn't allow smoking within 20 meters, or a big fine could follow. There are also strict laws on jaywalking (crossing the road anywhere other than a designated crossing place) or even roller blading down the road. Waikiki was a pretty place for sure, but it wasn't quite what I expected. It didn't bother us too much as we were only after the weather really. We actually only ended up booking Hawaii as it was cheaper to stop here for a couple of days, than to get a direct flight from New Zealand to Canada, but if you had booked Hawaii as a holiday alone, I think people would be pretty disappointed by how the streets generally were.
That being said, we decided to go for a walk and check out some of the shops just up the road from the beach. We found some really nice designer shops and around this area, you found less homeless people. It was a bit more of a comfortable experience and obviously, being me, shopping just felt good 😏 we walked around for quite a while, browsing in and out of the shops. Paul bought himself a new jacket for when we arrive in a colder country and I got myself a new bikini which I loved 👙.
After a long day of shopping, we took a slow stroll back to our accommodation and ended up staying there for the rest of the day. I was exhausted from the sun and generally exploring Waikiki. Besides, the next day we had plans to get up super early.
We decided to visit the WW2 Valour in the Pacific. It is a museum honouring events, sites and people of the Pacific who died or were in anyway affected by the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II (December 7, 1941). It opened at 7am and gave the first 1,300 people in line, free entry, but places went very fast and it was at least an hour away from us on the bus, so we were up at 5:30 and ready. We were at the bus stop for 5:50 and the bus was a little early so we were lucky. When we arrived, the queue was huge! We weren't sure if we would be within the first lot, but the queue went down pretty fast and we were in for free. We also had entry to the Arizona memorial for free, which was really good for such a famous, meaningful experience. We decided to pay a little more for the audio tour and glad we did because we learnt so much. The museums there were amazing! It really was such an experience. I cried multiple times watching and listening to different exhibits. It really was brilliant and so informative. What got me most of all was watching a short film which showed some of the survivors talking about the events. One man in particular (who was only 17 back in 1941) went in to detail about how he was only able to send a very short message home and to only one parent, so he was torn between his mother and father and who he could tell 'I'm okay'. Honestly, I am writing this about 2 weeks later from our visit and it gives me a lump in my throat thinking about how heart wrenching the whole experience was.
Another big heart wrenching moment at the museum is the visit to the Arizona memorial. You catch a boat over to the Arizona memorial from Pearl Harbor. The memorial marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on USS Arizona (BB-39) during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. More than half of the men who died during the attack, died on board the Arizona memorial, or trying to escape the ship which was surrounded by fire. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oʻahu led to the United States' direct involvement in World War II. The USS Arizona ship was never recovered from the bottom of Pearl Harbor and is directly beneath the memorial, so technically, when you visit, you are visiting a cemetery. Within the memorial, there is also a guide who tells you all about the history and a wall which contains the names of all of the soldiers who were lost. Many of the soldiers who survived the attack on Pearl Harbour have since requested that their names be added alongside the men who they consider their brothers once they also die, which means that the list is still growing. Like I said, it really is an emotional place to visit. There is also still oil floating up from the sunken ship. Each drop is referred to as the soldiers/marines tears.
We spent the majority of the day at the museum and were exhausted by the time we went to get the bus back. We got back to our hostel and could have passed out but I had read about a dance/music performance down at the beach that evening and so we decided to drag ourselves back out. We watched on as a small band and Hula girl danced, sang and told us some stories about Hawaii and its history. It was actually really fun to watch. There were loads of people there watching and we stayed for quite a while.
The next day, I was good to go to the beach once again. we relaxed there for a good few hours and topped up our tans. Once again, we noticed a few weirdo's lurking around. Nobody bothered us, more than anything it made for an unfortunate bit of entertainment. :s After we were all sun bathed out we decided to head back to our room and relax. Not much more of any interest to report really. Paul had a couple of drinks, we ordered some rubbish food. It was the worst burger I have ever tried, from a 'Teddy's Bigger Burgers'. NEVER GO THERE!!! No wonder, America has such a bad level of obesity. This place alone could be to blame. I do not understand how it was so busy there. The burgers were served in a box which had a puddle of fat at the bottom, literally about an inch deep. It makes me heave thinking about it. Anyway, we watched a few TV episodes (Blacklist) and then went to bed.
On our last day we pretty much woke up, went for breakfast, got everything ready to leave and caught the bus to the airport. We had to wait for quite a while at the airport. FYI Honolulu airport is not very good. It is a rough place to have to kill some time.
Leaving Honolulu, we have very mixed feelings. Obviously, the place is beautiful, Its a dream! But it's people need help. I don't have any answers for how to do it. But somebody needs to find some, because the Hawaii known to the world as a paradise is fast becoming something very different. You want to visit? I wouldn't recommend it to be quite honest. If you are happy to stay in a plush hotel and barely venture out then yes, but who really doesn't want to explore on holiday?. Maybe the other Hawaiian Islands may have more to offer, I don't really know. I would be more than happy to visit them and find out. But for now we still have quite a few places to visit on our dream come true journey.
Next stop, Canada, the place I have been looking forward to the most since we planned our trip. XD
Bye bye Hawaii, you were beautiful xxx