Posted by: HelenRortvedt | 9 December 2007

Aloha!

So, the winter season here at ACE California has been a bit slow, and projects have basically finished up earlier than expected. So, what does Helen do with spare time on her hands on the West Coast? Fly even farther west, of course! Two friends and I found a cheap plane ticket to paradise and I visited my 41st state in Hawaii. (Ironically, 5 out of the remaining 9 states yet-to-be-visited-by-Helen are on the East Coast–ME, VT, NH, RI & CT. The other four are ID, NV, OR and, of course, AK).

We arrived late at night in Honolulu and were escorted by a regular taxi service (which, occasionally means a stretch limo on Honolulu) into the depths of Waikiki…perhaps the world’s most famous beach. Rife with 4 & 5 star hotels, expensive bars and shops and surf shops, Wakiki has exploded into a tourist Mecca–a far cry from it’s origin as a small surfing community just outside Honolulu. A note: all of the sand that graces the Waikiki beachfront has to be shipped in from other parts of Hawaii and even from as far afield as Australia. Waikiki is, ehem, not my scene. However, given the late hour of our arrival and the status of our bank accounts, we were left with no choice than to find cheap accommodation in a hostel/apartment in the heart of Waikiki.

We spent our first full day on Oahu (appropriately meaning “The Gathering Place” in Hawaiian) navigating TheBus–Honolulu’s extensive public transport network of buses and a few commuter boats. $2 will get you a few miles through downtown, or a 4-hour trip circling the whole island. We made our way out to Pearl Harbor and were able to visit the poignant memorial constructed over the sunken wreckage-turned-burial-ground. An informative (and not Jerry-Bruckheimer’ed) video preceeded the short boat trip out to the memorial.

On Monday evening, we met up with our local host from CouchSurfing.com. Maria was born and raised on Oahu and was an excellent host/tour guide/friend. We were lucky enough to crash with her for the rest of the week after our plans to visit the North Shore were scrapped by a violent windstorm on Tuesday night that felled telephone poles all over the island, and consequently rendering many of the roads around the island impassible.

Determined not to be defeated by the road closures, we set out to explore the Honolulu area and the Windward coast further. The sleepy towns of Kailua and Lanikai were perfect spots to relax, wander and swim the days away. We were able to take a few hikes up to scenic spots and through the rainforest to a waterfall.

All in all, our week on the island was relaxing and warm–despite the rainy season showers that appeared regularly. We arrived back in Oakland on Friday night tanned, and filled with good memories. We may not have experienced many of the typical Oahu sights/activities due to the storm, but something’s got to be left for a future trip, right? 🙂

I’m back in Santa Cruz now for a few more days, and will probably head up to San Francisco for my last few days in CA. I fly back East on Saturday morning. It’s been a great trip to the West, even if it was not exactly how I envisioned it to be. Had a lot more free time, but that just allowed me to explore even more, and that is hard to complain about!

Hope all is well with you all. And, enjoy some images from Hawaii below!

Our Honolulu Taxi. No joke.

The USS Arizona Memorial. Pearl Harbor.

The Wall of Remembrance.

They have palm trees in Hawaii.

Sunrise in Lanikai.

Kailua Beach Park.

Ahhhh…

Coolest Santa ever.
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