This one time, I went to Hawai’i.
But before you get too excited, it was for work, and I barely saw anything but the inside of the conference hall and my hotel room. One day, about 7 days into my trip, I managed to stumble outside and see the sun for the first time since my arrival.
I did try to make the most of my limited free time, however. I filled up a handful of evenings and one full day with trips to the beach, sunset cocktails, bowls of poké, midnight ocean swimming, and an epic bus ride to the North Shore to buy a locally handmade ukulele.
On the one hand, Honolulu is one of the most touristy places I’ve ever been. Walking down Waikiki strip is like walking through an American mall that has just been decorated to look like what people think Hawai’i should look like. On the other hand, taking the city bus through the city and beyond, I saw more homelessness and signs of addiction than I’ve ever seen. One guy even came and sat next to me on the bus, and he was vaping something and having loud psychotic outbursts – taking a disliking to a completely innocent gentleman in a nearby seat. After yelling and acting crazy, he eventually just got up and walked off the bus, to everyone’s relief. The bus ride also took me past both the biggest jail and the biggest army base I’ve ever seen, as well as pineapple fields spreading from horizon to horizon. Even in Hawai’i, America goes big or goes home, I guess.
At least the sweet baby ukulele I bought was 110% worth it. Imua concert size, made with Hawaiian Koa wood from the big island, with geared tuning pegs and abalone inlays… It is now my favorite thing in the world. Also, what’s up with all the rainbows, Honolulu? I thought the whole rainbow-over-palm-trees-tropical-island thing was bit of an exaggeration, but I think there was literally a rainbow in the sky at least once a day.
I’d love to go back and visit some of the other islands, have a full luau, maybe take a ukulele master class or do some scuba diving. Next time, I guess!