Friday, September 05, 2008
Greetings from Waikiki beach on Oahu, Hawaii.
Monday, just gone, lasted for the longest time. Leaving after my last night in Queensland i got to the airport for 10.30 in the morning, flew to Sydney, waited 4 hours for my onward flight and an additional 3 hours delay before flying out on a 10.5 hour flight to Honolulu. When i landed it was still only 11.30 in the morning, having crossed the international date line, so still within the same day got a decent afternoon in the sun on Waikiki beach after all that travelling.
It is so different here, on the biggest tourist attraction that the USA has to offer. Thousands of holiday makers of all shapes and sizes, huge high rise hotels and appartments and flash shops and malls. It is a really exciting change to be in the thick of it again. Not sure how long it will remain fascinating, but loving it at the moment.
Had a great surf lesson with a wonderful old guy, he had been teaching for 57 years off the same beach and provided the best instruction i have had so far. I went with two other guys that are staying in the same hostel as me.
We hired a car today and headed off for a whirlwind island tour. Snorkelling by 8.45am. Look at the line of people arriving as we departed just before 11. Around the southern point of the island past volcanic rock formations, a very impressive blow hole, golden beaches, sparkelling blue sea and a landscape that changed from crisp brown to lush green as we hit the windward side of the mountains. High rises behind us, the coast rose steeply out of the sea with towering cliffs rising a short way inland. The coastal area dotted with villages, farms and the occasional town. A huge contrast to the towering hotels on the dry sunny side. Stopping at beaches for a swim to cool of or at roadside stalls to pick up exotic fruit snacks and a local garlic shrimp dish on rice for lunch. To the north shore, famous for its huge surfing waves at certain times of the year. Not hugely impressive at present, but far larger than i would attempt yet. It was good to watch the professionals from the beach and to decide which house would be most suitable to live in should the opportunity arise. A small wooden shack on the beach surrounded with palm trees and a bit of a garden would be fine for a while.
The road doesn't quite reach right round the island, but an inland highway cuts through the two mountain ranges to bring us back into Honolulu town just before sunset. We raced up the southwest coast trying to catch the sunset photo opportunity but the traffic was too heavy and the speed limits ridiculously low, failed miserably, but got some wonderful palm tree silhouettes instead.