Believe it or not, I unintentionally planned a one day and night stop over in Hawaii (Honolulu) on my return trip to Seattle. It was awesome! The flight out from Melbourne was pretty uneventful. I had to say goodbye to Mike (and Martina who was accompanying Mike back to the Blue Mountains where she would be flying out from Sydney on Monday and Mike would continue up to the North Coast). It was an interesting time in Australia, filled with mixed adventures. In the end, I was excited to be heading back to Seattle; looking forward to meeting up with old friends. The flight left lots of time to think about what I was leaving. I will miss the Australian birds, most (who knew I would be into birds?), then the climbing (there’s so much of it! and lots for me to come back to). But, when I landed in Hawaii and was literally welcomed home by the customs guy, I was happy. Happy to be nearly home.
What can I say? My day only got better!
I had originally booked a room in a hostel, which turned out to be the exact one I wanted (without knowing when I booked it). I’d packed swim stuff and a towel in a carry on bag just in case my luggage was lost so when I couldn’t check in for my room when I arrived, I just stashed my stuff and headed the one block to the beach. The water was welcoming and the waves were mild. The sun was hot though (it wasn’t even mid-day, yet) so I didn’t linger. On my way back to the hostel, I stopped in to Hans Hedemann’s surf shop. I’d been wanting a formal lesson on surfing and thought this might be a good time to do that. The price was steep but the people were super friendly. I walked away to think about it. Since it was only myself, I’d have a private lesson, which was probably in my favor since I have such an unease with water.
On my way out from the surf shop, I saw the Park Shore Hotel. Thinking that I really preferred to have a room available, now, I stopped in to check what they had and what their rates were. To my surprise, the rate was reasonable and there was a room available right away. The woman at the reception checking me in gave me a discount on a room and then proceeded to give me the best room at that (original) price range. I couldn’t believe it when I opened the door and saw the ocean out from the front windows. I couldn’t have asked for anything more! Well, I could have asked to borrow the luggage cart to retrieve my luggage from the hostel around the corner, but I managed it all to the hotel, myself.
After some lunch, I decided to do the surf lesson if the spot was still available. It was still available so I signed up. To pass some time before the lesson, I stopped in an internet cafe and verified baggage restrictions for my airline. When the time came for my lesson, I was a bundle of nerves. My instructor (can’t remember his name offhand) was really good, but did not fully understand my unease until we were in the water. Getting up on the board was not going to be my problem, as he quickly found out. 🙂 Something I did learn from him about surfing that I did not know before was how to maneauver the board in the water. I had to surf out and then paddle back to him. I also learned that I get up a little too soon. On a philosophical level (he was very philosophical), I learned that I don’t trust myself (hence the panicking in shallow water!) and I freeze under pressure. doh! I had a lot of fun on the water. I got a few long rides and was waaay more comfortable in the water by the end. I was even sad not to have the chance to get out today and try some more! oh well, shouldn’t spoil myself on the warm water just yet. 🙂
After the surf, I decided I would hike to Diamond Head to watch the sunset. I hiked from the hotel to the entrance and started up to the tunnel when I met a guy coming down from the hike. He told me to turn around because the night shift was in place (apparently no longer parks and recreation but the national guard). There was no way I was getting up the volcano today. His name was Climton or something like that. He took the bus up because he had film equipment in a pack (maybe 10lbs worth of stuff) and was probably planning on taking the bus back but ended up walking with me all the way back to Waikiki beach (over 2 miles!). It was nice to have the company.
I caught the sunset on the beach about 40 minutes later, then walked the strip to look for food. I found a nice Sushi restaurante (one with the conveyor belt) and decided I would tempt fate and eat sushi that night. so far, the risk was worth it! i didn’t have an allergic reaction, though I still have to stay away from some of the fish I enjoy eating–just in case.
My night ended with some computer time on my balcony, then some time at the local Starbucks hotspot where Mike found me online and I had a chance to say goodnight and brag about my wonderful day. 🙂 I went to bed the happiest I’d been in a long time. Now, today, life appears back to normal. I’m still in good spirits and I’m about to board my plane enroute to Seattle. Here’s seeing you back on the mainland!