Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oakland to Waikiki

How can I even describe the trip? It's hard for me to put my finger on it; I've been trying for the past few days to figure out what to say and how I felt while I was there. Those 6 days felt almost like a lifetime in a whole new place of discovery. Yes, there were *lots* of similarities between California, but underneath it all there was a completely different feeling. Maybe that was just the tourism industry being nice and encouraging, but it was something more than that. It was a good feeling, that's the only way I can describe it. It was easily the best trip I've ever taken. I feel genuinely refreshed and maybe slightly even enlightened by the differences.

The flight there we had to transfer in Maui. Later on we agreed that this was a Good Thing because the first look of Hawaii was calm, peaceful, and green. And an airport that looks like it hasn't been remodeled since the 70's. It looked wonderful. Of course, we were staying on Oahu. A 40 minute flight later and we were in the city.

It wasn't a bad feeling, just so very familiar. I wanted to go someplace completely different, but then there was just a city, one that looked like the one I could drive across a bridge to see. I was disappointed at first, but then I remembered that I shouldn't be an asshole, so I started reveling the fact that I was on vacation, and farther west than I've ever been. The hotel room was comfortable, and there was a manager's reception the next day with free drinks. Things were looking up.

We bought some essentials at an ABC Store (sorta like 7-11 and Safeway rolled into one), peanut butter and guava jelly, macademia nuts, bus passes, shaving cream, deodorant (important), water, and, after eyeing an Aloha shirt, I decided I'd find a better price later. We then walked along the beach in a vague search for the international marketplace. It was a wonderful walk, a little daring at times when the steps to parts of the walkway had eroded, but that just made everything more interesting.

Tired and cranky from walking far and not finding the place, we randomly turned left towards the main city blocks, and right across the street we saw a sign. "International Marketplace. Aloha!" So there you have it, the first of countless times where Monica's sense of direction comes in invaluable.

The marketplace was terrific! I could have bartered my heart out there if I wanted to buy gifts the first day there (who does that?) or if I needed a piece of flowery luggage. Also, I don't really know how to barter, so that kinda made it moot. Nevertheless, the marketplace was certainly something we enjoyed. Plus, it had food and we were hungry from our walk. Coconut Willy's beckoned.

At the finest eating establishment known to man, there was a band playing classic rock songs with amazing enthusiasm and foggy knowledge of the words. We had fruity drinks and I had a teryaki burger. I forget what Monica had. Probably fish and chips. Good food and good drinks - then came the interesting part. The bill.

I had heard horror stories about the prices in Hawaii. Everyone had told me how expensive things are there. I waited with baited breath. Would taxes have made it huge? Would our own love of fruity drinks have caused the bill to skyrocket? Why don't they print the prices of drinks anyway?! WHY?! OH DEAR GOD. HERE IT COMES! HOLD ME. Huh, that isn't so bad. That's not bad at all. I would even wager that's pretty good. For once, living with Bay Area prices has paid off. The tax there is cheaper, just so you know.

Full and satisfied, we headed back down Waikiki and to the Aqua Palms. Our theory was to maybe go for a swim in the pool or ocean, but I ended up falling asleep at 8:30.

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