OYOP: The Island of Oahu, Hawaii
When Karianne started throwing around the idea of leaving me for three weeks to become a yoga teacher with soon-to-be established BFF’s in Hawaii, I found myself wondering what I would do in the world’s most isolated archipelago. What would a 29-year old well into his decline from a below-average high school basketball career be able to do alone in granola-eating, outdoorsy paradise as his wife flourished in the comforts of yoga camp? Hiking sounded like a reasonable option to get back in shape after a week back home of eating crawfish etouffe for breakfast and cookie dough ice cream for lunch. Maybe I could revisit that surfing thing I started to learn back in college on the central coast of California. Or maybe I should do some yoga to impress the wife when she returned to show her that I, too, could do a proper down dog without cursing that my back hurts or I that can’t stretch “that far”. Whatever it was, I felt that I should partake in the healthy living lifestyle that attracts the gaggles of hippies, surfers, and yogis to this former island kingdom.Before I get to that, let me quickly debrief the tens of casual readers of OYOP on our trip home. Karianne and I went home to see two of my best friends get married. Without these two friends, we would never be on this trip. Charlotte first inspired me to travel and get my passport to visit her in South Africa. Wes showed me not to be afraid of backpacking which got me on the idea of biking across Europe (Detailed here). No other friends have had such an impact on me, and probably never will. We both love them dearly and had the best time seeing them and friends and family for a quick week before continuing on our journey. We camped out the night of the wedding and spent all night exchanging stories of old and new. I saw friends that I had not seen in years which beats Machu Picchu any day. A lot more happened, then off we went!
We had a long flight to the 50th state, but luckily had lounge access in LAX to sip free wine, eat pasta, and watch golf. We each used 22,500 Alaska Airline miles to get here and paid $18 each in fees. (Don’t have lounge access? Then get the AMEX Platinum card to get free access to hundreds of lounges. And don’t be afraid of the $450 annual fee, because $400 of that can be refunded in various ways. Google it for better advice.) After landing, we spent about 12 hours at an Airbnb condo before I went to Waikiki and Karianne went to her yoga teacher training on the Big Island. We said our goodbyes, and then that was it. I was alone in paradise.Most people come to Hawaii with their significant other to spend a romantic holiday. Honeymooners line the streets and pack the ABC Stores on each block buying sunscreen (aloe vera for those who were too late). I decided to spend three days on Oahu at the Waikiki Beach House Boutique Hostel before heading to the other islands. For around $35 a night, I was in a 4-bed dorm with an ensuite bathroom and A/C. Really not too bad for what I expected. Not quite the experience that most of my 29-year-old peers were having, but I would make-do. I figured I would spend about a week each on three of the other islands, so a quick 3 days in Honolulu would suffice.
In short, Waikiki is not for me. There is no reason to fly half away across the pacific to hang out in Waikiki. If you have ever been to the following locations, then you, too, have been to Waikiki:
- Los Angeles
- Las Vegas
- Downtown Disney
- Orlando, FL
- Destin, FL
- All of Florida, for that matter
With that said, I spent my first day wandering the streets so that I could at least be intelligently against the place. I quickly realized that I did not fly to the middle of the Pacific to hear Glenn and Amy from Wichita complain that they did not get the honeymoon package that they expected. I painfully had some salty Burger King (remember: backpacking budget here) while looking at the gourmet food pictures Karianne had sent me from her organic meal, hoping that my eyes could trick my tongue.