What do you do when you are on exchange to Vancouver and have a so called reading break? You decide to go to a sunny island everybody dreams about and that is far, far away from where you usually live. And that’s what my fellow Austrian exchangies and lovely people from the Netherlands, France and Australia did.
So our journey to Oahu, Hawaii began in the evening of the Thursday before reading break. Responsible and forward-looking as I am, I posponed packing to the day of departure and spent the night before going out and – together with Wolfi – carrying a “tired” friend of a friend to his residence until 5 in the morning. Well, unplaned social gatherings are always the best.
Anyways, we did get our stuff packed, got Christine through the US border control and finally arrived at Seattle International airport. Spirits were up and some fiercely fought UNO battles began. I mean, what else would you do on a small little airport, where everything except Starbucks is closed, the seats have armrests so as to make nobody feel comfortable and your flight leaves at 6 am, with check-in starting at 4? See, that was my point.
Well, some hours later, we were finally sitting in the airplane, where I fell asleep quickly, as I always do in my famous sleeping position – sitting, mouth wide opened. However, my dreams of white sand and clear water were suddenly interrupted by a message that sounded through the speakers. Technical difficulties, unboard the airplane (unboard means “get out of here”, for more about airline language watch George Carlin), wait a so-called “hour”.
Hours later we were still stranded at the airport, messages from Delta were spare and not satisfying. But finally, as we had already missed our connection flight in Salt Lake City, they gave us a new flight. And what flight they gave us.
From Seattle to Atlanta with an overnight stay in the Renaissance Hotel and a first class flight to Honolulu on the ensuing day. I leave it to you to calculate CO2 emissions and time wasted. On Saturday at 4 pm, some 24 hours late, we finally arrived on Oahu.
After being surprised by the rather strong wind checking into our 8 bedroom hostel room, we did what everybody does at Waikiki Beach: We enjoyed the sunset. However, enjoying doesn’t really fit my experience. I wasn’t touched. I wasn’t relaxing. I wasn’t really enjoying the surroundings, I didn’t let it “in”. I was more in the 24/7, “did that” “done that” mode that so often makes us walk around more or less unattanding to great things that pass by left and right. I didn’t even take my camera with me. Coming back to the hostel, we saw a rather unsurprising picture. A little beer pong tournament going on in the parking lot. North America is really into drinking games.
No, we didn’t join the tournament, but the night was still short, thanks to Conny, who dragged us to Sandy Beach at 10 am. Swimming at Sandy Beach more or less equals drowning. However, watching bodysurfers and finally open the inner eye to the surroundings was better anyway.
Another short night later, we united with our friends from UBC, lovely people from the Netherlands, France and Australia, to take the bus to Hanauma Bay, a natural reserve maybe half an hour outside of Honolulu.
After watching a short instructional video you are allowed to snorkle with beautiful fish between coralls that had built in the former vulcano crater. I will never forget the feelings I had when I suddenly found myself swimming side by side with a sea turtle. I am not a good swimmer – actually I am a bad swimmer – and I am not necessarily a big fan of the things that are going on in your average ocean, but this was amazing. Seeing this lovely animal diving calmly made me smile. Not exactly a good idea when you are wearing a snorkle, but still.
Yet another long night and delicious food at a Thai restaurant later, we started the next day lying at Waikiki Beach, 2 minutes away from our Hostel. It was only two days before our departure to Vancouver. And I had finally arrived. Enjoying clouds, enjoying the rain, enjoying the blue sky, enjoying the sand, enjoying everything and nothing. There I am, wondering what life is about, about priorities and the luck I have to see more of the world than most of the people in my age. To enjoy the company of lovely people from all around the world, that inspire me and always make me want to know more, see more and feel more.
And as always when you whish something would never end, you see the end standing 2 feet in front of you. So we rented a little car and planned our second to last day on Oahu.
Starting from our Hostel on Waikiki Beach we drove basically all across the Island, always following the coast, with it’s amazing beaches and venues. We ended way up in Mokuleia, where the road turned into a rocky way with too many holes to actually move on.
As you can see, the trip was definitely worth it. Even though there were no big waves on the north shore, even though Pearl Harbor was already closed when we arrived and it started to rain heavily; Even though they played Rihanna about 1000 times on the radio it was an amazing last day.
And there it was, departure day. Diamond Head, the mountain top viewpoint right next to Waikiki beach was closed, so we decided to use the Hawaii backup option number one: spending the final hours on the beach, letting our minds wander and enjoying the time.
Eventually, the place where we were headed to wasn’t one to have bad feelings about.