Our flight to Honolulu with Fiji Airways was delayed by 4hrs. Luckily we were informed by our travel agency about the late departure in advance so we didn’t have to linger around at Faleolo Airport (with its only-3-gates infrastructure, it reminds you more of a kiosk than a proper international airport. Just a comparison: Zurich Airport has 67 Gates). When we finally boarded, everyone seated and ready to take off, the captain announced a further delay. The ground staff had to unload some cargo before we could depart because the plane exceeded its maximum take-off weight (what’s going on here eh?). Anyway, we arrived Honolulu after a smooth flight at 5 c’clock in the morning instead of midnight but we didn’t worry too much about that: We departed Samoa on Friday night, but since we have crossed the date line during our flight, when we arrived at Hawaii it was again Friday the 22nd of May 2015 early morning so we got the entire day back J. As we sat in the cab to get to our hostel in Waikiki dawn has broken and the sky started to brighten. We didn’t bother much about the two guys sleeping in our 4-share room and went for a short nap until 9am.
The next day we got up and met our room mate. He introduced himself and Roman asked immediately “are you from Germany or Switzerland?” – his name was Hans, a more common name in German speaking region. Yeap, the other side of the world and the Swiss reunited J the next few days we basically spent time around Waikiki area. This place does live up to its reputation with long beaches, big waves for lots surfers and many Asian tourists, mainly Japanese. In Waikiki or Honolulu you can get Japanese food everywhere, probably even more than burgers! A hike up to the Diamond Head which allows an overview of Waikiki and Honolulu is a must when you are in Oahu. Oh boy, was the view amazing! We also explored Honolulu downtown and Chinatown, which were not that spectacular. The food in Chinatown of course did not disappoint us, but you could tell that this place used to be much busier than it is now. The Foster botanic garden near Chinatown was a highlight though. Besides some of the plants being native to Hawaii and can’t be found elsewhere on earth, this garden also houses some special orchids.
The hostel that we were staying at is called Waikiki Beachside Hostel. It was exactly what we needed: quality accommodation at affordable price at the beachfront of Waikiki. We have a little more privacy and space because it is a semi-private room built in a dorm. It means when you enter the room, you will first see two single beds, then kitchenette and bathroom. When you walk past these two beds you will come to another room with our beds inside. So we share the kitchen and toilet with 2 other people but have our own little room at the same time, paying only a few dollars more. We would highly recommend this hostel to anyone who want some budget-but-good accommodation with the possibility to get to know some other people without feeling too much like being in a big animal stall.
As said, one of the good things about staying in hostel is meeting other interesting people. An Indian living in San Francisco stayed with us for the first three nights. Sid’s (You might not want to know his full Indian name) a very funny guy. All four of us (we, Hans and Sid) once went to dine at a famous udon noodles place. Initially Sid said he just ate so he is only getting a beer. In the end he ended with the most food on his plate. We also went snorkeling with him on self-drive day tour to Hanauma Bay. He was taking selfies every 15 minutes (ok maybe not that often), being excited as it was his “virgin snorkel”. After Sid left, a Columbian who is in his 40s came to join us. South Americans are maybe very different from us, not better or worse, just different. Rico was very hospitable and also funny in a way. Yinru once bought him a coffee and Rico was so touched that he told Roman what a wonderful girl Yinru is (it is really just a coffee, but he kept repeating how good his day is because of it). He also invited us to visit him in Columbia and he will make us a good cup of coffee. But we weren’t the only ones Rico has invited to have coffee at his hometown: As we went to have dinner together once and there was a good looking Brazilian waitress. Rico invited her to visit Columbia when she goes back to Brazil and that he would make a coffee for her. He also asked her to dance with us after our dinner. So random. We also spent a lot of time with Hans, visiting Pearl Harbor and North Shore together. Pearl Harbor was a touching experience, and an amazing one too when we were lucky enough to witness a military aircraft carrier, Carl Vinson, docking and all the staff lining up on the top deck of the vessel. We rented a Mustang convertible to explore the North Shore together with Hans. Despite all the hassle about insurances and finding a good car hire deal for we were most amazed about American law and their issues with liability when least expected: When hiring snorkeling gear. Hans hired a set of snorkel gear (We bought our own back in New Zealand so we don’t need to), the company listed a full page of liability exclusion which had to be signed and requested a credit card imprint if anything is lost, broken or not returned. So hiring snorkel gear is more troublesome than hiring a Mustang in the USA. North Shore offered one of the nicest spots to snorkel at a place called Sharks Cove. The sharks were shy that day so unfortunately we did not see any of them but many many beautiful unique fish as well as a turtle made up for that.
One week at Oahu felt so short! Soon our first week in Hawaii came to an end. We enjoyed our first Hawaiian Aloha experience a lot, for its perfect weather, beautiful beaches and waters, and its convenience of being able to talk to people, taking a bus to everywhere and find more than one choice of what to eat or where to go (different than in Samoa). Obviously one week was rather short for what Oahu has to offer but we are both convinced that this won’t be our last visit to Hawaii. Next stop: “Garden-Island” Kauai!