Monday, January 14, 2008

An Aloha Christmas

Over Christmas, I went to Hawaii for the first time. For those of you who have never been to our fiftieth state, you should know that it is populated by four different types of people: retirees, honeymooners, japanese tourists and vacationing families. Of course there are the local Hawaiians and the homeless hippies who arrived back in 1970, and never found their way off the island.

I've never been to any place like Hawaii, having never taken a "warm" vacation before. Instantly when I landed I felt the Hawaiian vibe. It's kind of funny actually. Hawaii is like no other state in the US, and they should probably market that more. Something like, "Hawaii - the only American state that the rest of the world can tolerate" sounds pretty good to me.

I did lots of things in Hawaii. But my first day was spent struggling with an effed up WiFi connection while trying hard not to throw my laptop against the wall, as I was trying to get some work done. I honestly had thought that the Friday before Christmas would be quiet, but while I was up in the air I got a PLETHORA of emails that got me all hot and bothered within 5 minutes of landing. The 80 degree weather contributed to that too.

My second day was spent on the North Shore of Oahu. I wanted to stop by J.J. Abrams's cabana and tell him to get off his ass and hurry up and bring back Lost. I was going up there to play some tennis at a resort up there. Now, when I thought about driving around Oahu, "long drive" was not something that came to my mind. For some reason, being on an island, made me think everything was 15 minutes of each other. But going all the way up to the North Shore was a LONG drive. I did pass by and stop at the Dole Pineapple Plantation, which I would describe as "not living up to my low expecations." The whole day was pretty exhausting and aggravating as I learned about "Hawaiian time" when my tennis pro was an hour late. I also played like crap which didn't make me happy.

The rest of my trip was spent in the environs of Honolulu. I saw Pearl Harbor, which had more of an effect on me than I thought it would. I also really hauled my ass up Diamond Head Crater. It's supposed to take 90 minutes to get up to the summit, but I made it up there in 50. I think after the Grand Canyon, all other hikes seem puny. I also did some shopping of course. Since Honolulu is like a Japanese shopping magnet, there were plenty of stores to entertain me. I didn't buy anything intrinsically "Hawaiian". But I did get a couple of new t-shirts at Puma and spent way too much money on a nice pair of winter gloves at Loewe, where the woman and I had the following exchange:
Saleswoman: "Why are you buying gloves?"
Me: "Uh, because I'm cold."
Saleswoman: "You're cold?!?!"
Me: "Uh, yeah it's snowing right now back in New York." (Thought bubble: "Is she crazy?")
Saleswoman: "Oh you look like you're from here. I thought you lived here in Hawaii."
For my last full day in Hawaii, I hung out around my hotel and at Waikiki which was across the street from me. The beach was packed, but I found a pocket of sand to lay out on. I wanted to take surfing lessons, but the last time I surfed when I lived in Sydney, I fell about 500 times, and my ego couldn't take it after getting my ass whooped in tennis the other day.

Then Christmas came, and I had to fly back to New York. I kind of like flying on holidays because the airports and planes are mercifully empty. And I was ready to leave Hawaii. It was a nice break, but I don't think I could ever live there. I realized how claustrophobic I find islands, and I was ready to get off. What I was not looking forward to was spending 12 hours on a plane. Getting from Hawaii to the East Coast is a long-haul that I would not recommend unless you're flying First or Business Class, which unfortunately, I was not.

Now I'm home and coming back to my blog. At the end of 2006, I did a "Best of" and "Most of" 2006 series. I wanted to do it again for 2007, but now it's a little late. Oh well. I suppose I can still write them, and if my readers are too lazy to read them, then my readers and I have a lot in common.

It's good to be home.


Michael said...

Welcome home. And yes, that is one long-ass flight. I remember getting off the plane in Hawaii and thinking "Jeez, this is a long way to come for the sun." But then I had just left one of the worst blizzards in NYC history ('96) so it was worth it

Ming the Merciless said...

Never been there. Not even on my Top 10 list of places to visit.

Sun & surf = not my idea of fun.