There’s a different vibe here; Waikiki is primarily a holiday resort and not a backpacker place..so it feels like my trip has already ended and I’m just having a mini-vacation, before normal life is resumed.
I would describe Waikiki as a place for relaxing, even though there’s plenty to do here. There are beautiful beaches (busy in the south, quiet, and less touristy, in the north) and the ocean is shallow a long way off the beach. I swam alongside a turtle one day. Obviously there is a passion for surfing here – it’s huge- and there are lots of boat trips, fishing, parascending and scenic helicopter & seaplane flights. The island is volcanic, and inland there are pineapple plantations and National parks to walk & hike.
The 2nd language (after English) in Hawaii is Japanese and there are lots of Japanese people around. There’s also lots of American tourists (not surprising as it is America) and Australians on vacation.
There are nice hotels all along the beaches and even when you are staying in a Backpacker hostel (me) you can still mingle in the bars, restaurants and pool areas pretending to be a resident of these nice hotels. Cool. In the evenings people gather on the beaches to watch the surfers, the cruise ships leave and the gorgeous bright orange sunsets. Live music is heard everywhere....from these hotel beachside bars and on the street – everything from Hawaiian sounds to smoochy pop songs. There’s also lots of street entertainment so the atmosphere is lively (in an understated way).
There are gas flame lamps everywhere and it’s all very romantic! And compared to Australia and New Zealand (especially Australia) Hawaii is very good value. Even cheap, I’d say. So for all you young lovers out there..I would really recommend Oahu for your next romantic vacation, or honeymoon (hint hint JS)!!. But even for lonely hearts (kidding!) like me, it’s still fun....the cocktails are affordable, the shopping is great and the people watching on the beach is very entertaining. If you take the USA, with all its yummy food & big helpings, and you add a large dash of Polynesia then you have Hawaii. It’s a nice mix.
And as you all know, I like to get off the tourist trail and get to know the “real” place and the locals so I used the public bus service a lot ($2.50 takes you anywhere with free return within 2 hours!). The buses all have 12 seats which give priority to the elderly or disabled. Well it was quite funny...demand was sometimes so high for these seats that there were elderly men of 80+ giving their seats up for even more elderly people!! And if you think $2.50 is good value, you can hire mopeds for $5 for 24 hours. No kidding.
In addition to my skydive, during my 4 days here I visited Pearl Harbor (interesting & quite moving); went whale watching & saw numerous humpback whales, including a mum and baby close up; travelled around the island (stopping off at nice places) and swam and relaxed on some of the beautiful white beaches, while listening to music, reading my book, watching the sunset, eating an icecream and sipping a cocktail – all at the same time HAHAHAHA
And you won’t believe this, an episode of Hawaii 5 O was filmed in the very building I am staying in during the last couple of days!! No idea why they picked this hostel – perhaps they wanted a sleazy place to film a murder or drug/prostitution racket or such like!! (ps It’s not really THAT bad).
Anyway..SO NOW THE END IS NEAR... I’ve had the TIME OF MY LIFE.....and I’ve been ALL AROUND THE WORLD (as the songs say)...
I’ve had memorable encounters with elephants, tigers, kangaroos, koala, dolphins & whales; I’ve met lots of wonderful people along the way..and made some new friends; I’ve walked in the most spectacularly beautiful places; and there have been so many highlights & unforgettable moments! This truly has been a life-enhancing experience for me, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to live it. It has been an incredible journey every step of the way.
I am also thrilled that so many of my friends (& family) have enjoyed following the progress of my trip, via my blog, Facebook & emails, and that my work friends have plotted my route on a map of the world and even had a “Guess the Miles Marj has travelled” competition for Children in Need!
Words cannot express how much all of that means to me. The support, and comments you have sent to me, has made my trip all the more special and I’m so glad I could share it with you all. Perhaps I’ve given some of you ideas for your next holiday too?!! Lol
So, to bring my trip, and this travel blog, to an end I would just like to say to you all-
a HUGE DHANYABAAD (Nepali); KHAWP KHUN MAKH (Thai); KHAWP JAI LAI LAI (Lao); AR KUN (Khmer); CAM ON (Vietnamese); TA MATE (Australia); VINAKA VAKA LEVU (Fijian); TIKA HOKI (Maori); MAHALO (Hawaiian); CHEERS (New Zealand) & THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH!!!
I am now looking forward to coming home...but not the 5.45am start tomorrow morning (Sat)....and I’ll see some of you very soon (DJ at the airport I hope) and others ...as soon as I can! XXX
One last little comment ..the new photos you might notice are not of the same quality as the others. This is because my camera is dead (the 2nd dead camera of the trip) and I had to buy a disposable (big blue plastic one) camera, which has been embarrassing passing to people to take photos of me - it's like a big kiddy one (or at least it was - it's gone now too - and I will buy a waterproof/shockproof/freezeproof/heatproof/Marjproof camera when I get home, which will hopefully outlast the others).
THE ABSOLUTE & DEFINITE END NOW