Monday, February 14, 2005


Standing on the balcony of a ten story building feeling the cool breeze on my face, I stare off into the mist covered mountains. This is how my day begins at Honey’s condo in Waikiki. The weather is so incredible here that they hardly ever close the patio door that leads to the view.

View from Honey's

After some morning coffee we’re off to the beach. We’re surrounded by little souvenir shops selling everything needed for a tourists day on the ocean. My toes are chaffed from the day before due to my leather sandals getting wet. They are still rubbing irritably so I decide to buy some beach shoes for $17.00 and get a spam musubi (I think that’s how you spell it) which is kind of like nigiri sushi except with spam and it’s warm (it’s basically rice, cooked spam, and seaweed), they’re surprisingly good.

The shoes last exactly one trip into the ocean before the soles start to come apart and bunch uncomfortably under my feet. Our beach visit doesn’t last much longer. We sit down and eat our sac lunch (she got a sandwich rather than brave the spam) and rub ourselves with sun screen incessantly. The beach is packed with tourists from all over the world, children play in the sand, there is an old man snorkeling in a wet suit, and people are climbing on to giant catamarans that charge to take parties out for a couple of hours of sailing (and drinking). As our ultra white bodies begin to bake in the sun we quickly come to the conclusion that we are not beach people. I wade into the ocean to try and remove the sand from my new diving shoes and we’re heading back to the street.

We view a statue of “Duke”, Hawaiian royalty, Olympic swimmer, famous surfer, and later politician. He is apparently well thought of here because the statue is adorned with multiple lays around his neck and in each of his outstretched hands. I squish around in the shoes that I think should be drying much faster and we try to find a nice sarong for Joy.

The international market is in a huge area they call the “town center”, all around us are shops selling ukulele’s (pronounced ookoolaylay we’ve learned), aloha shirts, towels, statuettes, food (mostly oriental), and yes, sarongs. By the time we find one Joy likes, I am thoroughly persuaded that I need a pair of cheap plastic sandals. Unfortunately the spending cash we brought for the day is exhausted (I couldn’t haggle anybody down to three dollars for some sandals). Joy walks and I squish back to the condo.

After a bit of R&R and brochure surfing we decide to go see the Bishop Museum then see the statue of King Komehameha . I of course stop at the nearest shop and buy a slice of heaven (in the form of Chinese made plastic sandals) for $3.50. is good. Now it’s to the bus and across town to the museum.

The ride takes much longer than we expect, but we finally arrive only to find that the museum costs much more than we hoped and we havn’t brought enough cash. Joy’s a little heatbroken, but I’m ok with it, we did get to see a lot of the real life conditions in Hawaii (away from the beach it’s basically your everyday neighborhoods.
By this time Joy is just ready to get back and relax, we just see the king’s statue from the bus as we’re driving by. No rest for the weary here though, when we get back Honey, our host, is ready to take us out on the town (local style).

Honey is great, we were acquainted with her through a free online hospitality exchange network. She’s a real trooper, everyone wants to come to Hawaii, and she has had a ton of guests. We on the other hand have only had the privilege to host one guest (Oliver “Ente” from Germany) who we thoroughly enjoyed, but that’s not every other week! If she shows everyone as good a time as she showed us, well, I don’t know how she possibly could.

First stop a place called Dukes (named after the aforementioned surfer) where she buys us a couple of “Hawaiian” type drinks and we watch a great band right on the beach. She knows everyone! The right waiter is tipped to bring us a table when the band is done (trust me the tables are quite a commodity), giving us the privilege of ordering supper on the beach at one of the hottest spots on Waikiki. While we’re eating a fellow world traveler staying at the house are to stay at later joins us for dinner.

Beach Party at Dukes

Stefan our new acquaintance is very cool. He is an electronics engineer from Austria who is taking a year long sabbatical to travel the world. He has just come from South America and is heading to New Zealand. We enjoy a great dinner conversation of travel and the different world views we’ve experienced.

Honey isn’t done with us yet, though, she next leads us to a daiquiri where she orders two samplers. Joy and I share one, her and Stefan the other. I had no idea there were so many flavors of daiquiri of course there’s strawberry, but we also shared little cups of raspberry, banana, lime, pineapple, etc...etc..

Stephan Eating a Jello Shot

Honey and Joy

We are then led to a country bar (yes in Hawaii there is country music), but we have to leave because Stefan doesn’t have his passport with him (they ID everyone). I do manage to get into the bathroom before we go, and guess who’s painted on the door as I’m walking out. None other than Willie Nelson, a fellow Texan we’re all real proud of!

Honey finally picks a nice little rooftop place where they are not as formal about ID’s. There we enjoy the rest of the evening in the beautiful night air. Stefan’s host Roxy (our future host) joins us late in the evening to take him home. We know right off that our future holds more Hawaiian fun.

One last stop at Honey’s office while we’re walking home provides a couple of great resources about activities to pursue in New Zealand, and it’s off to bed. Well, we really sleep on the floor, but it is a small sacrifice for free accommodations and great memories.

So what about those $3.50 sandals? Lets put it this way, I didn’t think about my all evening.

Tanner Noguess

Ali'i Luau

1 comment:

bonnie said...

Dearest Joy and Tanner,
What a day you had!! Sounds like Hawaii was an enjoyable place to start your adventure. But spam sushi...please!! You are a brave soul Tanner. It would have been a sandwich for me as well...Your story of baking on the beach reminds me of another time at another beach...good memories.
I also will soon be an adventurer. My sweetheart, Jerry, has booked us on a flight for Aruba for Spring Break!! I can't wait to bake in the sun!
Much love to you,