Waikiki: The Allure of Turquoise
I never thought much about it before, but the color turquoise speaks to me. Sure it helps that I’m surrounded by it in our beautiful apartment. From the artwork to the tastefully curated furnishings and continuing on to the beginning of the infinity ocean, it washes over me with breaking waves of peace and tranquility.
Hawaiian Radio on Pandora certainly has its charms too. I feel my hips start to involuntarily sway while brushing my teeth or washing dishes at the sink with the full ocean staring back at me. The combined power of color and music has almost seduced me into thinking I could live here.
Almost, but not completely. The down side, especially here in Waikiki, is the teeming masses. Tons of tourists crowd the streets, restaurants and beaches. We could blame it on our timing since our trip coincided with Spring Break USA and a convention for Amway Japan, but friends who know this area well say it’s always this way.
The high cost of living here is also on the con list. Just for kicks, we met with a realtor at a very large planned community in Honolulu called Ward Village. While we were dazzled by the high end finishes, floor to ceiling windows and blocks and blocks of restaurants and bars, the 1.1 million price tag for 843 square feet with a promise that a future building would definitely impact our view made it easy to say no thank you.
This trip was planned to be a combination work and pleasure trip. John had an ASTHO conference in American Samoa so we tied on a few days of vacation on Oahu before and after his four days there. John is there now, even as we speak, and I am keeping the home fires burning in Honolulu, if you will.
And why didn’t I go to American Samoa you ask??? It sounded exotic and interesting at first but we got the word from an ASTHO colleague that there could be some cultural concerns with us as a gay couple. That plus my internet research saying that there is very little developed infrastructure for tourist activities and the fact that it’s hotter and more humid than Hawaii this time of year, landed me firmly on the side of knowing where my bread is buttered, and I decided to stay put.
John’s first call from AS confirmed my decision to not join him. Apparently, it’s a thing that packs of aggressive stray dogs roam the streets in the evening, and people walking are warned to carry a big stick with them for protection.
Johnny, who is the most prepared person I know, evidently did not have an official dog stick with him walking on the half mile from his work dinner to his hotel. He saw a dog in the distance and immediately went into planning mode to figure out what he was going to do. He noticed a young Samoan man who was also walking nearby and spoke out, “I don’t have a stick and there’s a dog up ahead.”
I’m guessing it wasn’t the first time the young Samoan man heard that sob story, since he graciously offered to escort John back to the hotel to make sure he got there safely. So on they trod, John and the Samoan, having a lovely cultural exchange conversation and sparing me from having to buy a black suit and find a dog stick of my own.
No surprise to me, but I’ve managed to amuse myself quite nicely in John’s absence. I’m looking forward to his return tomorrow, but I haven’t let that stop me in getting around.
Once I learned that I could get the senior citizen discount ($2.75 reduced to $1), I became fearless in navigating the public bus. Yesterday, I really got wild and paid an extra buck to get the all day pass that took me to hike at Diamondhead Crater, eat lunch in a Diamondhead neighborhood, stop for a quick visit to Nordstrom Rack, and venture beyond downtown Honolulu to go to Costco. Came home, took a quick shower then hit the bus again to catch a sunset cocktail near the Honolulu Zoo. I figured I might as well get my money’s worth after what I paid for that ticket.
I’ll be hitting the bus again today for further episodes of Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but I’ll save that for a future installment. John and I will be renting a car tomorrow and visiting other parts of the island. Assuming there are no roaming packs of stray dogs there, I’ll tell you all about it when we get back.