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Intercontinental adventurer

Honolulu, Oa’hu, Hawai’i

USA | Tuesday, 3 June 2008 | Views [832]

Before entering the United States, lowly South Africans need to apply for a visa. Although the process is simple, US immigration is stringent, and I’m sure the FBI and Homeland Security both have retinal, fingerprint, and handwriting samples from me. But compared to Australia, and contrary to what I expected, when entering through a port, the US is a breeze – not that their security is any less, you just don’t feel like a criminal entering Foxworthy (a Prison Break reference for the Pop-culture-challenged :D). But to get to Hawaii, I’d probably endure anything, so read the aforementioned merely as a comment.

Oahu, hosting the capital Honolulu, in the archipelago state of Hawaii, is a beautiful place. Much bigger than you’d expect (referring also to my time in Koh Samui), the island is largely divided into two: tourist mecca is on the south (Waikiki), while most of the locals inhabit the west and north shores. But if, like for me, you’re visiting for the first time, whether you would prefer a more local exposure, stay in Waikiki. Transport and tourist information is more readily at hand, and once under your belt, you can always return to a more secluded experience.

The hostel that was my home for 7 full and glorious days was 5min walk from Hawaii’s most famous beach. But more than that, it was home for a bunch of travellers whom at that time and place banded together and became one heck of a social group. We retained individuality, but when out together, the local bars and nightclubs became our playground. It was a week of bliss, pure enjoyment and for some, significant memory loss. But more than the fun, we enjoyed taking in the sights: Pearl Harbour (resting place for 1800+ WWII soldiers, casualties of a surprise Japanese attack), Waikiki Beach, Waimea Beach, Hanuama Bay, and for me, Kualoa Ranch (location for several movies, most notably Jurassic Park).

But for all the stories shared around the group for that week, it’s my last day on the island that I’ll cherish the most. With some crafty suggestion, I managed to negotiate the rental of two convertibles for the group. We all climbed in, some still braving hangovers, and set off for our quintessential Hawaiian experience: music blazing, roof down, lots of chatter, looking at the sights. We came across fantastic vistas and crystal clear waters, making a quick dip or photo op the order of the day. Without question, my African driving skills scared the shit out of some of my mates, but the memory of beach volleyball on Turtle Bay will stand the test of time. That, and being dropped off at the airport in style: a red Ford Mustang, America’s muscle car.

Hawaii has definitely earned a “must go back to visit” accolade in my book. Whether I return to Oahu, or brave Big Island or the equally scenic Maui is irrelevant, it’s that I cannot leave this earth without again dipping my toe into Hawaii’s turquoise Pacific.

Tags: hawaii, honolulu, oahu



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