Waikīkī is one of those places where locals avoid, for the most part, unless there’s a special event or family gathering. And, it had been a while since I’d been down there, even before I began traveling, so when my friend Chris suggested we have lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, I jumped at the chance to rediscover it.
Over lunch Chris and I caught up on everything that had happened while I was away. We have one of those friendships where we pick up where we left off no matter how long it’s been since we last spoke. The longer we chatted, the more I appreciated the depth of our friendship. There is no way that I could connect with someone I met on the road like I do with Chris. I suppose our friendship has had years to develop and evolve, and newer friendships just haven’t had time to put in the miles like this one. But, I know I was definitely missing this feeling of complete acceptance and understanding while overseas. It’s reassuring to know there’s someone out there who just totally gets you, and you don’t have to always explain yourself or your actions.
Surfboards and lessons for hire
Waterfall features like this one can be found along the footpaths of Waikiki.
Back home in the Islands
Diamond Head stands majestically in the background.
Sunny, crowded Waikiki Beach
Rainbows, including this double rainbow, are extremely common.
Palm trees swaying in the breeze
Sun, sand and sea
After a massive feed, we waddled our way along Kalākaua Ave and headed for Waikīkī Beach along a nearby path. The beach was overflowing with people swimming and sunbathing beneath the warm afternoon sun. The sand under my feet was hot and the Pacific Ocean looked so cool. All the colors seemed a tad brighter and more amazing than I remembered. I guess this is the reason Hawaiʻi is such a popular tourist destination.
Waikīkī is a good introduction to Hawaiʻi and offers all the sun, sand and (sometimes) surf that you could want. It has a multitude of activities, shops and restaurants to keep you busy during your stay. But, if it’s the only part of Hawaiʻi that you see, you’re missing out on the real Hawaiʻi.
As I have told many people I’ve met throughout my travels, the island of Oʻahu is simply any other American city set in the tropics. If you really want to learn about Hawaiʻi’s culture and natural wonders, visit a few of the outer islands after you’ve explored Oʻahu. Then you’ll know what the Aloha Spirit is all about.
After a good but all-too-short night’s sleep, I awoke and smelled breakfast cooking in the kitchen. When I got there, my dad was behind the stove serving up some Portuguese sausage, eggs and rice, just like he did when I was a kid.
“What are you doing up so early?” he asked. It wasn’t even 6 a.m. yet, still considered an ungodly time of day by me in normal circumstances.
“I’m still on East Coast time so it’s already lunch there,” I replied.
Despite all this time away (and the fact that I wasn’t even living with them before I left), being at my parents’ house took me back in time. Having breakfast with them seemed so normal (even though this is a completely different house than the one in which I grew up).
As we ate, I looked at my parents and noticed for the first time how old they are. It’s not that they’re exceptionally old looking or anything, but they just seemed older than I remembered them being. Could they have aged so quickly while I was away or had I just been too caught up living my life to notice before? This was a surprising revelation for me.
Before leaving for work, my mom asked, “So what are you gonna do now?” Isn’t that the question of a lifetime? It was certainly something I thought traveling would help me solve. However, in actuality, it’s a question that has become more complex over time.
I’m not sure if it’s due to some quarterlife/midlife crisis from which I’m suffering or the reverse culture shock of being back home in Hawaiʻi. Whatever it is, there is an overwhelming feeling of being “stuck” back where I started again (without a job this time) as if nothing has changed.
It was definitely too early in the morning (and too early in my return – day one for goodness sake!) to contemplate the future with such intensity. So, to avoid the matter altogether, I decided to just leave it for another day.
Filed under Hawaii, Personal