I'm not sorry I came to Waikiki because it's reassuring to thoroughly know, all the way down to the microcelluar level of your being, when you hate something. This is not all Hawaii's fault, as I will explain in a moment, but I do hold Hawaii responsible for the following: First, the rain, which finally did basically stop for a measurable period of time today. Rain or wind is inconvenient, but when it rains on you and then the wind blows, you freeze. I did not bring any warm clothes to Hawaii because everyone, from guidebooks to native Hawaiians with whom I work, assured me it would be hot and sunny.
Second, considering its main industry is tourism, it's not as tourist friendly as one may hope. I'm baffled by the lack of detail in Hawaii's websites. For example, ask anyone connected with Hanauma Bay and they will tell you that it opens at six in the morning and that they rent snorkel equipment right there. They will say those two pieces of information together, as does the website, as if there is just nothing else you might need to know. Then when you wake your ass up at five in the morning on your vacation so you can get there right at six while there's still parking and clear water, THEN they will mention that the place that rents snorkeling equipment doesn't actually open until eight. This is the kind of thing I'm talking about. Other things that are Hawaii's fault include ten dollar hamburgers that don't come with fries, rental car agencies that charge you thirty more dollars a day than your reservation was for, places that only valet park but not in any organized or polite fashion and the fact that no building on Ohau has been painted in the last thirty years leaving the entire city of Honolulu a dingy shade of something between beige and gray, with a lot of mold.
Then there are the fat white people. I don't have anything against fat white people per se, as I am indeed one of their ranks, but the fact that I am doesn't really make me feel better about being constantly surrounded by them or their obnoxious children. They do not enhance the tropical experience. Jeff summed it up best at Waimea Bay as he surveyed the gelatinous, translucent folk lounging on the sand and blinding each other: "Fuck you for being my people."
How is this Hawaii's fault? Well, maybe if there were something besides Chilis and Burger King readily available, less fat white people would be coming here. Last night we had a wonderful dinner at the 12th Avenue Grill in eastern Honolulu. Since we didn't have any reservations they sat us at the bar across from the open kitchen where we spent ninety minutes watching the owner and head chef, Kevin Hanney, inspect each dish with this sort of secret smile on his face, then garnish it with mint just so and hand it over. The food was heaven. The server was amazed that we, mere Waikiki tourists,had somehow found it.
Here are the things that are not Hawaii's fault. Last August we fell in love with Thailand. All the things about Hawaii that we've enjoyed so far we also enjoyed in Thailand only it was better and a fraction of the cost. The snorkeling today was very pleasant but not the all day experience that culminated in a delicious fresh lunch and naps in hammocks on a private island. The Audubon hike that stopped at the waterfall where Jeff is pictured above, was quite lovely but the paved, tropical paths are nothing compared with the tropical forest paths at Khao Yai National Park. We couldn't find a bad place to eat in Bangkok.
In addition to Hawaii not being Thailand, Honolulu is not Santa Barbara, San Francisco or any other coastal city I love. For things to be this pricey, the city should be radiant, clean and make you want to go outside and walk and stare. Honolulu is kind of a dive. The actual Waikiki beach area is not bad, although our main beach time so far has been gratefully elsewhere.
Tomorrow we go to Kauai. Jeff is confident we're going to love it and that the main problem is that we're just not the targeted clientele of Oahu. We will see.