So before I dive into my wonderful trip to Hawaii, I'll give you a little back story:
Growing up I didn't travel much. My dad is a workaholic single father of two that owns his own business so time for vacations and travel was hard to come by. The most traveling I ever did was for hockey which consisted of a few days at a time in suburban cities in states no one cares about where the team was not allowed to leave the hotel without supervision. And we never really left the hotels except to go to the rinks, the gym, and to eat.
Every so often we would take my dad's old Benz up to Northern California to visit is girlfriend at the time but again, we very rarely left her property. Though, there wasn't much need - she lived on two acres of land deep in Simi Vally. But at the time I was too young to appreciate the view.
The longest vacation we ever went on as a family was to Daytona, Florida for NASCAR's Speed Week which was a 10 day trip. I don't know if any of you have ever been to Daytona, Florida but there is not much to do there other than hang out at the track. It was a great time... Being that I was raised on racing, but it's not much of a vacation destination.
My point is that my dad has never been one for grand vacations. He has always told me stories about hitchhiking to Canada when he was younger but he's never been to Europe (to my knowledge) and has never seen New York. He travels a lot for work but this normally consists of getting a cheap but comfortable hotel for a night or two and doing his job and going home. His idea of a vacation is taking his girlfriend to his favorite villa in San Diego or taking my grandpa to a big race in Indianapolis. We are not the conventional suburban family taking summer vacations at the river or winter vacations to Mammoth. When I was younger we would share a cabin with The Harringtons up in Big Bear for the weekend once a year but that tradition was ended around age 15 after a few major snowboarding injuries.
I have always wanted to travel. But like... really travel. Backpack through Europe. Iceland. Spend a week or two in New York. Hike and camp my way through Zion. I have had the privilege of seeing most of the west coast and a lot of our beautiful country through touring. But the problem with touring is that you seldom spend more than 24 hours in one place at a time. So while you do get to see a lot of amazing places, it is only at a glance.
A few months before Christmas Michelle told me that this year for everyones Christmas presents, her parents got everyone plane tickets to Hawaii to visit her brother and sister in law. And to my pleasant surprise they were nice enough to invite me to come along with them. And with Hawaii being one of those bucket list destinations, I decided to bring my cameras and document the trip.
Here is my story... *KONG KONG*
We woke up at the ass crack of dawn to catch our flight on saturday morning. I had preloaded my iPad with the first season of Falling Skies hoping to pass the time on the plane. I hate flying. Not because I'm afraid of crashing, more-so because I don't like having to sit (without smoking) for long periods of time. I've never had to pleasure of sitting next to a pretty girl on a flight before though. Turned out to be surprisingly comforting.
We landed at Honolulu International in the late morning and walked out to the curb with all of our luggage. The rest of Michelle's family left to get their rental car while we stayed behind to wait for her brother to come pick us up.
After a few minutes of sitting, taking in the humidity and interesting decor of the airport, her brother pulled up with his wife and we scurried to his truck to meet them. After some awkward hellos (I had only met them once before... at a bar) we hopped in and off we went. We were to settle in at their house and then meet the rest of her family at Zippy's for lunch. Zippy's was described to us as the Hawaiian Denny's.
Driving through Honolulu for the first time was breathtaking. I'm sure I looked like a little kid at Disneyland for the first time. I didn't even take any pictures because I was too busy trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. I spent many weeks before the trip looking at photos on the internet and getting excited, but just like in every other distention, theres nothing quite like seeing it with your own eyes.
I love culture shock. Going to new places and seeing how culture and life for locals is different than mine. It's so fascinating to me. This is one thing I was not expecting to find in Hawaii being that it is such a popular vacation destination within the United States. I figured it would be just like Southern California. I was VERY wrong.
First thing I noticed: You can't smoke ANYWHERE! There are no smoking signs everywhere you look. The few places you can smoke are small little areas far, far away from humanity. Unfortunate for a chain smoker like me.
We arrived at Matt and Lauren's house and much to my surprise is was a cozy little beach flat on the second story of a 2 unit building overlooking the water in Ewa Beach. We grabbed all of our crap out of his truck with their help and made our way to what we would call home for the next 8 days.
After we settled in and spent a little time breaking the ice with our wonderful hosts, we made our way to the Zippy's down the street to meet with the rest of her family for a late lunch.
While I grew up on high quality food and would never tell my dad that my first Hawaiian meal was at a place referred to as the Hawaiian Denny's, I was very surprised by how good my meal was. I'm sure some of that had the do with the fact that I hadn't eaten since the night before, but in any case it was still a good meal for what it was. While browsing through the menu I came across a waffle that was covered with fudge, caramel, and ice-cream... I swore to myself that I would find a way at some point in the trip to come back and devour this beautiful creation.
After we ate we went back to Matt and Lauren's to enjoy the sunset from the brake wall and swiftly passed the hell out after a long day of travel. We planned to wake up early and hike the next day so we wanted to make sure we had plenty of rest. Michelle and I both had the same feeling of urgency though. We wanted to do all the things all at once. See Pearl Harbor, hike the hikes, see the beaches, snorkel with the turtles, and we felt like we didn't have enough time to do them all. It hadn't quite sank in that we were going to be enjoying the fruits of Oahu for 8 beautiful days.