Sunday, June 29, 2014

Where are we again?

The east side of Waikiki from where we were initially anchored
Honolulu is like taking a vacation in a big Asian city and only having to travel half the distance.  Of course, the prices are much higher than in many Asian countries, but much lower than they would be in Japan or Korea.   In addition, the streets are cleaner and there are far fewer motorbikes.  We have been thoroughly enjoying all of the different food options from Vietnamese spring rolls to Cantonese noodle houses.  The amount of tourism from developed Asia is astounding.  There are so many Japanese and Korean tourists that they have their own bus systems, and in our experience these foreign language busses seem to come by the stops much more often than the city bus system we have been using to get around!  The wealth present in Honolulu is apparent everywhere with a Rodeo Drive like outdoor shopping district stretching block after block just off Waikiki Beach and one of the largest malls I have ever seen within spitting distance of the marina. Comically, many of the stores (like the two Chanel stores within one half of a mile of each other) sport winter fashions that would not be practical at any time of the year in Hawaii.  I am guessing that their target customers are not the locals but instead the Japanese tourists who come here for “bargain” prices on the luxury goods heavily taxed all over Asia. Luckily for us, food prices are a little more reasonable than they were on Maui and we have been able to have many meals for under $20.  We just got back from a yummy lunch/dinner at a Japanese ramen counter and had to waddle our way home.  Last week we were very excited to find avocado smoothies (don’t knock it until you’ve tried one) and markets in Chinatown where we can stock up on all of the goodies we miss from our time overseas.
One of our favorite spots on the back side of Lana'i

Atop Diamond Head overlooking Waikiki

We are still in Honolulu after having sailed here about two weeks ago from Molokai.  In addition to eating our way through the city and our funds we have gone hiking on Diamond Head, spent many hours watching surfers on the beach and plan to get up early tomorrow to go out to Pearl Harbor.   Last night we spent a few hours on a local race boat, through which we met a nice group of young people, most of whom are PhD students at the University.  For now we are in a bit of a holding pattern, waiting for the next phase of our adventure to play out.  Although we loved our first crossing, neither of us is too excited about returning to Seattle by boat if we can’t find some crew.  The passage is both colder and has the potential for trickier weather.  We would love to stay in Hawaii for a while and we are currently applying to jobs, but no news yet.  Either way, boat or plane, I will be heading back to the mainland in September to start the residency application process but for now I have a little bit of adventure left in me.