Honolulu is the obvious place for a quick stop to break up the long journey from mainland USA to the South Pacific. We had to stop here anyhow, so why not stay a few days, adjust a few time zones, and just hang out on Waikiki beach?
This is our second visit to Honolulu, and I would not say we are huge fans of the city itself. To us it feels like a ‘sanitized’ version of the tropics. The area all around Waikiki is pretty but antiseptic, sort of like a huge outdoor upscale mall. Restaurants are crazy expensive, yet packed to the gills. Fortunately, the hordes of Japanese tourists here eat on the early side, so the restaurants thin out a tad at our preferred dining times.
Since we ran around seeing the obligatory sights last time we were here (Pearl Harbor really is amazing), we now felt obliged to do nothing more than sit on the beach and practice readjusting to tropical life. We have spent very little time as beach bums since we left Greece and Turkey almost a year ago.
And I’ll admit, Waikiki beach is a stunning spot to do that. I love the bright turquoise water, the smooth sand, and the lush green of Diamond Head rising in the background. We stayed at a classic old hotel, the Royal Hawaiian, whose pink walls, pink rugs, and pink striped bathrobes add a bit of magic to this heavenly spot. I’m now pink, too, but we’ll call that a base. Give me another week, and I hope to have a teeny bit of a tan.Our last day featured an unexpected little bit of drama. We like to dine sitting at the bar, especially in the US, where it’s more common. You often learn a few things from the bartender or from your neighbors. The bar at the Royal Hawaiian had lovely views and reasonable food, so we had lunch there every day. On that last day I sat next to a friendly young couple who started up a bit of conversation with us. We were soon surprised by just how much the young woman was slurring her words so early in the afternoon. Not 15 minutes later she was slumped lifelessly on top of the bar and had vomited a bit. It was all her colleague could do to get her to stand up and stumble away. We felt quite bad for them both.
That evening we had dinner at a nice steak place, where we snagged a couple more seats at a small bar. Once again the woman next to me tried to strike up a conversation and was obviously pretty smashed. I mostly sat with my back to her, as she tried to engage the bartenders and got mildly obnoxious, at one point informing us all that she was “richer than God,” which apparently meant she was due better treatment. It was a huge relief when she left after 15 minutes or so, as the bartender grumbled, “Three hours I’ve been babysitting her.”
What’s in the water in Honolulu?