As my WWOOF roommate, Rachael, puts it, I had my “Wow” moment today. Of course it was in one of the most crowded places on the island, swallowed by resorts reaching for the sky and cheesy Hawaiian music, but it was here nonetheless. I tend to shy away from tourist attractions in attempts to avoid large crowds who seem to have left their common sense at home, but in the heart of Waikiki beach is where it all began.
The morning started with the four of us standing on hot pavement waiting for a bus that would take at least an hour to get us where we wanted to go. We decided to walk around a little while we waited and ended up at a Hawaiian candy/smoothie store. Having very little money, I was thrilled that samples were scattered throughout the store, but each one was more disappointing than the last. This was not helping me get pumped up for Honolulu.
Finally, our bus came and the air was muggy, dirty, and tasted like stale breath. Feeling increasingly groggy from lack of fresh air, I tried to think less and less about the day to come, hoping that my money wouldn’t all be spent on over-priced tourist restaurants and chemical laden sunscreen. But boy, was I wrong.
After 2 hours on 2 busses, we finally get to the famous Waikiki section of Honolulu. The four of us stumbled into Duke’s and my three farm mates ordered the buffet, letting me mooch turkey pesto paninis, fish, and fresh Hawaiian fruit. I felt human again.
With tummy’s filled and the memory of the over-crowded bus fading, we worked our way out to the beach of blue water, blue like Chase Crawford’s eyes. Surprisingly, we managed to plop down in a relatively spacious area with easy access to a resort bathroom. A hula dancer and two musicians soundtracked our beach lounging.
Eventually, an old friend (well, as old as any friend can be when you’re 20) from high school made his way down to us with hilarious stories from high school and PBR to share. We spent hours making fun of people in their awkward teenage years and reliving tales of parties past. Something about finding a connection from home, some one to talk about “the good ol’ days”, brought so much ease and comfort to my homesick spirit.
After the sunset, my friend went home and the four of us girls began our hunt for dinner, which is not an understatement with Marisa being vegan AND gluten free. Somehow, Jimmy Buffet’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise” is what we landed on. Still not sure how that happened, but the pineapple beignets I ordered for dinner didn’t let me doubt our decision.
It was almost 9pm at this point and we still had to figure out how to take the bus home. We brainstormed about seducing the guitarists playing at the restaurant to take us home, since we were on their way back, or sleeping on Waikiki Beach and befriending some meth heads (also not my idea). Finally, we just asked our kick ass waitress.
“Sooooo, we live in Waianae, about an hour from Honolulu, and we don’t want to take the bus back but we also don’t want to pay for a cab. How do we get home?”
Our waitress furrowed her brows and sucked her breath in through clenched teeth, “Oh man. I know that route and IT SUCKS. If you don’t want to pay for a cab, the bus is pretty much your only option. Are any of you twenty-one?” She looks at us for a moment before Marisa realized she’s twenty-two. “Okay, here’s what you gotta do: go to the store to buy some alcohol and soda so you can dump out some of the soda to pour in the alcohol. This bus ride will be a piece of cake if you’re drunk.”
Of course, we all laughed like the naive car-reliant girls that we are before we realized she’s right. Shit. We payed and headed out to wander aimlessly around Waikiki debating whether or not to take a cab.
After too much time spent trying to come to a decision, Marisa walked over to an eco cab and just asked the driver how much it would cost.
“To Waianae? Probably about $80.”
We perked our heads up faster than a dog hearing the word “bacon.”
“Only $80?! We should totally do that. My phone says the bus will take SIX HOURS.” Haley looked up from the screen, hopeful about the cab. The cabs waiting in line behind our driver started honking and giving us dirty looks. Marisa, being from New York, asked the driver for his card so he could get out of the way.
After another ten minutes of debating (we found out the price was actually $130) and calling the cab driver at least twice, we decided to take it. Yet, again, Marisa was the one to call him.
“Hi. It’s the annoying girl. We decided that we need a ride.”
Ten minutes later he showed up and after we finished giggling about which Pandora station to pick, we grilled him with questions.
Marisa, sitting in the front seat asked him about his birthday, rising moon, and zodiac sign, “Aired, Cancer, Scorpio, Capricorn, Leo?”
“Nope,” he said, letting his irritation fade.
“Libra, Taurus, Gemini?”
Finally, I say, “Pisces, duh.”
“Yes. My birthday is in March.”
Barely giving him time to finish his sentence, Marisa blurts out, “Can I read your palm?!”
“Ummmm, sure?” He didn’t really seem to know how to react.
As soon as she gave the first description, the barriers between all of us came crashing down, like concrete being demolished. She then went on to read mine, Haley’s, and Rachael’s, predicting our love life to the tee.
“After this turn our house is on the right, but you can just drop us off here,” Marisa told him.
He looked over at her and said, with a little uncertainty in his voice, “You can call me any time. Not just for a ride, but to, you know, chat.” We all awed at him taking such a liking to us when we started out as the passengers from hell.
We squeamishly ran down the dark driveway, still fearful of mice, lizards, and other mysterious tropical creatures of the night, squealing and giggling, but secretly enjoying these last moments of our adventure.
Opening the front door officially ended the day, but began our tight bond and my love for this trip. Any doubts in my head wondering if this is really where I am supposed to be were left in the cab headed back to Honolulu. The next 6 weeks are going to rock.