***Please bare with this long entry. This is a 7-Part blog.***
For the longest time, the thought of Hawaii has crossed my mind. Teasing, tingling my mind. At 27, I’m probably the last person on earth to have traveled to Hawaii. When I told people that it would be my first time, I was given a puzzled expression. What? Are you from another planet or something? Yes I am. And I am broke.
The First Calling
I remember sitting in some shanty business office, like something you’d see at an auto body shop, watching the 13” black and white TV while waiting for my car. It was always some lame program you didn’t want to watch, like NASCAR. And the remote control was nowhere in sight, and it would’ve been too audacious of me to get a chair to reach up for the channel buttons, in case the other patrons were interested in NASCAR. Perusing through the limited magazine selection, my eyes caught that ubiquitous sweepstakes box. The kind with the out-of-ink-since-last-year pen TIED to the box. I didn’t know that Bic pens were in such high demand. They freaking cost a dime anyway. “Win a Free Trip to Hawaii!” it screamed. The box had a stock image of this couple obviously from the late 80s walking hand in hand down Waikiki Beach, besides a photoshopped palm tree. The guy had a slight mullet and wore some black Vuarnets and yellow trunks, and his new wife wearing a leopard-skin, one-piece bathing suit. I don’t believe in sweepstakes because I know it’s just a way for companies to send you crap you don’t need. Bored out of my mind, I said, “Why not?” I wanna be wearing black vuarnet sunglasses and yellow trunks with my freshly-grown mullet.
The Second Calling
A while back I had to take my mom to the hospital for a checkup, and again I found myself situated in the waiting room with other people who didn’t want to be there. With my iPod on me, I laid back and watched the 20” color tv. A man got up and politely asked if he could change the channel… “John Johnson… come on down!!!” Yep, it’s everyone’s favorite game show The Price Is Right, with the still living, Bob Barker. What is it about this show? The contestants only consist of two species of human life: old people and military people. I can’t help but cheer for them though. The way they run down to the bidding booths and bounce around like they’ve never seen a Montgomery Ward or Sears catalog. So this guy that gets the winning bid, ends up in the next stage, where the prize is, you guessed it, a trip to Hawaii. It was great how the showcase transformed into a faux-Hawaii setting with the models playing beach ball. I suddenly envisioned myself on that bidding booth winning that trip to Hawaii. Yeah, I’ll admit it, I probably would’ve bounced around like I was on ecstasy and maybe even threw in a few backflips. I needed to go to Hawaii.
The callings finally took me and my friends to Hawaii this month. It worked out perfectly because three of us were Hawaiian-Island virgins. The others had been a few times and knew exactly where to take us.
After a quick 5 hour flight, we landed. Okay, keep in mind that I had MANY expectations in Hawaii. I’ve obviously been exposed to too much television and sweepstake boxes. Expectation #1: UPON GETTING OFF, I expected to get lei’d. (Yes, laugh you dirty people.) I was like, where the hell are the two beautiful Polynesian beauties with the purple orchid leis? I wanna get lei’d. We then checked into our 2-star craphole we got off Expedia. My package was about $500, so it wasn’t bad. I wasn’t planning on spending most of my time vacationing in the hotel room anyway.
I couldn’t complain though, Waikiki Beach was directly across the street from us, but intensely crowded. And that leads to Expectation #2: the water is warm, but not crystal clear!!! Waikiki Beach is way overcrowded by tourists wearing fanny packs, including myself, and has gradually become dirtier over the years.
Wednesday, October 19th
On the first day, with no car, we were limited to the surrounding restaurants on Kalakaua Avenue, the main street in Waikiki. And I was glad to know that there were plenty of Japanese restaurants to dine at. After passing about 19 ABC Stores in that 5-block walk, we decided to head to the International Market Place for the food court. They had every type of cuisine imaginable but I already had my mind set on ramen.
I ate at this place called Hokkaido Noodle House, a Vietnamese-runned ramen shop. I expected it to be a bowl of heaven. Nope. A pure bowl of crap. I don’t know if any type of soup noodle can taste good if it's served in a styrofoam bowl, or any food in general. I won’t be eating at the International Market Place again. We didn’t have any means of transportation, so we had no choice really.
For dinner, again with no car, we relied on our own instincts and ended up at this so-so sushi joint called Run, which is right by the Tiki Bar. If it weren’t for the conveyor belt gimmick, I don’t if this place would last too long. I ordered the $10 platter of sushi, which looks good, but as the saying goes… you get what you pay for. My friend had the ramen, which was as bad as Hokkaido’s, but without the savory taste of Styrofoam. I couldn’t wait for the next day when we would have a car.
***A note to Kirk and Reid, the Hawaiian-natives, I know you guys are shaking your head at me right now haha. I know, I know, I should’ve done the research with you guys BEFORE I landed. But trust me, the food gets better!
Monday, October 31, 2005
Posted by e d b m at 3:05 PM