Travel and Kultureclub – Living in Paradise
Many people already know that I was stationed in Hawai’i for almost four years. Let me just say that I remember exactly when I arrived and what I did my first night there. It was October 25th, 2001 after a 12 hour flight from DC. I arrived at the airport with no chick with a lei waiting for me (bummer) but instead, was told to go to the USO office to wait for my ride to take me to Schofield Barracks. I got there, and saw a couple of people I knew and signed in at the staff duty office. I got my bed set and headed to the first floor room where I would stay with another roommate for about 3 years. So no, I didn’t party that night, but I did go out a couple of days later since it was the weekend and saw 13 Ghosts with some friends. Also during that weekend, I went downtown Honolulu to hang out, smoked a black n mild, and chiled at the Ohana hotel with some friends. Came back on Sunday and from there on, began my life in paradise on teh island of O’ahu..
I just realized that I’m a pretty boring person. I mean, I can be fun and I like to have fun, but looking back on my time there, I notice that I didn’t do none of the traditional things that most tourists would do when they come to Hawai’i. I never attended a lua’u, I got lost trying to find the Polynesian Culture center for an assignment, I never went to Turtle Bay, I was rarely on the other side of the Island by Kaneohe Bay(K-bay) and I never got to visit the other Islands. So what did I do there?
Pearl Harbor- This was a very humbling experience. One must take a boat ride to out on the water to view the ship. It’s still leaking oil to this very day and you can see the hull from the bottom. They have the names of those that died inscribed in the memorial. Over 1100 shipmen perished on that day and are buried in that ship.
Iolani Palace – This is considered to be the Nations’ first palace. Funny because they(Americans) pretty much took over but still. The palace is beautiful and sits dowtown Honolulu. I had to go there for an art or a anthropology assignment. It’s pretty cheap to get in but we couldn’t take pictures, so I took at picture of the palace on the outside.
Hanama Bay – This is were you would see a lot of coral and pretty fish thru scubba diving. Ok, I didn’t do all that, but the beach was nice? And I lookd at the pretty coral and fish at another beach that I can’t think of the name of right now.
Waikiki – This area is always packed with tourists and stay busy. I remember celebrating New years on the beach with some friends and watching the fireworks over the ocean. Waikiki is also home to some clubs that I frequented( Rumors, World Cafe, Zanzibar). There’s a cage in Rumors where one can go in a dance. It stay packed in that place. There were a couple more clubs I went to, the Cellar and Blue Tropics. The cellar reminds me of a club in the hood because there was always a fight breaking out over there. And the dance floor was way too small with a bunch of ignorant acting nig-.. fools. Blue tropics was more for the 18 and over(under) crowd. They had monkeys in a glass case as a display(I’m not lying!) Waikiki reminds me of being on Rodeo drive because it’s so sunny and a lot of the shops line the strip such as Gucci, Coach, Burberry, and the renaissance hotel. The hookers walk the strip and the police don’t pay it no mind. I even saw little asian pimps and some dude in an orange gator outfit with a jheri curl with his girls surrounding him.
North Shore – This was my favorite area to go to. It’s laid back, very chill and not too many people up there. They usually have the surf competition there as well because of how high the waves get. In the winter time, One can watch the waves crash on the beach. I spent my first new years there at north shore and Haliewa which is a small town nearby.
Dole Plantation – If you ever decide to come to Hawai’i, the Dole Plantation is a fun an interesting experience. The entire island smells like pineapple and most of it come from the pineapple fields. There’s a small shop that sells pineapple and other souvenirs there and you can tour the plantation through the maze. I even got to feed the koi fish swimming in a small pond.
Diamond Head – This was pretty scary but I did have fun. Me and a couple of friends decided it would be a good idea to go to Diamond Head just to say we went there. Well, we ended up climbing to the very top of the mountain and even receiving a certificate of completion. It has a gorgeous view of Waikiki beach and some of the hotels nearby. I thought I was looking at a painting.
Atlantis Submarine Cruise – I took my husband there because he was outprocessing and was leaving the island. Atlantis Submarine is an underwater tour of marine life and a sunken ship. I tried to take as many pictures as I could but I had a disposable camera and the pic didn’t come out as good as I thought. Right after that, We went on a cruise halfway around the island. I wanted to do a whole tour, but they said that they weren’t doing those no more. I could have gone to Maui but I have this fear of small planes, and he had to leave soon. The cruise was nice and watching the sunset was romantic.
Wildlife – Ever seen those Geico commercials with the gecko? That’s exactly what Hawai’i has and way too many of them for my taste. They look like little lizards but they are practically harmless. Except that they poop everywhere, I don’t like them crawling on me, and they are just too creepy. They also have a lot of taro plants growing there and frogs. Hawai’i is not allowed to have snakes on the island because of the damage it can do to the ecosystem. You can’t even dump your fish in a local pond and have to take it somewhere for it to be processed.
Food – Ok, I’ll try to keep it short, but I think I had some of the best food on that island. I ate sushi all the time and it was my first time experiencing conveyor belt style eating. I didn’t hit up many of the gourmet style restaurants like Sam Choys’ because I heard he was expensive. I mostly ate at local joints like Genki Sushi, L & L, and Shaved Ice from Matsumoto. Over there, I got to experience authentic Chinese food, not the fake shit that comes from the carryouts here, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, and traditional Hawaiian. They seem to like everything kim chee style and lomi lomi. I’ve had taro root baked into just about everything and Kalua pig. It’s just roast pig roasted underground and it comes out juicy and a little salty. Over there, the McDonalds serve pineapple and spam with almost everything. And did I mention that I had the best Mai Tai and Lava Flow there?
Shopping – I think I hit up just about every mall on that Island. My personal favorite of course was Ala Moana where mostly the rich people shopped. Kinda like Tysons’ Corner outside DC except they had some affordable fare there as well. I made a little extra money then due to me getting COLA so I would go to the DKNY store and or WetSeal. It’s a beautiful mall with a huge eatery and even a japanese grocery store at the top-level. Pearlridge is kinda like a poor mans’ mall located in Pearl City. I got my flower tattoo up the street from that mall and my glamour shot pics in th mall. I also went to The Royal Hawaiian Hotel where I was introduced to LUSH by my roommate. My other favorite was the Waikele Outlets.
The Beaches – I got to go to several beaches while there. One was at Barber’s Point, which is near the Hawaii National Guard base. Our unit had a BBQ for someone and we all gathered there. I even saw a beached seal. We weren’t allowed to touch the animals, so I just took a picture of it. Another beach I went to a lot was Waimea Bay. Just quiet and peaceful and the water was so blue that you can see the fish swimming through and the colorful coral.
Housing – During my last year there, I got to live off post and moved to Ewa Beach and Mililani. Both areas are really nice and Ewa Beach was about a mile from the beach and Mililani was in the middle of the island. If you ever live there, You’ll either be near the beach or a big ass mountain. Rents are VERY expensive I paid $1200 for the 1st spot and $1800 for the 2nd. You cannot own land there neither, just the house. Hawaii even has hoods there too. Waihwa was the nearest town I was stationed in and there was always something poppin off in that area. It wasn’t really safe there if you’re white or anything other than Hawaiian. Also, on the other side of the island such as Hawaii Kai, and K-bay, there were mansions where folks such as John Travolta and other movie stars and millionaires had homes. The architectural structure of these homes and the spaciousness of it was enough for pure envy. I visited a business buddy of mine who live in one of these homes as he was showing us around the neighborhood. Everyone there had scenic views of the ocean and mountains and almost everyone drove either a beamer, benz or bentley(he drove a range rover)
That’s about it here. Partying took up most of my time there and chillin on the beach. And for an added bonus, I got to go to the Probowl in 2005. Hawai’i is a great getaway and I would love to go back. Hopefully, you all will go too.
SPECIAL NOTE*** more pics of my adventures will be uploaded late tomorrow 🙂