Sunday, January 11, 2009

I survived Oahu, barely

By K.J. Cardinal

I obviously made it back safely from my recent trip to Oahu, but it's taken me about four days to recover...and I'm not sure I'm 100% yet.

This post has been a daunting task for me since I got back on Monday night because I'm not sure where to begin and I'm confident that I could easily write 10,000 words on my trip. It was amazing. So, bear with me on this long post.

Anyway, my flight left Logan Airport for Honolulu on Saturday, December 27 at 11:20 a.m. (EST). After stopping in San Fran, I arrived in Hawaii at 8:04 p.m. (HST).

I originally planned on hanging out at the airport for an hour until my friends Mike & Jamie arrived so we could split a cab ride to Turtle Bay. But, Mike & Jamie's connecting flight out of Atlanta got delayed over two hours, so I didn't want to sit in the airport for three hours, while paradise awaited me.

So, I headed out the cab stand and asked the dispatch how much for a cab ride to Turtle Bay. The dispatcher told me it would be about $85-90. This was obviously pretty steep and come to find out WAAAAYYY off.

The hour-long cab ride was definitely an eventful one. First off, I updated both blogs. Then, I pulled up a Google map to make sure that this cabbie wasn't stiffing me. Come to find out, there are only a handful of roads that go to the North Shore, so the cabbie didn't really have many options anyway.

About 40 minutes into the cab ride, with the meter already at $80, the cabbie and I had the following exchange:
CABBIE: "Excuse me sir. Can I ask you a question?"
ME: "Of course."
CABBIE: "Would it be OK if I stop to get gas?"
ME: "What if I say 'No'?"
CABBIE: "Well, I have no bars left?"
ME: "Do what you have to do, but stop the meter so I don't have to pay for that too."
CABBIE: "OK. I can't stop the meter, but I will give you a discount."
ME: "Fair enough."

After that fun exchange, we proceeded to stop for gas and then continue on our way.

When the cab finally came to a stop, the meter had topped off at $131.10. The cabbie gave me a $5 discount, so I gave him $130 for his troubles.

Having spent the past 10 years living in and around Boston and traveling all over the country for work with Northeastern and America East, I have taken my fair share of cab rides, but never once has the meter hit $80... nevermind $130. I was so astounded that I had to take a photo, which completely, and understandably, puzzled the cabbie.

I quickly forgot about the monstrous cab fare when I saw Murph and he showed me the place that we'd be staying at. The photo at left is of the bunk beds that I shared with Tyler (I got dibs on BOTTOM!).

These bunks don't look too appealing, but the whole place was awesome. It had three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms, a full kitchen with bar set-up, a flat-screen TV, lots of island feel to it and most importantly, wireless internet.

Ty and I came to call our bedroom the "batcave" because there weren't any windows and it had an in-the-wall AC unit that we cranked all week. It was such an ideal sleeping spot, which is good because we'd only get a handful of hours each day, so we needed those hours to pristine sleeping.

Instead of taking you on a day-by-day recap of the trip (if you want to read that, it's on, I'll just give you the highlights.

My favorite thing that we did while there, other than just hanging out and our general debauchery, was go to Hanauma Bay. This place is truly amazing and even though it was packed with tourists like us, it was still one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

It was a great day and we took advantage of the weather by snorkeling all afternoon. I was psyched because I got to use the new underwater housing for my HD camcorder. I haven't had the time to take the footage off the camcorder yet, but when I do I'll post some here because it was pretty cool.

The first time that I ever snorkeled was a few years ago when Angie, Sammy and I went on a cruise and it is something that I could definitely get addicted to. It's so relaxing and great to feel like you're one with nature, but it's also an adrenaline rush because it frightens you a little when a fish comes out of no where and swims right by you.

Another cool place that we went to was Sunset Beach. The skies never completely cleared up when we went there, but the photo at left is still amazing. Sunset Beach was only about a 10-minute drive from where we were staying, so we ended up stopping there probably four or five times.

On New Year's Eve day, we decided to take the boogie boards out for a spin that were in the rental house. What a TERRIBLE idea this was.

It was an angry, angry sea and it was a very dangerous scene. There were waves that were over 20 feet. We only got out about a hundred feet or so from the shore and we all struggled to get back in.

At one point, Mike collided with Mellen, then I collided with Mellen and then Mellen collided with a rock. Mellen tore up his right thigh pretty badly... two cuts and a deep bruise. We were all lucky to get out alive...seriously.

After I collided with Mellen, it took me a wave or two to put myself back together. When I finally did, I looked to the shore to see a man frantically pointing with both hands for me to get right... he looked like an airtraffic controller on speed.

Based on his urgent reaction, I knew that I was pretty much right on top of the big lava rock thing that Murph and I got our honeymoon photo taken on earlier in the week. I looked down and I could literally touch that rock with my right hand.

I was rather freaked out and thankfully there was a small window without any waves that allowed me time to paddle like a mad man to get off of that rock.

The rest of the crew had exited the water from our entry point and they were a little freaked when they gathered themselves and did a headcount to find that they were a man down. Then, a few seconds later they saw me come strolling down the beach WAAAAYYY down with my boogie board under my arm.

Once we were able to get our heads back on straight, we all confessed how scared we were. Moral of the story: Definitely don't attempt anything like that if you ever visit the North Shore of Oahu in December during high tide.

New Year's Eve itself was an unforgettable occasion. Scott rented an 18-passenger stretch Escalade for the 11 of us to take down to Waikiki. We booked reservations at Duke's, right on Waikiki Beach.

The dinner itself was awesome. A four-course meal with PLENTY of drinks. At 11:45, we ordered one last drink in "to-go" cups and paid our bill so we could walk outside to get a better spot to view the fireworks.

The fireworks were great and the whole event was pretty much surreal for me. I was standing there in Hawaii, about 70 degrees out, wearing sandals and drinking a SoCo and Coke... on New Year's Eve?!?! It was really amazing and something that I'll never forget.

After the fireworks, it was game on!

We headed over to a local watering hole, called Lava Rock Lounge, and we kicked off the new year in classic fashion. The people watching at this place was like no other and we had a blast.

On our last full day on the North Shore, we decided to take a nice walk/hike out on Ka'ena Point. We went about halfway out on the 3 mile hike and scenery was amazing.

At this point there were only six of us remaining (see left) as the trip was winding down. I wish we would've kept going the entire three miles because the beach from the plane crash scene in Lost was out there, but not everyone was so eager to walk three miles out, only to walk three miles back, so we opted to head back.

While we were visiting a beach right near Rabbit Island, there was a wedding taking place. It was such a picturesque moment and even though some people think it's cliche to get married in Hawaii, after seeing it in person I couldn't disagree more.

Anyway, immediately after the ceremony, while the bridal party was exiting, I snapped the below photo.

These kids and their dad were part of the wedding, but apparently the kids "had to go." Insert pedophile jokes about me here, but I don't care it was so hilarious I had to get a pic.

So, that's basically my trip in a nutshell. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't missing Angie and Anna terribly while I was there though. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast, but I was definitely ready to get home to see the girls.

Angie and Anna came to pick me up at the airport and boy were they a sight for soar eyes. I had literally been traveling for 19 hours and to see the two of them was the best way to cap off a great trip.

Thanks so much for letting me take the trip, Ang. I'm not sure if I'd go away that long again without you and Anna, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and trip, so I'm glad I did it. Mahalo!

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear you had so much fun! I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures. Next time - I'm going with you :)

    <3 Kat-er