The first thing I usually do when I arrive in a new country, I check out the area around my hostel. This is first practical to check out where the next bus stop is and to find a close grocery story and second, it’s a first impression and maybe it can make the exertions of the journey bearable (such as a long flight 😉 ).
The first day in Honolulu, I spent walking around, realizing that I am in Hawaii and that I am incredibly far away from home (11 hours in ‘the past’ to Germany). Another thing was that we had November and in my mind, the temperature should fall below 0°C (32°F). But this island was the living summer dream. I read on Facebook about friends back home who counted the days until the Christmas Markets would open or who complained about the cold temperature, while I was sitting at the beach in shorts and a tank top. If anything, it was unreal! The sun was burning and the weather App showed me around 30°C (86°F). That was…weird and cool and strange and impossible, but true!
My hostel was at the Waikiki Beach area and just around the corner, I stood directly at the beach and a bronze statue awaited me with the typical floral wreath (lei in Hawaiian) around his wrists. They were fresh and natural, nothing synthetic and I guess that people buy the leis every morning in one of the hundreds ABC stores around that place and put them there. Later I found out that this is the Duke Kahanmoku who is known to be the inventor of Surfing. Waikiki Beach is always full of people, either taking a sun bath or walking around, surfing, taking pictures or just chilling in the few shadows. The beach itself is rather small and therefore, people are laying very close to each other. Those, who can and want to effort it, rent an umbrella and that’s almost the only way to avoid the sun…there are no trees to hide. I recommend to turn left at the statue and walk a bit further. At some point, the beach is less crowded and if you don’t mind to cross a small pedestrian before jumping into the water, there are some trees and also shadow 😉 BTW…it’s not a good idea to jump into the water right away, because the water close to the beach is not very deep. It is perfect for toddlers and children or adults who can not swim. If you really want to swim, you have to go a bit deeper into the sea. But then, it is very churning, the reason why it is a surfers paradise.
Surfers are everywhere and even though you don’t see any, they leave there marks. Nearly all of those small ways to the beach are purled with boards in any design and size you can think of. If you want to watch the surfers, you should come to the beach between 6-7 am, because then the waves are very high and the pro surfers exercise. But be aware of the bear sea! When I sat there one morning on my beach towel, with my kindle, camera, and mobile phone around me, suddenly the water flooded me. I kicked the towel away and I hoped that I saved all of my things or at least my electronic things.
It took me 1 hour to clean my camera, which is a DSLR camera, and to free it from the sand. But the camera was just full of sand, nothing else, no water hit it and I was extremely happy. All of the other electronic things were save as they were kind of wrapped into the towel and did not touch the ground.
Anyway. Walking along the beach was nice, there was shadow from time to time because of little shelters (where you could also buy grilled food and drinks during the day). But the best shadow providers were the Big Trees. I don’t know the name of those trees, but I found them quite often. And the doves and other birds of Hawaii use to live here. It is a auditive spectacle to be close to such a tree as there are living various kinds of birds. But they were so tiny, that I couldn’t take a picture of them or even see them.
The walk is prepared with some small ‘sights’ as little fountains and installations with water and plants. They are nice to look at and I felt a bit more to be in paradise, especially I found everywhere the typical hibiscus flower. The installations are like oases and it is a real treat for the eyes to spend there some time (and my feet also appreciated it a lot).
But the best part is really the panorama of Waikiki beach and every step you walk further, another perspective appears and of course, you will probably take a lot of photos, just as I did.
The statues were pretty cool, but I was a bit torn with the accessory all of the figures had: a pair of those funny looking eyes you can buy in an art supply store. Now, I laugh about it and it looks really ridiculous. 😀
At some point, I reached a bridge made of concrete into the water which offered me another scenic view. I can promise you: The water was really that blue and as warm as in a bathtub 😉
As I went closer to the Waikiki Aquarium, I already saw that the walk would be over soon. And so I walked back to my starting point but this time, through a park with trees with aerial roots.
When I left my starting point behind, I came into the ‘city’. It is basically made of hotels, shops and stores and restaurants. Sometimes, I found some other statuaries as the one below showing the King Kamehameha with a little girl sitting next to him. Another funny fact is that Hawaii is also preparing for Christmas in November, putting bows on the palm trees or wreaths on buildings as well as holiday lights. They planted even Christmas flowers! For a person like me who grew up close to the Erz Mountains in Saxony/Germany, relating Christmas to loads of snow and cold temperatures, it was very amusing.
As the sun went down, I went to the beach again to look at the sunset. I was not the only person with this idea. And I also saw my first Honolulu-bridal pair that took photos at the beach. But the best was the light of the sunset, the reflection in the water and the shadows of the silhouettes of children playing in the warm water and their parents. On the horizon, I saw the boats, sailing ships and freighters starting or ending their long journey over the Pacific ocean. It was a moment of inner happiness and at the end of this first day I realized: I am really in Hawaii, thousands of kilometres and several hours away from home – and I didn’t regret it, neither I wanted to be somewhere else. Mahalo!