There are pros and cons to travelling alone. On the plus side, you can do what you want, when you want, without having to consider anyone else. And I think people talk to a person alone more readily than they do a couple or a group. You get better stories. Yesterday, I adopted (or was adopted by) a Japanese American family who gave me a lift to the bus station, an Australian couple off a cruise ship from Townsville, and a Canadian family from British Columbia. (How to look instantly tanned – hang out with Canadians).
On the minus side, it’s more expensive. Going to family or group oriented things can suck so badly you avoid them, and getting home after dark as a single female staying off the beaten track freaks me out. So going out for dinner can be a trial. I really wanted to be a tacky tourist and go to a Luau, but I didn’t. Lesson number 1. Screw the expense. Screw the noise. Stay in the centre of Touristville. I was a little worried Waikiki would be like Kuta. It's not. I don't think more than a few days of it would be fun, but next time, I'll start there.
|Little white room on the right - home for 3 nights|
The other trouble with solo travel is THINKING. I have spent the last three or four days (I did Sunday twice, does that count as an extra day) THINKING how to get from point A to point B. From the moment my parents dropped me at the airport, it was a constant stream of which desk, which gate, which seat, which transfer, do I have enough time to get food before the next flight? Where’s the shuttle? Where should I go tomorrow? How do I get there? Which bus to catch? I'm tired of thinking.
Yesterday I caught public transport halfway around the island. I set out at 11 and got back at 7:30pm. Again, which bus-stop? which bus? where do I transfer? when’s the next bus? This was on my hosts’ recommendation. "Why pay for a tour when you can get the local bus around the island for $2.50?" WELL. Let me tell you…
The round island buses go every hour. It takes 3.5 hours non stop. If I’d stopped in more than one place, I’d have been home well after dark. I saw a LOT of the island flash by through dirty windows and if I hadn’t spent hours on public buses the previous day finding somewhere to get a prepaid SIM card with data roaming (Here’s a thought – SIM card vendors at international airports - would make a fortune!), I wouldn’t have had a clue where I was or how often the buses ran. Hence picking up a gaggle of stray Canadians and Aussies and acting as tour guide “Um, that’s Halie –um – I think it’s HaliEVA? And I think we have to change buses in the next town?”. Needless to say, I didn’t get tipped.
Hence, lunch with the Canadians was the one stop and this is the one photo I took on my round Oahu local bus tour. To the Americans, it's probably nothing special. To me, it was rather iconic.
Jetlag hit last night and despite having spent a long day (sitting on my butt on a bus), I couldn't sleep till 2am. My kindly hosts bashed on the door at 6:45 and said they'd remembered I'd wanted to hike Diamond Head Crater, and if I was ready in 15, they'd drop me off. I was ready in 15.
By 8am, it was 27 degrees and I was up the top of a volcano crater. Ugh. It was only a 2km hike but I had forgotten how much I hate climbing things, especially in hot weather. Still, the views were good. But when a man who looked like the love-child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bear Grylls (and was sweating more than anyone I've ever seen sweat) started a monologue about the area and selling his 'eco-tour' with the terms "relaxing, cool and no where near as hard as this climb", I decided to go for it. The idea of someone taking over, driving me around and removing the responsibility of THINKING totally sold me on a science-history tour which, if you don't know me well, is NOT a Laura thing to do.
Tell me, am I wrong or should this man be calling himself The Bearanegger?
He was AMAZING. It was like having a 4 hour botany, chemistry, alternative medicine and history lesson all rolled into one. He spouted plant, naturopathy and Hawaiian history facts non-stop and was a real character to boot. If you're ever in Hawaii, check out guides of Oahu. This man volunteers and counsels at a teen drop-in centre, runs his own guide business, hikes Diamond Head most days and volunteers for Hawaiian Search and Rescue. We saw spots where Lost was filmed, traditional burial spots, the original Summer Palace of Someone-or-other-I-can't-spell the first, and passed a filming of Hawaii 5O quite by chance.
He did talk a bit too much about the healing and diagnostic properties of urine via some chemical reaction that eluded me, and he did tell us that drinking water was THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER. After telling us to bring water bottles but that there would be places to refill them everywhere (everywhere turned out to be somewhere there used to be a reticulation faucet at the cemetery which was the first stop), he asked"Has anyone got a headache? you're probably dehydrated." (Yes, I know that, I asked you about water 2 stops ago, can't you funnel some out of a tree with a bamboo shoot or filter some urine or something?). He might have been a tad full of it, but it was damn entertaining and well worth the $45.
More of this tomorrow, then off to SLC and Sewing Summit.