Lesson Number One: Waikiki does not feel like Paradise. To me. No offense to lovers of that place, but man. I couldn't even cope with it. It's packed with tourists, it's crazy expensive, and it's over the top glitz & glam. If it was at all possible for Hello Kitty to mate with Liberace, Waikiki would be their Love Child. And where the hell did Rodeo Drive come from, by the way? I've been to Hawaii three times before, but the last trip was about twelve (I think?) years back, and I'm pretty sure Fendi, Ferragamo, and Luis Vuitton were not on the scene back then. Then again, I've never felt the need to put much time into Honolulu. North Shore's where it's at, in this gal's humble opinion.
Lesson Number Two: I do not want to live in Hawaii. I used to dream of the day when I'd live there, in the way back when, Before-Time. (Before the Mister, that is.) And when the Mister and I were first together, we'd talk of moving there, someday. Raising our little surf grommets to be the next world champs. Inviting Kelly and Jack over for a barbecue. Nothing fancy, mind you. Just some friends, hanging out. As you do.
Turns out, my imagination is awesome. It gets the better of me rather often. What's life without a dream or two, though? (Answer: boring, old Reality. With a capital R. Blech.) The Mister and I called ourselves "Locals by Day, Tourists by Night" while on our little stint, as we worked with the lovely, friendly, but oh-so-not-in-a-rush Hawaiian hotel staff to complete a renovation, then meandered about in the evening, trying not to blow our entire stipend on one meal. I can't even wrap my head around how hard you'd have to work there, in order to simply survive. That kind of work is not for me. More power to the locals though. And I now get why they move on slow-mo-speed.
Lesson Number Three: There's nothing like a good, home-cooked meal. Especially when a fair to middling one just might put you in the poor-house. I was all set to rock the local cuisine, did my research, and after seeing a rerun of No Reservations, where Anthony Bourdain, in all his sardonic glory, gets down with some Hawaiian food, I mapped out our meals. Factor in exhaustion and long days spent working, and you'll get why I didn't quite make it as far as I intended on our food appreciation tour of Hawaii. We did make it to Puka Dog, which was, um, well, hot dogs. With a tasty choice of tropical sauces and relishes, it's true...but still, hot dogs, at the end of the day. Had a gorgeous meal of locally caught sushi, and some delicious North Shore meals (when we finally managed to finish our work). And we did try the plate lunch, a Hawaiian classic, super cheap and (kind of) cheerful food in a-freaking-bundance. You could feed a family of four off of one plate lunch. Sadly, I did not so much enjoy it, though. Oh, well. Hard to find good vegetable dishes there, at least in wacky Waikiki. It was pretty flattering to hear the Mister say, on the plane home, that he couldn't wait to eat some of my cooking. Thanks, Mister.
And lastly, Lesson Number Four: Home Sweet Home. I missed the Kiddos like crazy. I like my own bed, where the mattress has a nice, soft spot, just for me. I love cooking meals in my wee kitchen. And I dig going at my own pace.
We had a good time in Hawaii, here and there, though, I promise you that. The Mister and I are not ones to go somewhere and not have fun, nor are we ones to look a gift horse in the mouth...even if we had to work our arses off for it.
The Mister did get to enjoy some decent, if not epic, waves...
I got to spend a wee bit of time relaxing on the beach, watching surf and sunset, and snapping shots...
All in all, not too shabby. And I do so enjoy watching the surfers. Especially my very own surfer.
But it's good to be home.