All this travelling is really getting to us. The alarm went off at 7am, so we ignored it, went back to sleep, and instead woke up when the cleaners knocked on our door at 8.50am. Still, perhaps that’s the sign of a good holiday.
Today we decided to head up north towards North Shore, the famous surfing location on Oahu. We got ready, then we caught the free pink trolley bus to Ala Moana Center, then we waited for the 52 Circle Island bus. This bus, like all public buses in Hawaii costs $2.50USD, no matter the distance. When the bus pulls up, my advice is to wait at the front of the line to try and get a seat. Probably wouldn’t recommend the very back seat considering that’s where the engine is, giving you its gift of noise and warmth. However, sitting by the engine beats standing up for two hours. Which coincidentally was the amount of time it takes to go from Ala Moana Center to Waimea Bay. Since this is a public bus, the journey would probably be heaps quicker if you rented a car. Of course, it would cost $60USD instead of $5USD.
The bus slowly made its way through downtown Honolulu, including Chinatown. From what I could see, Chinatown is much like downtown except they’ve put Chinese words above the English words on shop fronts. Honolulu goes on for ages, just when you think you’re out of it, then you hit Pearl City, and its fellow harbour, Pearl Harbour. Moving on from there, it’s then past Waikele (where the outlet stores are), and then to central Oahu. Finally we got to see some native vegetation. A person on the bus asked if Pineapples grow on trees, or in the ground. After just checking Wikipedia right now, turns out they grow on a plant in the ground, but the fruit itself isn’t in the ground. Maybe you should just check Wikipedia yourself if you’re that interested in the lifecycle of Pineapples. Speaking of which, we went past the Dole Plantation, which is the home of pineapples on Oahu. It has the largest maze in the world, beating the Amazing Maze in Foxton. I can’t think of a more fun activity than being lost in a pineapple maze in the midday heat, with the sun beating down on you.
After that, we get to the middle portion of Oahu. The freeway turns into the interstate highway, except since Hawaii’s an island, it doesn’t link to any other states. But anyway, the scenery out here is a lot different to Waikiki. If you’re ever here, do yourself a favour and get out of Waikiki and Honolulu and explore the island a little more. See the sugar cane and pineapple plantations. See roads that are just made of dirt, yet are pretty much main roads. See people with outrageously large trucks and little regard for personal safety. Enjoy yourself.
After all of this, we finally made it to Waimea Bay. Just past the bay itself is presumably the small township of Waimea, featuring a small supermarket called Foodland, and a Starbucks. We stopped here for a coffee, and some food. I love supermarkets, you get a real feel for how regular people act and shop, and you get to see the foods that are sold to the masses. Today I found the largest fried chicken of my life, with massive thighs about a third larger than the ones sold at the Bakehouse Cafe (now Town and Country Cafe) for $1.50USD. I was impressed. For my side, I had Mac and Cheese, and some chocolate puddings to round out the meal. Now before you say that’s enough Tubby, we then we snorkelling for the next three or four hours. So beat that.
Speaking of which, we headed to the beach. We only picked this beach because it was the closest one to the supermarket. And yet it was an amazing beach. Turns out there was a huge variety of fish down there, at least as much as the famed Hanauma Bay ocean park, except far less people, and a better environment for snorkelling. We grabbed a couple of snorkels from Foodland (@ $10USD a pop), and we went for it. Seriously amazing. Fish all colours of the rainbow, and my personal highlight, watching a school of fish feeding, and seeing how they swam and interacted with the environment, as I floated above. It was great, just great, and all for $25USD, including snorkels.
But everything great must come to an end, and with showers on the way, we decided to head back home. No stresses at all, just caught the same bus back for another $5USD. All fairly smooth running except for the crazy Hawaiian guy who was damn angry that were weren’t taking the most direct route to Ala Moana Center. In fact he was furious, and making a scene on the bus.