Welcome to Waikiki.

I flew into Honolulu yesterday, and was lucky enough to have a window seat on the right side of the plane. The approach was pretty spectacular, over the sea, with the island of Oahu clearly visible below. Our approach brought us in past Diamond Head, and then the main part of Honolulu itself.

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At the airport I had a while to wait before I would possibly be picked up by my Honolulu contacts, and I decided to get the bus into the city, as the fare was only $2, and I thought I might find an internet cafe to check emails.

The bus arrived, and I had the misfortune to meet the rudest bus driver I have ever encountered. A poor Japanese girl only had a ten dollar note, but received no help from the obnoxious driver. I had enough change to change the ten dollar note, and did so. As we quickly changed our money, the bus driver started telling me I couldn’t get on the bus. He did not want me on his bus with my rucksac! “No big bags!” he said.

I could not believe it. “We’re at an airport!” The driver did not care, and I looked down the bus, which contained no more than ten passengers, with so many empty seats. “Will I be inconveniencing anyone? I don’t think so!” It didn’t matter, I wasn’t getting on. “Where is the Aloha spirit I have heard so much about?” I asked.

“Oh yeah, Aloha,” he said, full of sarcasm.

As I stepped off the bus he shut the doors and drove off, leaving the lady who was waiting behind me, who was as furious as I was.

At the moment I am still waiting to hear back from the bus company, as I rang their customer service department immediately, but they were closed. So be warned, if coming to Honolulu, pack light, or plan on getting a taxi!

Anyway, a couple of minutes later I got a call from Matt, saying he could pick me up shortly, and he and his wife Jackie soon arrived at the airport, and took me to their apartment in Diamond Head, near the famous Waikiki Beach.

Matt and Jackie moved here from Washington DC back in October last year, because they were keen to experience a different lifestyle, and did not want to look back later in life with any regrets. They had come across my story, and were happy to offer a place for me to stay as I pass through this way.

They now live directly on the ocean in a fantastic place, and my accomodation for the next few days is on the sofa here, with the most amazing sea view.

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So today I have spent most of my time lounging around on the balcony and catching up on emails and blogs, and planning my forthcoming visit to Japan. It has been really nice to just stop for a day and relax a bit.

However, I did manage to get out this afternoon and take a stroll into Waikiki, where I found a couple of places that do outrigger canoe rides in the surf at pretty reasonable rates, so it looks like the next goal should be relatively easy to achieve. I am waiting until the weekend, hopefully to gather a couple more of my local internet contacts and get a group together to ride the surf with.

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