After waking up at 4am in order to catch the 7:45 flight and then almost eight hours of flying I landed in Honolulu this afternoon. I must confess having some reservations about Honolulu – mostly being afraid that it would end up a tacky tourist resort, kind of like Pattaya. I am glad to report that while it is certainly no deserted island getaway, I truly like the place. Honolulu has a destintively Asian feel and in fact it reminds me to some extent all three of my favourite Asian cities – Bangkok, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Not surprisingly, Honolulu ranks the highest among the US cities in terms of quality of life, with San Francisco right on its heels. The level of laid-backness of people has reached new heights – when I stepped of a bus in Waikīkī there was a man walking on the street, strumming his ukulele with a laptop bag over the other shoulder. And tonight, when I was waiting for a green light at the crossring, a taxi slowed down, driver rolled down the window, pointed a finger on me and bellowed with a deep and happy voice, “God bless you, man”, and drove on.
After dropping my bag in the hotel I went to the beach to check out the surf lessons. There seems to be plenty of choice and some choices seem to be much better than others. Having checked out a few different places I finally agreed my tomorrow’s lesson for early in the morning. The impossibly tanned and very chilled guy I spoke to promised to have me riding in no time and said that tomorrow’s conditions are going to be perfect, as “southerly swell is coming in” – whatever that means I have no idea, but the way it was delivered left no doubt that it’s a good thing to happen. Apparently the only two things I will need tomorrow are 30+ SPF sunblock and a pair of board shorts, so after this meeting I headed to a string of surf shops in Kalakaua Avenue where I tried hard to find a pair of shorts that would hit the delicate balance between me looking neither drab nor completely ridiculous – fighting off the temptation to buy shorts with fire-breathing dragons or scantly clad female manga characters on them.
Anyway, tomorrow morning at 7am I will be on the Waikīkī beach like a bunny, in my new pair of boardshorts, hoping that southerly swell doesn’t let us surfers down!