Yes, yes, I know, it’s been quite while since I’ve posted… again. Unfortunately I’ve only had one trip to speak of and with the COVID pandemic, I’ve rather had my hands full delaying me writing this given a lack of time, energy, and motivation. Fortunately I was able to get this trip in right before all hell broke loose with COVID and not be detained returning to the mainland. On the down side, I’m writing this from home when I was supposed to be in Krakow seeing System Of A Down, Zakopane, and hiking the Tatra Mountains, but I digress. There were multiple reasons for this trip. It was the first real trip since my 2019 brain surgery, it was a chance to meet up with a friend from work, and finally it was purely to escape, recharge, and go off the beaten path. However my overall plan, which seemed to be a great idea, turned into a comedy of errors making for a very interesting trip to say the least.
The great idea in question was to save some money and instead of renting a car and hotel, I happened upon a company that rents conversion vans that are used for both transportation and a place to sleep, ideally by the beach. Everything that I could research showed this to be financially savvy and allow me to stay off the beaten path. But as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men, yadda, yadda, yadda. The comedy of errors started even before I left. Two days before my plane took off I get a call from the van company sayin the van I reserved was damaged, in the shop, and not available. I was told I they would not have a van for me until 2 days after I arrived. What’s more is that they had no back up plan. When I asked what I’m supposed to do for those 2 day, they said I had to figure it out. To which I said, no they had to get me accommodations and car to use for the first 2 days. This was not promising.
The day of my flight also had its own issues. My originally flight was canceled due to weather in my layover city. I had to book a new route which delayed my arrival by 2 hours. Fortunately, that went very smoothly. American Airlines sent me an email advising me of my options and I rebooked everything quite quickly. On arrival in Honolulu I was met by a driver for the Van Company who picked me up at the airport. I was advised I would be using his car for the 2 days (which was very nice of him but felt bad his company put him out like that) and they had an Air B&B room set up for me at the North Shore town of Haleiwa. Well, ostensibly they arranged a room. I was told to text the owner of the house when I was 10 minutes out, which I did. However I got no response from the owner. When I arrived at the house, I was not really prepared for what was to come. I walked into a rather disheveled house, to my right was high looking teenage surfer dude cooking instant Ramen noodles, to my left another dude sitting at a table, and at my feet numerous cats running in and out of the house. I don’t know if these are house cats or feral cats (something I know was an issue in Maui when I was there prior). In talking to surfer dude, I can tell my arrival is not expected in the least and he is unsure where I would be sleeping as the rooms are all taken. Just as he says that, a door in the back opens and a short older man reminiscent of Danny DeVito in Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia comes out holding what is tantamount to cheese cloth yelling, “YOU CALL THIS A BLANKET!!!”. I’m half thinking I’m getting punked. That the owner is going to emerge suddenly saying, “Ahhhh, we’re just fucking with ya!”. Honestly, I didn’t give it a chance. I said I’m going to my car to get my bags and I never return. I hopped on my iPhone and got a room at the Kapolei Hampton Inn for two nights.
In hindsight, that was the best move I could have made. I was jet lagged from work and the flight, I was in great need of a shower and a clean bed. I also needed a day to just chill and take it easy. So for the next day and half, I just chilled. There is not much around Kapolei anyway. I hit the pool and drank at the bar that first day. The next morning I did drive to see Pearl Harbor. Word of advice, while tickets to see the USS Arizona are free, you need to get there very early to get them. They go quick. I was there at 10AM and next available tickets were for 2:30PM which was too late for me as I had to pickup the van. I instead opted for the aviation museum. As I have always had a thing for fighter jets, this was right in my wheelhouse and very enjoyable.