Once again I started off with the fucked up bus routine. If you ever go anywhere, you might try actually reading the bus schedule to figure out when it’s going to come. Don’t assume that everything is just going around the schedule you have in your brain. I got up early because I wanted to hike Manoa Falls. I read all these reports about how great it was and how awesome the hike is, so I was intrigued.
I was feeling strangely sluggish and maybe that is why I got off to a weird start. First, I wanted to eat so I went to IHOP which doesn’t open until 6AM. I thought IHOP’s were 24 hours? Guess not. Anyway, how come nothing opens when they say they’re going to open. It was like 615 before they opened their doors. I was the second person in the restaurant, but the last person to get served. My ordered hadn’t even been taken and other people were getting their food. You know, I hate going to restaurants and the waiters want to give you the back story about how they operate. I don’t give a damn about that. Just take my order and give me my freakin’ food. How about that? The server was like, “The other server has to take your order. We take turns.”
Yeah, that’s great but NO ONE has taken my order and your people already have their food. Fuck this turn bullshit. I ended up being in there much longer than I really needed and I got there when they opened! How annoying.
After breakfast, I got on the bus to the Ala Moana Center to catch another bus out to Manoa. Okay, that bus takes forever and it only comes around once an hour. The night before I saw something about a military parade, and I envisioned going out to Manoa, hiking and then coming back in time for the parade. As it was almost 730, I knew that would not happen if the parade started at 9. I really like parades and it was getting too late to start a hike. Hiking is best in the early hours when it is not so hot and the humidity is low.
While trying to figure out what to do, a woman with autism came through. She was singing a song about people using the handicapped bathroom. This is one thing about Honolulu, there are just so many bums. I believe that a number of these are honestly hard working people just down on their luck. There are also quite a few loafers, total losers where nothing is wrong with them and they could work if they wanted, but they just don’t. Another sad group are the mentally ill. A lot of these vagrants were mentally ill. They were probably thrown out by their families or didn’t have enough money for proper medical attention. I do not believe this autistic woman was homeless. She appeared clean and well-cared for. Maybe whoever was supposed to be watching her was taking a nap.
I got back on the bus to Waikiki and changed out of my hiking clothes so I could go see the parade. Then I took up a spot across from the Cheesecake Factory to wait. It was a very short parade, but I really liked it. You know I’m into all things military and parades are my favourite thing in the world, so it’s like a twofer.
Thanks to the parade, I discovered two things: 1. I figured out where the Honolulu Zoo was located. I had imagined that it would be far away. 2. I discovered O’ahu Nature Tours.
I was sitting waiting for the parade to begin. On every street corner in the tourist area are those little newspaper type stands full of brochures trying to sell you shit. Since I was kind of bored, I picked one up just to look through it and I came across the ad for O’ahu Nature Tours. It talked about hiking and going to see some waterfalls and stuff like that. Totally up my alley. Wonder of wonders, they also offered tours that started in the afternoon. A lot of tours are only offered in the morning and since I had other stuff planned, I had automatically discounted being able to take a tour.
Most of the time you do need to book tours early, but I called anyway to see if they had any availability. There was room on their “Hidden Waterfall” tour.
So after the parade, I went to have lunch at Fatty’s again and then I went to get dressed for hiking again. They come pick you up in their van and drive you to the location.
So the tour guide, Mike, just randomly happened to be an alum of my high school. How completely random especially since I went to high school in Japan. Of course his class was about 25 years before mine, but I still thought it was neat. He was extremely informative. What I liked about O’ahu Nature Tours is that the guides are people who actually work with nature. They aren’t just employed by the company. They are mostly part-time and they have real jobs in ecology, nature preservation, wildlife stuff, you know what I mean.
The tour was in Nuuanu Valley, which I had already seen because of that other fucked up bus trip, but we went further down to this golf course place where the hiking tour began. What lush beautiful scenery. Everything is all green and earthy and not-polluted (except for the pair of tennis shoes we randomly found on the trail). Don’t ask me what the shoes were for. I can’t imagine that anybody would want to hike barefooted, especially since part of the trail was an old rock road the westerners built back in like the 1700s when they first came to the island.
It’s like a rain forest almost. I guess it actually is. I’m not well-versed in nature stuff. I just know that it was quite magnificent. It reminded me of when I used to play in the forest in Japan. The forests there aren’t like the forests you would find in Washington State or something like that. It’s more rain forest-ish.
Anyway, after crossing over that treacherous rocky road that was slippery from moss, we just happened upon a waterfall. Okay, Mikey knew the waterfall was there and that is why the tour is called Hidden Waterfall but it was just so random. Waterfalls are noisy and this one is too when you get up on it, but because of the dense vegetation you don’t even notice it until it’s right there in your face. Forget about the fact that you have to cross a babbling brook where the waterfall runs off. You don’t even put two and two together.
It was absolutely beautiful. There ain’t nothing like that around here in DC. Of course, the climate and terrain doesn’t call for it and DC has its own interesting natural wonders, I’m just saying… ain’t no waterfalls around here!
Mike warned us about playing around in the water. This is ill advised. Apparently there is some disease called lepto-spiri-something or other. Leptospirosis. I just looked it up on Google. It’s some kind of rare but seriously deadly bacteria that can get into the body through open cuts and the bloodstream. You die a horrible death, apparently.
Yeah, since I wasn’t interested in that, I didn’t try to get up all on the waterfall like the other hikers were. There were five of us in all. One guy was from Germany. One guy was from Alaska and there was a married couple. The guy was a Marine and I think they were originally from Texas but they now are stationed on the island.
You know Marines. He just wanted to get up there and take the coolest pictures and his wife was like, “You’re going to get leptospiridium (??) and die.”
The hike was about four hours long but it seemed very short. I guess because there was a lot to see and do. I wish I had discovered their tour company sooner because I definitely would have gone on another hike.
After getting back to Waikiki, I took a hot shower and then got dressed for dinner. I had been eating budget food and now it was time to dine in style. I settled on a restaurant called House Without a Key at the Halekulani Hotel. According to Trip Advisor it is well received. An upscale restaurant without being outrageous.
They have outdoor seating positioned perfectly for the sunset and a Hawaiian band to add to the mood. It was quite romantic. At first I didn’t want to go to some place like that because I’d be by myself. I didn’t want to look all lonely while happy couples were giving each other moony eyes. It was not like that at all. First of all, there were families, and then there were other people who were alone, and nobody was even paying attention to what anybody else was doing.
The weather was just perfect for sitting outdoors. I had a spot by the beach so I could look at the gleaming water and the sunset while I enjoyed coconut shrimp and a glass of white wine. Talk about some -itis after that… sheesh! The temperature was the right temperature to fall asleep. Add a full stomach and sleepy soft band playing in the background, I was knocked out at the table! Seriously. The guy came around asking if I wanted dessert and I was like, “Huh?”
I decided to walk back to my hotel so that I wouldn’t fall asleep on the bus. I was that sleepy!