Aloha

I thought it best to ease myself into a return to the US. Landing in Oahu in mid-March would be far more pleasant than Boston. The morning that I arrived the sun was out and it was 80 degrees. I could actually speak English and know that I would be understood! The customs official was far nicer than any I’ve ever encountered in Boston. It was more of a friendly chat than anything else.

My honeymoon with the U.S. ended quickly. I exited the terminal and began trying to find a phone to call my friend Brendon who would be picking me up from the airport. Soon realizing I had no quarters to make a phone call, I asked a guy with a cell phone if I could pay him to make a quick call. Now I’ve used this line in many countries (some extremely poor I might add) and not once has anyone ever allowed me to pay. I completed my phone call in less than a minute and handed the phone back. “One dollar,” he said. Welcome back. I couldn’t believe it. The good news is most of the Hawaiians I met were far friendlier than my airport cell phone carrier. The drivers of the local bus (called “TheBus”) were particularly friendly.

But I must get back to my culture shock upon landing in Hawaii. It was amazing to see the emphasis placed on an individual’s body in Hawaii. I would say 90% of the people my age have at least one tattoo. When you think about the cost of these things, and then see a person covered in them, it makes you wonder if there isn’t a better way to use one’s financial resources. I do understand self expression and the need to look cool, but at some point don’t you just start looking like everyone else? Is it necessary to have your chest hair removed by a laser?

What does a shirt that says “fired up over Jesus” in flame lettering really mean? Why are people either extremely fat or sculpted like the statue of David? Is a Subway sub really worth $9? These are questions I found myself asking while exploring the island of Oahu.

My culture shock notwithstanding, I had a fabulous week in Oahu. It is one of the more naturally beautiful places I visited in my travels and the beaches are second to none. The surf of the North shore and the Pipeline are a humbling nod to the power of nature. And the seemingly unlimited supply of fresh ahi tuna is something I could get used to. Kailua pork is also a nice culinary contribution.

Some other highlights from Hawaii included a St. Patrick’s day block party, drinking homemade beer, and indulging in some chocolate covered macadamias.

More to come from California…sorry for the delayed postings!

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