Who does not know Hawaii’s coined word for Hello and goodbye? Aloha has been used in movies, TV ads, poems, songs and many more and no one could miss that this word represents Hawaii.
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I’ve been in Hawaii less than ten times and there are many things to do on Maui for free, technically, because it is a stop over to and fro United States. Considerably, I’ve only been here twice and thrice in Waikiki because of one short dinner. The first time was such bliss that I have to keep pinching myself if I’m dreaming or still alive. I was not dreaming and I’m alive.
An amateur in backpacking, I walked the streets of Waikiki to look for a hotel. Lonely Planet, Fodor’s or Let’s Go has not set in my vocabulary. I set a budget of fifty US dollars for one room each day, sixty at most. I was trolling my suitcase and found eighty dollar worth of a not so fancy hotel as the cheapest. Rip off! Unfortunately, hotels in Hawaii have an average rate of 120 US dollars for a standard room. I can’t blame them, it is paradise and I’m just poor.
It would be dark soon and I still can’t find a place for bed. Along Alamoana road, Waikiki side I found a hostel. Amateur as I am, hostel was not in my vocabulary also, but I still checked it out. The door man was billing me 25 US dollars per night and I have to share with other people. I was dismayed; I have never slept in the same room of people I don’t know. The restroom also has to be shared and there was a roach waiting for me in it. The stingy me won and I stayed there for the duration of my stay.
Surfing was my priority. When the sun peeped, I immediately prepared for Waikiki waves. I smiled at the beauty of the beach but frowned at the sight of the waves. It’s not glorious like in the movies. I learned that Waikiki is an area for novice surfers like me and the waves were purposely smaller for tourists. I rented a surf board right away and used my charm for a free surfing lesson. I did this almost every day of my glorious Hawaii days.
Relying on my smile and budgeted money, I met a Croatian guy who toured me around the island. The route started from Diamond Head then a view of Rabbit’s island To Sea Life Park. Adam Sandler’s movie fifty first date was shot in this place. I met my soul mate, Kamuela, a sea lion. Lanikai beach is away from the tourist spot. The locals that hang out here seem so proud of their homeland Hawaii. Chinaman’s hat story is amusing. They say that a China man is sitting underneath the hat island, thus, its name. North shore was a pleasant stop with professional surfers, gigantic waves, cool breeze and green mountains. It was the perfect sunset I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
The next day, I called my mom and said I’m not coming home. She had a worried expression which I can see beyond the telephone line but supported me on my decision. My return flight was due and I went home.
I was a professional backpacker on my second turn of paradise. I learned how to read brochures and budget travel books. I stayed in another hostel (this time near the Waikiki beach). The concierge charged me 23.50 US dollars. I still have to share rooms but the roach was not waiting for me in the restroom.
The second time around is another bliss. I was more serene and was hoping for a great rest. Surfing was not in my priority although sweating presented itself. Diamond Head State Monument is a million steps flight. It was worth it when you get on top and get the sight of Oahu. North Shore deserves another take of its wonderful sunset.
It was time again for my return flight and I wanted to stay longer. I never mastered this feeling. I decided to say Aloha as goodbye and declared “until I say Aloha as hello again!”