This summer, after over a year of helping people as a health-care professional during a pandemic, my wife needed a break, so I took her and our daughter on a vacation. Since my wife will be retiring soon, we wanted to see if Hawaii could be our new home. Because of the universities, modern conveniences, and plentiful restaurants, I selected various locations around Oahu for 18 days, not just the touristy places. I didn't plan too much. We decided to wing it.
The rules for what we needed for the trip changed weekly, but two things held constant while there.
1) Once we uploaded our COVID results to https://travel.hawaii.gov/, everyone wanted to see it before we could get off the plane, rent a room, or get into a car. Nobody cares about the paper card they stamp at the airport. The big green check mark on your phone is a requirement. It doesn't matter how long ago you took it. Don't let your phone battery die!
Most if your activities should be outdoors, so this won't matter often. On the left a shot from the top of Diamond Head on day two.
For the last four days on the island, we rented a car. Hertz closed two hours before their website said and then yelled at us for half an hour, complain about entitled haolies and how our visits are driving up real-estate prices for them so they have to work two jobs. The bargain car of about $150 a day we reserved didn't matter. They jacked the price by $70 a day before they would let us have *any* vehicle. A car there runs more than a good hotel room, plus $35 a day to park it inside Honolulu. Avoid this. Even on the North Shore, with only one road, traffic moves at 5 mph, and there's nowhere to park.
Our favorite places were a make-your-own enchilada place on the beach and the second-floor restaurant in a hotel. Both had great views while you dine if you do so before dark. Most people wait until nightfall to dress for dinner. Avoid the waits and go early. That launch place with the line wrapped around the corner isn't worth an hour in the sun. Even McDonalds can have a long queue.
The midrange hotel has a view of the beach from a mile a away over the park. However, it was centrally located for walking. Breakfast always burned the whole voucher, even if you only ordered a muffin.
Fun Things to Do
The historical tour at Pearl Harbor was stark and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but I think the .most startling events were the rainbows--unexpected and spectacular.
Things I Didn't Enjoy
Every corner of Oahu had some hidden beauty. However, when summing up the extended stay, there were things we didn't like so much--deal-breakers for my migration.
1) How long the flight takes. It costs a lot of endurance to take that volume crammed in like sardines, and we wouldn't be able to visit friends and family on the mainland much.
2) The ever-present homeless. They're near every park or beach. In Honolulu, you can't walk anywhere without encountering a camp of them sprawled over a sidewalk. Behind our hotel, one had a dumping ground where they got rid of things they didn't want from stolen tourist bags. At sundown, you didn't dare encroach on someone's regular territory.
3) The smell of weed. We steered our daughter around the aroma an average of eight times a day. We were approached about a purchase in line at the ice cream store. The local cops have enough on their hands that this doesn't even show up on the radar.
4) Lack of beach access. All beaches are public, but getting there can be difficult. No parking and a three-foot path that's trash-strewn and a little dangerous. Adjacent property owners can be unfriendly. Some beaches have lots that fill up at 7 a.m. Others treat your rental car like an ATV. Often, you'll find vehicles that have been abandoned for years, but nobody tows them.
5) Inconsistency of zoning. You can see a million-dollar mansion with barred windows right next to a trailer park, with cops putting on tactical gear to the strains of Bad Boys.
6) A general feeling of resentment against outsiders. After talking to some people on the bus, unless I could tell the locals which high school I attended, they would never accept me.