Rounding the World – Day 34: Waikiki, Hawaii…

The deep red orange sunrise shined in the airplane waking me up from my comfortable slumber. Hard to believe it was already morning, only 6 and a half hours from Tokyo to Honolulu. As the flight attendants came by to bring everyone their pastries and coffee, I realized I never did eat my dinner from the night before. ‘Would you like to eat your dinner now’. Hmm…dinner for breakfast eh? Since this would be the beginning of the same day all over again, I decided why not. Time and space are all relative at 30,000 feet anyhow, right?

Drinking my glass of red wine and eating my pork chops with mashed potatoes, I watched out the window as Kauai slowly came into sight below us and the sun shined a magnificent deep orange and yellow across the horizon. The cold temperatures of Siberia and Asia were behind me, today would be warm and sunny with palm trees and ocean breezes. Stepping off the plane, they routed us up the staircase and to a shuttle bus and over to immigration. The lines were long, so I veered right to the empty Global Entry line and buzzed through with ease.

Outside the sun was bright and the temperatures were already warming up. The number 19 bus came quickly and the adventure had begun. It was around 9am when I got to the hotel. The woman behind the desk was grumpy and rude. She told me my room was ready but unless I paid her more money for the already overpriced room she wouldn’t let me in until 3pm. Ridiculous. I decided to leave my bags there, which they made me carry behind the front desk and through their office space and over to their luggage room for them. Obviously customer service wasn’t their focus.

Ideally it would have been nice to spend the day relaxing by the ocean and enjoying being in Hawaii, though having multiple people that were expecting texts/emails from me, I took the morning to head over to Verizon to see if they could fix my cell phone. I memorized the Google maps route over to the Ala Moana mall and was off. With the Verizon store no where in sight, I waited in line at the info desk to find out it was a couple blocks outside the mall. No problem. Off I went.

At the Verizon store there was an hour long line…ugh. I scanned some of the phones just in case I would need to buy a new one in order to get back to being connected again. After about a half an hour, I was able to catch an associate in between customers to ask if they did screen repairs and they said nope. They couldn’t help. My contract wasn’t up yet and it wasn’t a service they provide. They let me use a tablet to locate the nearest Best Buy and one of their phones to call and see if what I needed was in stock.

Two hours wasted…off I went to the Best Buy. The local bus between the mall and the Best Buy goes through some choice sections of Oahu and required a transfer. Just before the Best Buy stop is a ‘city’ of homeless person’s tents and shopping carts that stretch two or more city blocks. The residents were active and rowdy hollering random things and jittery as if high on meth. I walked past quickly thinking how much I’d rather not be dealing with this stupid phone right now.

Once in the Best Buy their Geek Squad department said they don’t fix cell phone screens, it’s not a service they provide. This Best Buy did not have a Verizon kiosk, only a Samsung kiosk, though my phone is an LG. Four hours wasted…I decided to just buy a USB OTG and wireless mouse like I’d read online to hack into my phone to at least make it usable periodically. As I sat at the Samsung desk the various Best Buy employees walked buy in awe that I had cracked into a smashed cell phone with a wireless mouse, one lady even wanted to snapchat me – um, no.

Since the phone died in Mongolia while on airplane mode, I wasn’t able to get my data connection setup immediately so I had to hang out at the Best Buy for another two hours waiting patiently as my photos were uploaded one at a time on their slow as dirt wi-fi connection to my backup online storage. As long as I could get the photos off then if my phone died completely or didn’t survive the screen transplant (my last phone that went thru that operation died on the operating table) it wouldn’t be an issue. Losing all my photos from Mongolia and China wasn’t something I was willing to risk.

After wasting 5 hours of my day on trying to get into my cell phone, I was able to turn on the cell phone data which sped up the photo upload time exponentially. Finally! To say my phone was functional would be an overstatement. In order to access it for anything you needed a flat surface, the wireless mouse, the USB cable, and a patient hand for hunt and peck on each key with the mouse. Needless to say, communicating between now and when I’m back home just isn’t going to happen and hopefully my friends and family can understandably adjust as I tried a valiant effort for them today and it just wasn’t recoverable quickly.

Back at the hotel all I wanted to do was shower, taking the red eye flight it had been awhile since I got to feel fresh and have a change of clothes. The hotel was old and tattered with minimal comforts, making it’s view of the Ala Wai river it’s only redeemable quality. Despite how I had been longing for a lovely relaxing day in the sun to enjoy Hawaii, today ended up being a complete waste which is about as frustrating as it gets for an INTJ. Just about 5 minutes from the hotel was the beginning of the main Waikiki strip so I wandered down looking for a pair of flip flops as I couldn’t imagine surviving a week in Hawaii without them.

The strip was jam packed with people, probably the busiest I’ve ever seen it as I normally come on off season. There were people everywhere bouncing in and out of the stores, walking at a variety of paces on the side walk, and my favorite – the ones that just stop abruptly as if they are the only people in the world completely oblivious of anyone behind them. If you’ve not been to Waikiki, I compare it to the Time Square of Hawaii – it’s hectic and crazy, loud and energetic. It’s a place you only need to see once to get the gist. Though this trip was with a companion that had never been to Hawaii before so my desire to skip Waikiki had to be suppressed and sacrifices made.

Not wanting to spend a lot of money on dinner and not wanting a long walk back to the lousy hotel, I opted for a mediocre sushi meal at the good ‘ol Hilton Hawaiian Village. It’s a main stay hotel for Waikiki with it’s ‘rainbow’ tower and evening fireworks display. It prominently sits on the far west corner of the Waikiki beach, the easiest destination for the convention center or long layovers with it’s proximity to the airport. Everything is very touristy and the food is cheap and catered toward folks who are looking more at price than quality.

Back at the hotel, it was time to crank up my window A/C in all it’s humming and snuggle in for a good night’s sleep.



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