I’ve gone nearly 24 hours without giving anyone the shaka, the Hawaiian hand signal that means everything from “hang loose” to “have a nice day.”
This is probably for the best, since a gesture that involves wagging the extended thumb and pinky would probably be considered an insult in Brooklyn and result in yours truly being pummeled into a coma.
No matter. I had an absolutely fantastic time in Honolulu and I am thoroughly bummed that my 11-day trip has come to an end.
This vacation was a great idea and I can’t believe how I hemmed and hawed before I finally decided to go.
I saw such beautiful scenery, like the Kualoa Ranch, where Jurassic Park and other films were shot. I had breakfast on the beach, watched the Honolulu Marathon, and did a wild downhill bike ride.
I went to Pearl Harbor and boarded the USS Missouri, where Japan surrendered in 1945.
I huffed and puffed up to Diamond Head, where I enjoyed the fantastic view while trying to restart my heart.
Traveling solo can be a bit depressing at times, but it seems like I was running into such nice folks every time I turned a corner.
There were the lovely people at St. Augustine by-the-Sea Church, located right next door to my hotel in Waikiki. One member of the congregation was a woman from Sunset Park in Brooklyn who had moved to Hawaii three years ago.
“I wanted to get away from the drama,” she told me. “Now I have new drama, but that’s okay.”
There’s no escape from drama, of course, but I admired this woman for having the courage to pick up and move to the other side of the world.
I met a wonderful Australian family who took me on a killer bike ride down the North Shore, where we battle repeated tropical rainstorms while I struggled to keep up with them.
There was this very kind Malaysian couple I met at the Polynesian Cultural Institute who hung around with me for the entire day.
She came from Sheepshead Bay but stayed in California after graduating from college several years ago. We just had a brief conversation, but it helped make the awful trip just a little less tedious.
One day last week I took a walk around Kualoa Regional Park and I was amazed at how steadily the wind kept blowing.
It was warm though, unlike the bone-chillers back east, and it had almost a curative effect as I allowed the strong breeze to blow away my worries and fears. It was a very peaceful moment.
On the way out to the airport I saw an honest-to-God rainbow forming over Honolulu. I pointed it out to the other passengers in the van, but they were all too busy looking at their smart phones. Okay, so I guess it’s my own private rainbow.
So now I'm back here in the Northeast, where the rain is cold and the wind is even colder. It's a bit depressing naturally, but I can’t wait to see my beautiful family on Christmas Day.
Whatever comes after that, well, we’ll just have to see which way the wind blows. And as long as I can still find the rainbows, I’ll be just fine.