After a week on Oahu, I was cranky. This really wasn’t vacation. I hadn’t been to the beach yet, nor even to a swimming pool. My foot wasn’t strong enough to swim in the water. I couldn’t walk in the sand yet. If I walked too far, it cramped up and hurt.
Mark and I spent the morning driving back to the Honolulu airport to exchange our rental car. On the way home, Mark told me to drive so I’d know my way around. Through the industrial section and on to the buildings of downtown, I saw Aloha tower-the iconic symbol from old Hawaii. I’d remembered it from the old Hawaii Five-0 show from my childhood.
I turned into the parking area, just to see what the building was like. Mark and I decided to check it out. We worked our way from the parking lot to the shopping area through a huge group of Japanese tourists. They looked like they were in high school; all wearing the same uniform-dark pants or skirt, white blouse and navy blue sweaters.
I headed straight for the water. At the end of the main walkway, was Don Ho’s restaurant, a truly kitschy tourist trap of a place. But I was hungry and needed to sit near the water. I was tired of the condos, offices and traffic of Waikiki.
The manager took us to a table at the edge of the water and apologised. The tables near the water were also close to the dockworkers and their foul language. He also said they were out of chicken wings. I was okay with that. I’d had enough Korean chicken and chicken Katsu to last me a while.
He left us at the table and I scanned the water. To the left was the entry to Honolulu Harbor. Across the water was a Coast Guard station and to the right were the docks for large ships.
I laughed when I looked for utensils. The happy coconut face smiled back at me, taunting me to use chopsticks.
Our waitress apologised when she saw us. The Japanese group we’d seen outside had just left the restaurant and all 99 of them wanted Moco Loco – a Hawaiian concoction of rice, hamburger patty, two fried eggs and brown gravy. They were out of ground sirloin. No hamburger for us. No chicken wings either.
I sighed heavily, realizing I was in this “not vacation, we might live here” tourist locale for another three weeks.
I was homesick. I wanted my coffee shops from San Francisco and a cool breeze to stop the humidity so my hair wouldn’t curl and frizz. I wanted my blue sky after the fog lifts over the City. I wanted to see the trees from Mt. Tamalpais.
Over the water, something caught my eye. A family of dolphins was swimming past us. They were soothing and graceful. They swam towards the dock area. My eyes followed them. Then they turned and left the harbor back out to sea. I asked Mark, “Is this the dock where the Matson ships would have come?”
Yes. It was. My grandfather had worked this area in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.
I felt a little less homesick and wanted to know more about the magical Hawaiian Maritime history.