Trip Start Sep 17, 2006
Trip End Dec 23, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Wednesday, December 3, 2008

With just two days left in Hawaii I needed to get my hair cut and also see Pearl Harbour. I ventured down to the bus stop mid-morning to try and get myself onto a bus towards Pearl Harbour. Whilst I was waiting a ‘Hilo Hattie’ free shuttle drew up, now I had no idea what this was, but I presumed it must be taking people to some kind of tourist attraction. None the wiser I jumped on.

The shuttle took me past the Ala Moana bus station/shopping centre. I half thought about jumping off as a bus there could take me anywhere I wanted. Curious though I decided to stay on see where this free shuttle took me. A few minutes later we had left any resemblance of a touristy area and were in industrial Honolulu. I presumed there must be some kind of large shopping centre or something on the other side of Honolulu.

A few minutes later our destination became obvious, it was a ‘Hilo Hattie’ shop, and errm nothing else. Hilo Hattie is a Hawaiian clothing/goods store that sells mainly Hawaiian produce to tourists. Typically though these products are aimed at the older generations, rather than twenty-somethings like myself. I found myself following a dozen or so elderly people into this warehouse style building. The shop was sat next to other warehouses lining a dual-carriageway.

On the plus side this shop did sell a lot of potentially good souvenirs, and/or presents. But seeing as I’m already right on my luggage allowance I left empty handed. Now all other folk there would have waited for the next shuttle back to Waikiki. I however am a little more adventurous than that. I crossed the dual-carriageway next to the shop and walked down the road, hoping to find a bus stop to take me in the Pearl Harbour direction. This bus stop didn’t materialise and so before long I found myself in a rather slummy neighbourhood. I passed a large building that had ‘Salvation Army’ signs on it, outside were lots of very questionable characters milling about.

I’d heard that Honolulu itself was a bit of a dump and this information was proving to be correct. Next to me was a park which seemed to be full of homeless people, all sitting around doing nothing. There were a couple of bus stops but these seemed to have become homes for homeless bums, and so I didn’t really want to wait there for a bus.

At this point I decided to walk back in the Waikiki direction, although I was perhaps 4 or 5 miles away. Strong willed I marched towards the tallest buildings I could see and soon entered what was clearly Chinatown. This was notable as the local road signs were shown both in English and Chinese. Something I hadn’t noticed in any other Chinatown.

I didn’t really know where I was going but my homing senses took me along various roads, passing some significant looking government buildings, more parks full of homeless bums, several car show rooms, and the odd fast food place. By now I was beginning to get very tired, it was hot and I’d walked for maybe 2-3 miles. Salvation came when I saw a signpost to the Hawaiian Convention Centre, a building that I knew was right on the road to Waikiki. I followed these signposts in a different direction than my original bearing and sensed I was getting closer.

Another hour or so passed, including fifteen minutes at a bus stop waiting for some kind of bus, before I decided to proceed on foot. Finally and triumphantly I reached the Ala Moana shopping centre, just maybe half a mile from Waikiki. It turned out that I’d walked away from the ocean, completely maybe a mile or so more than I’d needed to! Still I’d returned to tourist-ville having left homeless-town behind, a twenty minute shuttle out had taken a two and a half hour walk to get back!

At the Ala Moana shopping centre I found a barber’s shop. Well it was supposed to be a barber’s anyway. I went in and it looked a bit more like a ladies hair salon. A woman directed me towards a chair and proceeded to cut my hair. I could tell very quickly that this woman didn’t have a very good attitude. A hair cut was required though, and so I tried to give her some indication of what I wanted. She didn’t take enough off, but did a fair job on the sides and back. I made tracks as soon as possible and headed towards the bus stop.

The bus back to Waikiki took ages to come. So long in fact that I got miserable standing next to depressed looking poor people. With my mp3 player galvanising my attitude I stormed back on foot to Waikiki. The rest of the day was spent flat out exhausted, legs feeling like lead! I hadn’t got to Pearl Harbour after all, but I did at least get my haircut, and complete a self-guided tour of Honolulu.
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