When I planned a trip to Hawaii last February, I immediately rejected the idea of spending much time in Honolulu.
It’s a city, I reasoned. Why bother?
I forgot one crucial fact: it’s a city in Hawaii. That automatically makes it a little bit more bearable. Yes, the traffic is horrible, and no, it’s not exactly an accurate representation of the islands, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it.
I’m by no means a history buff, but it felt wrong to skip Pearl Harbor when we were so close. Although we were staying on the windward coast, we drove down for a morning to check it out. But Honolulu? I still wasn’t tempted. We left the infamous site, bypassed the city, and drove back along the north shore of Oahu.
This is one of Hawaii’s most famous beaches, but ‘famous’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘good.’ The day before we flew out, I had an afternoon to kill in Honolulu, so I checked out this tourist attraction. The verdict? I was glad I’d visited. A city beach has a different vibe than a country beach, and I found myself really enjoying the people watching.
In that one afternoon, I realized that I’d made a grave mistake: I’d overlooked the shopping. If you’re coming from the US, this may not tempt you. But I’d been living in rural Korea, where finding a store with clothes that would fit me required making a 2-hour journey to Seoul. I tried to cram in a few shops but I was sidetracked by this amazing group hula session in the middle of a courtyard.
Sunrise in the City
Seeing that sunrise was like finding a Lotus in Honolulu on my last day in Hawaii. Against the backdrop of the ugly high-rises was this melting morning sky, and suddenly I wanted more. Next time, I’ll plan to explore what else this city has to offer.