I know you were hoping for some action shots of me surfing, but I couldn't bring my camera down to the ocean ... and, to be honest, there wasn't a whole lot of action. Turns out surfing is pretty hard and even though I didn't actually surf, both Christine and I had a lot of fun.
Christine's cousin, Matt, took us out and gave us some quick lessons and then we were pretty much thrown to the wolves... or the waves in this case. The waves were very crowded - probably over 50 people paddling around. We paddled out (which is a good work out - my arms and shoulders are pretty sore today), dodging surfers along the way and then practiced balancing on the board and trying to stand up. For those of you who have gone snowboarding, its a lot like the first time you do that (i.e. a lot of time spent on your ass or in this case swallowing salt water).
I also quickly learned why surfers wear body suits. The water isn't cold, but the wax on the board gives you a nice little irritation aided by the salt water and my hairy belly. Good times.
All in all I can understand why people really love surfing and find it spiritual - even with all the people paddling around, it was very peaceful out on the waves. I can only imagine what it would be like it you were out there by yourself. It also requires a great deal of concentration and balance - I had trouble just sitting on the board without falling off. Hopefully, Christine and I will have a chance for another lesson in the future...
After surfing Christine and I ran some errands for my Thailand trip and then we went and passed out on the beach for a couple hours (before surfing we had gone for 2.5 mile run so I was pretty wiped out). Last night for dinner we had chinese food with Christine's aunts (her mother's sisters). Both they and the food were great. After dinner we met a friend of Christine's for a few drinks at Don Ho's over at the Aloha Tower.
Today we woke up pretty sore and decided to take a drive around the southeastern part of Oahu that was recommended by my guidebook (Fodor's by the way, which has been excellent).
It was a beautiful drive and made me happy to see a part of the island that hadn't been completely commercialized (although much to our disappointment Sea Life Park, home of the world's only "wholphin" - offspring of a whale and dolphin - was charging $26 to get in. I struggled with whether this was a huge rip-off or the "wholphin" was the most amazing thing I'd ever see. We decided that it was a rip-off.)
After the drive we hiked up Diamond Head - it wasn't too bad of a hike (about 3/4-mile) capped off with about 150 stairs. From the top we had a great panoramic view of the island - it was a nice activity to end my trip to Hawaii.
Speaking of nice ways to end things - I think picture-wise this will do it:
My next post will be in a few days from Bangkok! I leave tomorrow at 1 PM and arrive in Bangkok at 11:59 PM on Saturday (which is 11:59 AM on the east coast). 'Til then take care and ALOHA!