We began our trip to Hawaii on the island of Oahu. We stayed in a hotel on Waikiki beach. The first night, we decided to take a walk along the beach in front of our hotel. I was approached twice by homeless bums who were looking for a handout. The place is overrun with homeless. In fact, I counted 19 homeless people living on the beach in front of our hotel.
On the first day, we went to the north shore. A surfers' paradise, the waves there during the winter are 30-40 feet tall. They were about 20 feet high on the day that we were there. It was amazing. I have never seen waves that tall at any beach.
We also went to the Hawaiian cultural center.
On day two, we visited the Arizona memorial, and the other museums commemorating the attacks on December 7, 1941.
After five days of touring Oahu, we climbed on a flight for our next island. My impression of Oahu is that it is a crowded tourist trap with a large military base on it. There are large numbers of people who struggle to make a living there because the cost of living is so high. Often, three families will live in a crappy wooden 900 square foot house built in 1945 that cost half a million dollars, because real estate prices are so high. The average rent on a three bedroom home on Oahu is nearly $2700 a month, and that home is likely more than 50 years old. A four bedroom apartment will set you back $3200 each month.
The only people who can afford to live there are multimillionaires (a nice house costs several million dollars), or military members who live on base. Everyone else lives on the edge of poverty.
One of the things that I saw when we were on Oahu was a large number of signs declaring that haole (white people) should leave, "Tourist go home," or "We have enough hotels." Signs of that nature. There are a large number of 'native' people who believe that Hawaii was some sort of peaceful paradise until Europeans arrived, and they think secession will return them to the 'good old days.' That will be the subject of a future post.