Here's a taste of what's to come on my picasa album...
Chillin with Shaina!
Bummin around Oahu with Shantel!
Road trippin & General bad-assness with Jamie
Being a tourist with Michael ;)
Check the picasa album for other pics - more to come when peeps upload photos!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
What an eventful weekend! Although the fun might have kicked off with my bus breaking down mid-trip to pick Jamie up from the airport and a super-human sprint to make the airport transfer bus, it was overall very quintessentially Hawaiian vacation. We rented a car upon Jamie's arrival - a Seabring that we named Peepeopi (thank you, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) - and drove it up to the North Shore. Most tourists stick to Waikiki, which pretty much has everything one might need to be happy from Cheesecake Factory to Cold Stones to, oh yes, Subways! But the 30-45 minute drive to the North Shore is well worth the views and the sunsets!
We began on Saturday with a mound of infamous shaved ice with so many flavors to choose from - I personally went with guava, lychee, lilikoi (kinda like a cotton candy passion fruit). The line actually wrapped around the building for it, and it took us a good 25 minutes to order. But it was well worth it! By the time we finished slurping it, it was a race to beat the sun from setting. We parked at the picturesque Sunset Beach with rolling sand and crashing waves. Part of the beach is for surfing and part is for swimming, but we were just chillin. As the sun set, we saw a little cluster of dolphins in the distance! It was almost enough to send me tearing into the water, fully clothed in my plaid shorts to go play! It was EXTREMELY cool and very Hawaiian.
The weekend continued, early (in the single digits!) on Sunday with pancakes and guava juice at a local restaurant. Then we took the meandering coastal road up the east coast to the North Shore where we had an anticlimactic visit to Turtle Bay (the setting for Forgetting Sarah Marshall), which is proof of Hollywood's ability to create paradise... because the hotel was not as cool. Then, we saw the plane from Lost (Nikki!!) and the beach they film it on - it was all closed off, but still so cool to see a little piece of Hollywood in paradise. We continued to see the dock where they filmed part of 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, as well as more interesting geological structures formed from lava flow, such as this little mountainous island called "Chinaman's Hat"... ok, so I was the only one excited by that! But we forged on to spend the morning at Sunset Beach, then adjourning to Waimea Bay for the afternoon until sunset. Waimea Bay has gorgeous aqua waters where you can see straight to the bottom and the snorkeling is decent (a few Doris but no Nemos!) Me and my friend Shantel swam across the whole bay, which is impressive and exhausting - who needs a gym when you're in Hawaii, right Kristie?!
Alas, it was time to return the rental car, so we popped into Zippy's (a local chili place - with AMAZING food) and proceeded to get lost finding the hotel and Thrifty! It's not really a road trip if you don't make at least one illegal U-Turn, right?!
I'll post more pictures soon!! Surfs up ;)
Monday, June 1, 2009
I write you now on my lunch break, sipping my new favorite drink called Hawaiian Sun - there are at least half a dozen flavors from lychee to iced tea, and I plan on trying them all! Despite the stagnant internet situation (of not having wireless in my room), my stay in Hawaii is starting to look up. I know, I know, I'm in Hawaii, how could it ever be down?? Well, I'm not exactly staying at the Marriott... or even a motel 6 for that matter!
On Thursday, I met two sisters who live in the nicer part of Ewa Beach, up the street from me. The older sister, is actually attending USC in the spring for Physics, and she plans to later pursue her Ph.D at MIT. The younger sister just graduated from high school last weekend and is taking my Environmental Science class this summer. They are absolutely the nicest people I have met so far! On my first day of knowing them, they offered to not only drive me home but to also take me to the grocery store and my nutritional haven, Subway. Though, in the end we wound up sharing pizza, garlic bread, and cheese bread from Little Ceasars at a beach near my house - YUM! I feel so lucky to have met such awesome friends.
Friday, the day of our field trip to Pali, the extinct volcano, brought a whole new outlook of the island. We journeyed to the wetter, more lush side of Oahu where a massive ridge baracades one side and lava flows are etched into the side of the mountainous structures. For the first time in my life, I saw a volcano and identified the lava flows (both pahoehoe and a'a types). It was extremely cool. The view was break-taking, and my camera phone hardly does it justice. Apparently, it was on this very spot that natives battled the monarch conqueror who would ultimately rule the islands. The natives failed, according to my new friend, and the spirits of the night archers still roam the area because they cannot find peace, since their home was lost.
After our field trip, me and the younger sister, Shaina, came back to school where she showed me the wonder that is our proximity to Walmart and a food court! We dined on orange chicken, cho mein, and dairy queen - sooo goooood. Afterwards, we walked around the various shops in the plaza, talking. Shaina was appalled to discover that I did not own plaid shorts... so she marched us over to Ross where, in true Tricia form (!) I bought hot pink and black ones as well as a really cool blue and purple broken glass-looking jar that will forever remind me of the Hawaiian ocean!
Saturday brought my first adventure - Shaina took us to the Ala Moana Beach Park where we enjoyed the serene water at the beach there. Large rocks that protrude from the ocean about a half mile off of the shore - that means waves break farther out and the water is so calm that people actually swim laps across it (ode to Kristie!) Despite gobs of sunscreen, I still managed to escape with an abstract art-looking burn riddled with random finger marks haha We ended the day with some Tony Roma ribs and french fries and Haagen Daz ice cream, of course! Oh! Then on the bus ride home, Shaina taught me how to make a lay out of yarn - apparently, I'm a pro now. It was a great, Hawaiian day!
Sunday was more chill - I read for class and looked for shells on the beach outside of my house to decorate the lays I made. Ewa Beach faces South and the shells are scarce because there is a lot of coral and rocks that cover the ocean floor in that area. Although I only came back with a couple of shells, they are some of the coolest ones that I've seen. That day ended with Hawaiian BBQ complete with ribs, rice, and fish that was caught that day - yes, I ate fish in seaweed sauce and it was AMAZING!!
Overall, things are looking up - I have met some cool people and Jamie comes to visit this weekend, then Mike next week! Life seems more managable now. As for the education, it's been great - I'm learning so much and actually am able to apply it which is cool! I wish I could write more, but I have to help set up for a lab now :-( I'll try to check in again this week to tell you a little more about the local culture that I think the average tourists misses. Aloha for now!!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
You may have been wondering where I disappeared to... was I off surfing on the backs of turtles? or perhaps stuck in a palm tree trying to pick a coconut? Alas! I am actually without internet in my house here, which makes me wanna feed someone to the sharks!! Thanks to my trusty blackberry, I'm not totally disconnected.
The view from my house is really beautiful. In fact the picture to the right is from the balcony on the top floor (and the one on top is an image of the house from the beach). It's a two story home, built by a couple and their kids, and the upstairs is very nice though not air-conditioned. My room, downstairs does have AC and a TV, but overall, the house is definitely not what I expected... I'm sharing the rooms downstairs with a girl who has some mysterious night-time employment in one room, a mom and her two teenage boys in another two rooms, along with a guy who works on the property and acts as the property security dude upstairs (he's really nice) - not exactly the what I expected. Especially the part about sharing a bathroom with two teenage boys. The kitchen is definitely not a place I see myself cooking in - so my diet has consisted of alternating turkey sandwiches and peanut butter sandwiches - halla back to college! Hopefully this weekend, I'll get to have a well-balanced meal - though subway would excite me...
School is actually really great. The classes are very interesting, and the teacher is enthusiastic about what he is teaching. I take a 45 minute bus ride to get here, but the bus drops me off close to school. The school, Leeward College, is directly above Pearl Harbor - in fact, you can see the old navy ship graveyard from the second story. Pretty much anywhere in Hawaii has a great view! This Friday we're taking a class field trip to Pali, just north of Honolulu where we can see lava flow marks from an old volcano. Don't worry mom, the volcano is dead!
Oh another fun fact - I remembered to bring wash clothes and lysol wipes but FORGOT to bring my camera! DUH! The pictures you see here are from my 2 megapixel phone camera. Hopefully my camera will arrive next week, and I'll be able to post some pics of my school and my room. Sadly, any awesome adventures this weekend can only be captured by little phone! Though it's pretty decent - check out the sunset from my house in Ewa Beach, which faces South (to the left).
I'll let you know how it goes... if you're sensing my apprehension, it's just that this is so different than studying abroad because I'm not associated with an organization, and Hawaii is definitely an entity onto itself than to the US... much like Hong Kong is a separate entity to China. The area I'm living in is largely local, which is cool in its own way - not touristy. Everyone has been friendly overall, though without a car, I don't really see myself going out after sundown. I'm looking forward to Jamie's visit not this weekend, but next weekend and Mike's visit the weekend after. I know we're gonna have a great time!
Hope everything is chill on the Mainland 8-) Surfs up!!