You’d think, second go at something, you’d be better at it. But December 4 was, for various reasons, a bit of a crabby day when I had it in New Zealand, and then, second time around, it was snitty in Honolulu too.
Mainly, here in Hawaii it was because of the weather, which is rainy with low cloud – not at all what you expect in the tropics in what is the first month of summer in New Zealand. Yes, yes, I know it’s a different climate, but some things should be inviolate. Central Pacific/December/summer. I can’t decide here whether the shops at the huge and high-end Ala Moana mall being full of coats, jackets and long-john pyjamas – as well as keeping the aircon cranked up (down) - supports my case here or destroys it. Maybe both.
I can’t decide because I’m still adjusting to Hawaii-time. Twenty-three hours, people! Ok, so that’s only one hour (minus a day) – but the travel on its own takes it out of you. Mind, leaving sometime after midnight and sleeping throughout the 8-hour flight is a pretty easy way to swap countries.
So, Hawaii. I was last here in 1992, I think, so that makes it almost never. Under low cloud, in drizzle, it looked at first a bit dreary and Takapuna-ish, but at night with all the lights on and the shops glitzy and Christmassy, and the restaurants full of people enjoying themselves, it improved immeasurably. Inside the malls, of course, time and weather do not exist, and even tiny girls learning to be sexy, traditionally, seems unobjectionable.
Food helps, too – that amazing Food Hall at the Ala Moana Shopping Centre is a marvel that went totally to waste, me-wise, I’m sorry to say. The timing was wrong; even so, I think just breathing all that delicious fat- and sugar-infused air was enough to add a few centimetres to the waistline.
And Eating House 1849 - chef Roy Yamaguchi - on the top floor of the very fancy International Market Place featuring a branch of Saks is highly recommendable. Just ask the homeless man recumbent on a park bench on the way back to the hotel what he thought of the doggie bag – it was certainly the best (and hugest) steak we’ve tasted for a very long time. And I’m going to regret that foregone crème brûlée with toasted coconut and macadamia nuts forever, I reckon.