Today's the day we have free, and the wife and I have tried to journey to a local bay that we saw from the bus yesterday.... to go snorkeling.
The bay is an extinct volcano crater that is flooded. It is on the back side of Diamond head, the prominent dead volcano that you see from Honolulu.
The transportation here is like any big city... you have city buses that run for $2.25 per person, one way. But no guarantee if that bus is full... or on time. So, we hitched a ride in a half full taxi that was looking for tourists that missed the bus and got there in mid-morning.
The combination of salt, wind, sun and heat made the attempt at snorkeling less than easy, but Kirk mastered it... there just weren't as many fish as last time.
We came back via the packed bus, and almost missed our stop. Thank you to other locals who could see out the windows and warn us when to jump. We had been standing, swaying for about 20 minutes and would have missed it by a few blocks. A shower and some resting time later, and we are refreshed to go try something else.... surfing at Waikiki Beach, maybe?
Last night, our former tour guide, her husband, our current tour guide, my wife and I met for a buffet dinner that was great. We had a terrific time discussing how the preps for the Tsunami last month affected the population here. They are great people. And the husband is the General Manager of a local TV station, so his insight and tales of prep were of special interest to us. We talked on and on into the night, comparing notes.
One thing we learned was that the info on the tsunami warning was held until 6 a.m. Local Hawaiian time, at which time the sirens were blown and the population was alerted at first light to the coming danger. But those in the know, had learn as early as 2 a.m. and so preps for emergency relocation of the TV studio, supplies, food, bedding, and a hundred other details had to be carried out in the dead of night. But the word had gotten out, and at 3 a.m., people were mobbing Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, etc for any food on the shelves. They were taking jugs of water from each other's carts if they were left alone. Plus, ice, coolers, charcoal, toilet paper...etc All were cleaned off the shelves by 4 a.m. with lines to check out over 30-40 people long!
When the tsunami didn't amount to more than 3 feet or less in most places, a lot of people thought it was a good drill... and confirmed that Hawaii could prepare for a wave in advance. But a lot of lessons in communication, preplanned and forethought were learned.
By the way, the average cost of gas here is $3.38/gallon. Milk is $8/gal. Cigarette pack is $9, I'm told.
A small 3 bedroom house is $500,000 and a modest 3 bedroom home is $600,000 to start. A one bedroom apartment is $1000 per month. Most young people stay living at home with the family until after they marry. Then, they may move to a separate address or continue in the parents house... especially after the parents have died. There is no more new space to build, no more advancement into the mountains. So space is at a premium here.
A nice place to visit, but life here is very different from what we know in the MOV.
More later. -Kirk