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Image          I wake up too early this morning, leaving myself unnecessary extra-time to get ready and packed. I debate which food to bring along, and how on earth I’m going to fit all my new souvenirs into my bags. Eventually I work it out so I have only 2 new recyclable bags along with my original two. It looks like they’re multiplying. While I wait for the taxi I go on facebook and find out, 6 hours later than everyone back home, about the horrible shootings in Colorado. I’ll be praying for the victims and their families all day and for the rest of my trip. I can’t believe something like that could have happened. I’ll proceed with my blog because I’m keeping a journal anyway, but I also hope people, including myself, are taking the time to reflect on what’s happened and pray for those who are affected by it.

            I have the same taxi driver as I did yesterday and convince myself to keep an open mind. He talks about his ex-girlfriends and drinking beer, but we also talk about sailing (and fishing) and hiking which is not too bad. He takes me to see Pali Lookout which is just off the highway when I say I haven’t been there, which is pretty nice. It’s a beautiful spot where you can look at the windward side of the island from a high up spot. Soon we’re back on our way and he gives me a little history lesson about how King Kamehameha pushed back the opposing tribes from two of their defensive lines and pushed them off the cliff at Pali Lookout. Then he says, “but I hate history.” Funny guy.

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            Soon we’re at the hostel, and the woman at the desk remembers me. She lets me check in early at 8:30 (although I thought check in was all day starting at 7:30). She walks me up the stairs to the second level, room 16. I open the door to a deadbolt and hear grumbling. A 40 or 50 year old man in his underwear answers the door. Um… I’m a little confused here. The woman tells the man they have a new room for him and that he can move into that room at 11. For the time being she tells me to drop my things off in this room. Ok. I’ll walk around with my backpack and laptop for a while then.

            At 10 there is a free hula class at the Waikiki Shopping Center so I begin my hike that way. I walk around the plaza for a while as I wait for the time to pass and soon it’s 10. Hula lessons are up on the third floor in a pretty secluded area. Nice, because no one feels self conscious. There’s a little stage for the teacher and it’s mostly Japanese tourists in attendance. Come to think of it, I was probably the only white person there.

            The teacher goes through some of the basic steps with everyone, practicing them each with different songs, then she teaches us a hula ‘auana dance (modern hula). The first one I learn at the 10:00 class in “That’s the Hawaiian in Me.” I stay after eating lunch for the 12:00 class to learn “Keep your Eyes on the Hands.” They’re both a lot of fun, a good workout, and generally capture the essence of hula auana. I’m glad to have at least two hula auana dances in my repertoire for when I go back to OWU.

            I truck it back to the hostel with a newly purchased carry on and lock in my hands. I’ll use the lock to lock up my laptop in my suitcase when I am out of the room and the carry on for all the souvenirs that I can’t fit for the flight home.

            When I get back the man is gone. “Your roommate moved!” the check-in woman says. I smile and go up to the room to get my things together. I dig through my suitcase and extract a mound of dirty clothes. Taking them down to the washer I have to remove someone’s sheets and put them into the dryer. Hopefully that was ok, I know it would be at IF house, but maybe not here. Later I see the check-in lady, whose laundry I’m guessing it is and let her know what I’ve done. Phew, she’s grateful. 

Having finished my laundry and moved it over the dryer, I decide to go to the beach until it’s ready to be taken out. I coat myself in sunblock and do not take my shirt off my shoulders the whole time I’m there. I love the beach everywhere, but I’m starting to appreciate the windy beach in Kailua even more. We all know how I don’t like to swim…I swam today because it was so hot on the beach. In Kailua the beach is never hot, even if it’s 90 degrees, because it’s just about the windiest place on earth.

            I take a shower back in the room and go to dinner at the Tiki Bar, my favorite restaurant from the beginning of my trip. I order the same Gluten-free Wasabi Pork Ribs and Virgin Lava Flow. It’s just as good, but I eat it much faster and don’t feel as good afterwards. There’s a live band tonight as well, more modern, and without hula, but actually pretty wonderful. They sing some classics with added ukulele. I finish dinner around 6:30 and watch the sunset from the beach at 7. 

Image            I hang around until 7:45 to watch the fireworks show that happens every Friday from the Hilton Hotel. I can see perfectly from my spot on the beach and enjoy the 5-7 minute display with a group of French kids standing around behind me. When it’s all over I walk the short walk back to the Hostel.

            Tonight it looks like I will turn in early to wake up in time to take the bus to the Prince Lot Hula Festival tomorrow. Should be a very nice day! I’ll pack snacks and having a little picnic for one.

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