June 17, 2009
a tourist in my hometown
i will try to post these journal entries for the day they were actually written, since i wasn’t able to post in china. here’s the first installment – feel free to sign up through any RSS reader, or check back for more. will try to get the rest up soon…
the doors to the bus closed and i instantly felt like my adventure had begun. it’s always interesting to see your hometown through a tourists’ eyes and the #19 bus was most definitely a way to get the full impact. through waikiki via kuhio avenue, i glanced up to see the hotel towers overhead and hungover, badly sunburned tourists walking the sidewalk below. everything seemed slightly artificial – manufactured happiness, almost like disneyworld, mass-produced aloha spirit for your convenience. but as i rode through in air conditioned comfort, suitcase by my feet, i didn’t mind a bit. i was leaving waikiki and headed for the airport, ready to get on with my adventure.
every bus has an “aunty” that always sits right near the driver, up front. she’ll make it her duty to instruct boarding passengers on where or where not to sit, while dispensing unsolicited advice to tourists unfortunate enough to have chosen a seat next to her. i listened as our “aunty” told her life story to a couple from new jersey.
local families came on board once in a while – “look at all the people going to the airport. they’re all going off island. ask they people – they’re going off island.”
aunty aloha gets off at dole cannery and the poor couple is left to fend for themselves. they seem charmed and the woman tells her husband how friendly local people are.
i close my eyes to take in the sounds – someone’s ipod at max volume blasting rap music, a couple chatting quietly in japanese, the mechanical voice announcing the next stop, the hiss of the doors as they open and close.
it’s nice to be driving along without having to battle the H-1 traffic myself. i find that as a passenger, i take in so much more detail and see things i must have passed a hundred times but never noticed before. all in all, it was a leisurely way to spend an hour and 15 minutes, and for two bucks, quite a bargain. what a way to start my trip – a tourist in my hometown…