Oahu, the Circle Tour

According to the tourist map I have, there are about 90 miles of roadway that entirely encircle Oahu.

So I rented a car (“The New Chrysler Whizz-Bang” the sales girl exclaimed) complete with retractable roof and set off in the thick of Oahu rush hour. Yes, there is one. And it’s thick.

Hey, I’m on holiday, I don’t care one whit. But to do this every day must be an exercise in cursing, wheel-pounding, arterial ballooning frustration.

So I fumbled with the tourist map with a somewhat general idea of where I wanted to go-a place called Turtle Beach (“with real turtles” the salesgirl hopped) and how to get there.

And I was off.

I asked a cop at a checkpoint (not a menacing “Your papers please” in Bavarian accent, just a road crew working) about the bes route.

He said, “Take Kamehameha highway, that will take you right to it.”

The highways here have two peculiarities. First, Hawaii has an interstate.

An interstate. Figure that one out.

Secondly, the highways are not speed-demon paradise. King Kahmehameha (Sorry if I butchered your name, Your King-ness) highway has a max speed of 45 mph, with most of the stretches at 35 mph. They wind through the greenery at a relaxed pace. Hawaiian pace, I guess.

So I meandered the Whizz-bang through winding glades, stopping once in a while to take photos of the shoreline. Stunningly beautiful water and beaches.

Aha! There’s Turtle Beach (“With real turtles!”)

Alas, no turtles. Nothing exotic. Couple of high school kids snogging under a blanket on the beach. A fisherman with a few lines out in the surf. And some poor tourist, scarlet red/purple, obviously forgot the sunblock – gawd, he’s gonna be some sore tonight.

It may go without saying, but Oahu’s north shore is nothing like the Waikiki area. Far less developed, some places falling into disrepair, small little places selling garlic shrimp (Oh, they smelled so good), other vendors selling tacky tourist t-shirts and the like.

After a few hours I was tired of driving and returned the car.

No turtles. But you know what? I didn’t really care. I had a gentle,relaxing drive through amazing countryside among helpful and friendly people.

Technical note for my adoring fans. I have finally figured out the difference between creating a new post and creating a new page. The blog should be much easier reading now that I have jumped through that technical hoop.

Please feel free to pass long he address of this blog should someone else be interested.

Mahalo. Off to he Big Island tomorrow to gingerly pick my way around an active volcano.


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