Hawai’i Part Five: Everything Else!!

Usually travelling is rather stressful, sorting out a hostel, planning what to do, making sure your things don’t get stolen etc… But having a base which was a friends home in Hawaii made everything 10x easier. It meant I could leave my things around and not worry, I had an actual comfortable bed, and most importantly, I could while away hours with Theresa watching Friends, Scrubs, Pretty Woman, Moana, Oceans 11, crap Hilary Duff movies, fantastic Haylie Duff movies, and the greatest movie of all time: Christian Mingle! On our more productive days and nights we took a little painting class and painted jellyfish, went to quiz night and game night, and explored Waikiki beach. It was so so nice to just be able to not do anything, to breathe clean air, to see the sea from the sofa, even to feel carpet again! I’m incredibly grateful to Theresa and her family for putting up with me for 2 and a half weeks, driving me around and showing me Oahu.

As well as watching and reviewing every Duff movie on Netflix, we sometimes managed to get out of the house and lay on the various beaches on offer as well as see various natural landmarks such as Chinaman’s Hat. On the drive up to North Shore (which is beautiful) I spotted a seal sunbathing, and when it was too windy to snorkel we sat for hours watching the waves and just relaxing. I was on holiday after all! We returned a few days later when the weather was better so I finally got to snorkel a couple of times. On my last day of snorkelling I followed a fish for a long time and decided it was called Michelle. Whilst I was meeting Michelle a whale was cruising the coast and I managed to see it when I got out of the water which was incredible. On the North Shore we ate from food trucks and managed to actually not get sunburnt! (I won’t lie though, I got sunburnt at the pool in the first week). As well as snorkelling the North Shore had a touristy town called Haliewa where we spent heaps of time walking around, ate some shaved ice, and bought yet more souvenirs. The days spent on the North Shore were so much fun and some of my favourites.

My last day in Hawaii was Superbowl Sunday! We planned to watch it at Theresa’s house and just have a chill day. It started off that way too – the national anthem was sung, the Bush’s came out and flipped a coin, the players ran onto the pitch….and the cable went out. I’m not even joking the second the game was supposed to start the cable went! Theresa’s Dad rang the company who did nothing and we sat around and waited. And waited. Turns out the high winds were causing issues and the power was intermittent too. It was sorted out after the half time show, so although I missed Lady Gaga I managed to catch the overtime and the final touchdown. Hands down it was the best American football game I’ve ever seen! After the game ended the cable went back out again and the wifi with it, so we played a card game and ate food before watching a DVD and going to bed. In the morning when my alarm went off to catch my flight there was still no power so I had to get ready by a camping light and hope that when I’d packed the day before I’d picked up all the small things which had scattered around. I left the pitch black house and headed to the airport which thankfully had power!

My journey back was long, I knew this before going in and yet it was longer than I thought because my first flight was 12 hours not the 8 it had been going! I managed to stay awake despite the cabin crew shutting the blinds and turning off the lights. The food was pretty good too, steak and mashed potatoes. When I eventually landed in Korea for my 19 and a half hour layover I left the airport and got picked up in a 13 seater black mini-bus with blacked out windows to go to the hotel I’d booked. To my delight I’d been upgraded to a suite so had a little entrance way and so much room! After sleeping, waking up at 4 with jet lag and heading to the airport again it was time to go back to China and back to Shijiazhuang.

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Hawai’i Part One: The benefits of being British

It’s currently Chinese New Year, which for me means that I have a 3 week holiday known as Spring Festival.Last year I ventured to Thailand  with Charlotte and Elijah (and struggled to blog about it afterwards) but this year I am determined to document my trip to Hawaii, specifically to Oahu and my reunion with Theresa, a friend I met in Australia 3 years ago.

I’m going to start with the beginning if my trip. After arriving in Beijing the day before and stocking up on gifts, I set off for the airport at 6 a.m. to journey on what became the longest Thursday of my life. There’s an 18 hour time difference between China and Hawaii which means that even though I was travelling for a long time, I actually  arrived before I set off. Incidentally that’s my favorite fact ever and I’m telling everyone who is anyone, which now includes all of the internet but anyway…

So at 6 a.m. I left the hostel to the travel to the airport. I arrived at about 10 past 7 which was right on time, as check-in didn’t open until close to 8 o’clock, but I wanted to be there early. Once it became obvious where the line would be people began to queue. However they were doing wrong! Being British I’ve been taught how to queue, so whilst everyone in front of me stood directly in front of the desks and not behind the sign, I stood in the correct place. Everyone looked at me very strangely and the Chinese family  behind me were very annoyed because of the huge gap between me and those in front. However about 10 minutes later I was vindicated when the check-in staff appeared and made everyone else move behind me, so I was the first person in the queue. This turned out to be a good thing because the woman had an issue checking me in due to my lack of visa. Because I’m British I don’t need a visa to enter the US at the moment, just an ESTA. This confused the check-in agent who was very concerned, so she checked with pretty much everyone in the airport to make sure that I was legally allowed to enter the States. Once that was sorted out it was time to find food and wait for my flight to Korea, and then wait some more since the snow delayed it.


As I expected my flight was delayed, but soon I was on my way. Once I got to Korea I had a nice 5 hour wait during which I tried to organise things for my extended stay on my return journey. After discovering that I couldn’t afford the transit Hotel I instead booked one nearby. I also managed to have an amazing shower for free in the airport! Because I was there for a while I found a comfortable place to sit, got stuck into my book, and people watched a Chinese family filling two cases with duty free purchases.

After boarding my plane, flying across the ocean and not really sleeping I was so excited to land! However first of all I had to clear immigration which took more than an hour. I kept being shuffled from line to line, the automatic system didn’t work for me, and all the people on my plane who couldn’t speak English (most of them) were even more confused than me. All of this was accompanied by a video of Santa Claus going through customs, and another one of an annoyingly chirpy man assuring me that the system was designed to be fast. I begged to differ.

Eventually I talked to the immigration person and after being fingerprinted I was allowed into the country! By this point the baggage carousel had stopped moving and everyones luggage was on the floor, so I grabbed my backpack, waved and cheered at the officials on the door and began my Hawaiian adventure. Oh, and after all that, it was still Thursday morning.