At 2:30 in the morning my eyes were open, my body ready to go, even though I had only sunk into bed three hours earlier and tossed and turned, slipping in and out of sleep, the whole time. At home, it was 5:30, already an hour after my alarm usually rouses me from sleep.
I arrived in Honolulu last night after 9 p.m., to my hostel after 10, so hadn’t even figured out where the beach way or what was surrounding me. I was ready to explore, but since the sun wasn’t even peaking over the horizon yet, I promised myself a sunrise walk if only I stayed in the twin bed — a spring digging into my side — for another two to three hours. So I did. Every so often, every 15 minutes it seemed, I would open my eyes, put my glasses on my face and glance at the digital clock on the stove across the room from my bed.
Finally, 5:03 came up.
I rose, grabbed my new bikini, never worn except to try it on in my closet imagining myself actually wearing it on the beach…in Hawaii, shorts and cover up top, changed quickly in the small bathroom, careful to not wake my three roommates all soundly sleeping in their beds. Two of the women stumbled into the room around 2 a.m., I thought it was much later until I put on my glasses and saw the time.
In my beach clothes, flip-flops on my feet and bag with beach mat, towel, water, smartphone, pen and guides on my shoulder, I headed out. The friendly man with an Australian accent at the front desk gave me directions to the beach.
“It’s easy, Love. Take a right out the door, then turn left at the next road and it’s a block up,” he said with a smile.
The beach was the opposite way that I imagined and the opposite way that I would have gone on my own.
When I turned the corner, I saw narrow palm trees coming out of the light brown sand with blue water lapping onto shore. There were a few other early birds up walking around. Probably afflicted with the same jet lag that I had (well, still have).
I stopped where the sidewalk met the sand, closed my eyes and breathed deeply, bringing in the warm arm, smelling the tropical flowers on the trees around me, and hearing the water lap onto the shore. There weren’t a lot of other sounds, most of Waikiki still being asleep.
I then took off my flip-flops and with them in hand, walked straight into the water. Not far, just enough to feel it. People who have been here before insisted that the water was warm like bath water. I believed them, I really did, but still expected to gasp with surprise when it was ice cold. But I did not, because it was warm, just like they said.
I was prepared to sack out on the beach to enjoy the early morning quietness and take a swim but overwhelmed with excitement to check out the new place, I just kept walking. I took a few photos, but just took in the sights, smells, and sounds of my first real day in O’ahu. My first time, even, in Hawai’i.
I was just going to take a selfie of me with Diamond Head in the background but happened across a couple from Texas taking photos of each other. I offered to take one of them and they took one of me. Tip for people traveling solo, offer to take photos of others because it’ll make it easier for you to ask for them to do the same (or they will offer) so that you get some photos of you on vacation that aren’t all selfies.