|After a long wait at Nadi Airport because I got bored at the hostel so got to the airport too early to check in I finally boarded the plane at 10.50pm on Friday night. The film on the plane was Catch and Release, which was ok, and after that I managed to sleep, I had 2 seats by the emergency exit so I got to curl up covered in the travel blankets and with 2 pillows and slept for a while, a bit uncomfortable but better than having to sleep sitting up.
I landed in Honolulu at 7.20am Friday morning! Yes, that is right, I left Friday night in Fiji and landed that morning in Hawaii!! I had travelled back in time! Well, I had crossed the international date line anyway. Despite the early landing in Hawaii, I didn't manage to leave the airport until about 9.15am. The first reason for this was my stupidity at leaving my J-1 visa forms in my rucksack (the forms which I need to prove I'm doing Camp America), so I had to get escorted to the baggage claim, wait for my bag, which, typically, was near the end, remove the forms, get escorted back to immigration, wait for my turn again, at which point I got a man who had never seen a J-1 visa before and was asking where I was studying, so I spent about 5 to 10 minutes explaining I'm not studying in the US, I'm working as a Camp Counsellor when I get to New York in June. He seemed to have trouble understanding me and kept insisting I was a student, so I said yes, but I'm going to be working, not studying, hoping that this would improve matters. Eventually he had to get someone else to come and help him and then I was finally allowed to be on my own to go back to baggage reclaim, where I got my bag and went through customs. Due to the increased security you have to open your bag in front of a member of customs and border security, and I got sent to someone who was obviously being trained as she had 2 other ladies watching and helping her. I got asked where I was from, where I had been before America, so I listed the countries in reverse order, explaining I was on a round the world trip as she seemed just as confused about my visa and why I was in the US before my Camp was due to start. After me trying to explain to her, and then the others eventually helping her out we got to me actually opening my bag. I have a bag of laundry powder with me, so obviously she was suspicious, although to be fair, if I was carrying that much drugs I would be rich! Plus you could smell it was laundry powder as soon as the rucksack was opened as the plastic bag had kindly split open...anyway she was saying how it could be a mix and the others were saying how it's her decision, but they wouldn't send it for testing, as I'm a backpacker and we tend to carry laundry powder to wash our clothes, I was after all going around the world. Finally they let me go. At which point, I got to the shuttle bus bay just to see the bus leaving, so had to wait half an hour for the next one. Welcome to the USA Robyn!
Anyway, after checking in I spent my second Friday exploring, and went to the main shopping mall in Honolulu, Ala Moana as I needed to buy some essentials, such as new sunglasses and a US SIM card. It's a very big and confusing shopping centre, it's 3 levels, but unlike places like Lakeside and Bluewater, the walkways between the shops aren't covered, it's all open air so you get to walk around in the sun between the shops as if you were just walking down the high street, but you get stairs and escalators to take you to the other levels. I found it quite exciting...small things I guess! The other thing that amused me was several signs informing shoppers that the mall was now open until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays! It's nice to know Lakeside got there first. Hehe.
I have 5 days to explore the island of Oahu now, and try to work more on my tan, I seemed to get too good at using suncream in Fiji!
I've been for a walk along Waikiki beach, the main tourist beach on the island, and saw the statue of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, he was an Olympic champion and became the world's fastest swimmer in the 1920s.