I just spent 4 months in Hawaii. Right now it doesn’t quite register. Like how it doesn’t register that it’s snowing in Maryland and I’m about to step off the plane in shorts and a t-shirt (at least I’ll get to show off my tan).
Hawaii has been an amazing experience and I want to share my story with future ASH students so they can get a glimpse of the possibilities that await them in Hawaii.
My main concern with school was that I wanted to do as little of it as possible so I registered for only 3 classes and chose classes that were only held on Tuesday and Thursday. I definitely recommend this as it allows much frolick time. Working out this schedule with classes that would transfer credit back to UMD was a bit of a headeache though.
If you’re interested in classes I took, then read the following:
HIST151 World History up to 1500 with Prof. Bentley (8/10 rating)
I like this class a lot because I felt like I needed to learn some history so I was interested and motivated to learn. Bentley is also a pretty good lecturer. He wrote the textbook for the class so it is a very organized and easy to follow class.
LLEA122 Greek and Roman Mythology (8/10)
I liked this class not because it was really boring (it was amazingly boring), but because it was really easy. I usually couldn’t bring myself to sit through this class but I faithfully attended every Exam Review session because the TA, Josh Hevert, tells you everything you need to know for the exams.
GEOG405 Water in the Environment with Prof. Tom Giambelluca (9/10)
First off Tom is awesome. Everyone calls him Tom and he is an extremely knowledgeable professor but also a great guy. Throughout the semester we worked ona research project involving the manoa stream watershed. We installed 2 weather stations, recorded all kind of data, and were like amateur scientists. It was actually pretty great.
I spent the first few days at a hostel on Seaside avenue called Hostel Aloha (right next to campus), to get my bearings with UH. Then I spent a few days in a hostel on Lemon st. in Waikiki to be close to the beach. I finally found a place in Waikiki on Craigslist and ended up staying there for September and October. My roomates were awesome: A 29 year old ex-mormon gay guy who had just quit working at Greenpeace and a 25 year old girl from Colorado who dropped out of UH pretty quickly. So with 2 unemployed roomates and my own open schedule we adventured often and camped out at North Shore almost every weekend.
After 2 months I got tired of living in the city so I moved up to North Shore. I had always wanted to be a WWOOFER (willing workers on organic farms) so I went to the farmers market in Haleiwa (Sundays 9AM-1PM) and talked to all the farmers about WOOFING on their farm. I ended up WOOFING on a chicken farm that was 200 yards from Chun’s Reef surf spot. In exchange for 10-20 hours of work a week I got to live in a little shack on their property. My responsibilities were to give the chickens food and water every day at sunrise and in the afternoon, as well as other tasks and projects. I also helped with the chicken production (catching, killing, de-feathering, cleaning), which was a little disturbing at first but eventually became normal. This was one of the coolest places I’ve ever lived. North Shore is an awesome place and has even better surf (at the right time of year). If you’re interested feel free to contact me.
The first couple weeks I took the Bus everywhere. The bus service is really good and it can take you almost anywhere on the island. After a few weeks I bought a van on Craig list and this opened up the island a lot. This sparked much more exploration, surfing, and camping trips. I got lucky too and got the van for real cheap and managed to sell it for more than I bought it. (If you’re interested in buying a vehicle there are many people that will sell for cheap because they are trying to leave the island).
Down to Earth Grocery store: on the corner of King and University. You might think its expensive since it a health food store but they have specials that are very reasonable. Plus, they have the best peanut butter! You grind it fresh
in the store yourself!
Bangkok Chef: Awesome Thai food. Almost fast food. Very large portions for cheap. I call it the Chipotle of Hawaii.
This is the best part. Lets start with the best…
I learned to surf here and got totally hooked.
Winter Season (Nov. – March): Large waves in North but small in South
Summer Season (March – Sept.): Generally flat in the north but good waves in the south
The windward side is more remote and unexplored for surfing so I don’t know much about it.
The south is a good spot but can be crowded since its so close to town.
White Plains on the West side is a good beginner spot. The leeward side is risky because they say you’ll get your car broken into there.
The north is one of the best surf spots in the world. Large swells hit the north about once a week in the winter and can produce VERY big waves…the biggest I saw were about 30 feet and people were surfing them!
Getting a board:
-rent in Waikiki (you can usually bargain with them there)
I found my board on Craigslist. This guy Patrick on the windward side rents/sells boards for a good price and will buy back the board he sells you for half the price when you leave the island.
The Leisure Center on campus does surf trips. I went on one but wasn’t too impressed.
Stairway to Heaven: Stairs leading to top of mountain. Best views I saw of the island.
Manoa falls: nice easy hike near campus
5:30 PM Sat. and Sun. at the field past the Hawaiian studies building on Date st.
5:30 PM Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sat. at Kapiolani Park at the Diamond Head end of the Park (furthest away from Waikiki). Caution: this group can get rough.
Ask Maya or Isaac for info.
Small cliff at Makapu’u and larger, harder cliff at North Shore near Mokolueia. Sport climbing but very easy to set up for top rope too. Don’t need any static rope because its set up for you to drag the dynamic rope up through bolts at the top. Check out the Climb Aloha site for info.
Beaches: Oahu is one big beach. Explore, relax, enjoy.
Sailing: Check out Ala Wai Yacht club or Hawaii yacht club. One of them has friendly races on Friday afternoons that you supposedly can join if you ask nicely or bring some beer.