On wednesday, I "enjoyed" a very early morning drive to LAX and realized, I'm really in California... Passing Mulholland Drive and Sunset Boulevard was kinda funny somehow. LA traffic is a bitch though and I was glad I had left early enough to stay out of the worst. I made it to the gate with plenty of time left, even though the ticket agents gave me some trouble (can't check in via American, because the ticket is booked via Quantas but can't check in via Quantas, because the flight is operated by American.... go fgure!)
Six uneventful hours later, I was finally in Hawai'i.

Now, as I've already described in the Craigslist Joe post, the entire host-finding-quest in Hawai'i was a little adventure all in itself, but it all worked out really well and I really enjoyed my four days on Oahu.
But, I have to admit, my first impression of Hawai'i was not quite as positive. We ended up in rush hour traffic that reminded me too much of California and all I could see at first were tons of cars and skyscrapers - not quite the beautiful island I had been hoping for...

My host family took me in and cooked a delicious dinner on that first night. Again, I had my own room and a comfortable bed, which is more and more important, since all this time-zone-hopping is slowly getting to me... So I slept for almost 12 hours and felt a little better on thursday morning. Steve gave me a ride into Waikiki and I spent half a day strolling through the busy beach town. Man! So many tourists! And SO many hotels! Unbelieveable... here are some impressions from downtown.

"The strip" in Waikiki

Cute little marketplace under an ancient tree

I spent some time on Waikiki beach, but it was way too crowded for me, so I caught a ride with Darellyn back to the house in Mililani. 

yup, that's Waikiki....

On Friday, both Steve and Darellyn were off work, so they decided to take me on a little trip :) We started with lunch at the Diamond head roadside diner and then took the scenic Kalanianaole Highway towards Makapu'u Point State Park. 

Kalanianaole Highway window view :)
Impressive waves on Sandy Beach
The blow hole *hihi*

The hike up the State Park was really nice and the view was just absolutely fantastic! Absolutely worth it! I finally found the beauty in Hawai'i :)

ok, I admit, it was more a paveway than a hike trail....
Lighthouse *yay*
Steve, Darellyn and me on top!

After the hike, I treaded us all to a cone of Shave Ice (basically just crushed Ice with syrup...) and we made our way further up the eastern shore, enjoying the sunshine. 

....I'm sure it's very healthy....
Chinaman's hat!
the other side of the island - beautiful mountains! 
The views were simply spectacular! And in case these mountains look familiar to you, think Jurassic Park... ;) We made it all the way to the North Shore, where we passed Sunset Beach (beautiful) before we turned back inland towards Mililani and drove through the Pineapple fields. 

that would be more my kind of beach...

Hawai'i 's nature really is beautiful
Today, we went back downtown to get some last minute souvenirs (I think I have presents for everyone now ;) ) and I redeemed my "slice of joy" at the Cheesecake factory :) Now, all my bags are once again packed and I'm gonna catch another very early flight in a couple of hours, which will finally take me away from the States. Nearly five beautiful, amazing, adventurous and exciting months have passed - thanks to everybody who has made my time in North America so special! And thanks to Paolo and Melinda for hooking me up with my hosts in Hawai'i - I couldn't have found a better place to stay! Last but not least, thank you Darellyn and Steve for giving me the best Hawaiian experience anybody could ask for! I had so much fun with you guys, thanks for everything! Mahalo!

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