|I didn't write an update on my trip as soon as I got back because ... well ... same as always, I was behind on homework and had to focus on that. I got caught up (mostly) and snatched a free hour, so let's get to it.
After the fiasco with the cancelled flight, we made it to Oahu with only an hour delay on the make up flight. Once there, we spent time by the pool and made plans for the next day to do a lot of shopping and other touristy things, including getting that pedicure.
We went to the mall first thing in the morning, and stopped by the pedicure place right after a short Starbucks run. Now, I have never gotten a pedicure before, so I didn't know what to expect. Upon entering the mani/pedi place, one thing became strikingly and obviously clear: I was not in
Kansas America anymore. My mom, sis, and I must have been the only blondes there. ALL the staff and most of the customers were petite, Japanese women with perfect nails and stilettos. We were directed to three massage chairs by a woman who apparently did not speak English at all, and I began my very first pedicure experience.
I was very aware and self conscious of the grungy slippers I was wearing and my clearly not Japanese heritage, but I dipped my feet in the hot water bath, which was relaxing, and leaned back against the massage chair, which was jarringly painful. The massager things in the chair would not move away from my shoulder blades, so I cricked my back and sat nearly sideways to ease the pressure on my back. Uncomfortable as all getup, but by then the Japanese pedicurist was washing my feet, so I couldn't get away.
The pedicure progressed normally as far as I know. Cleaning, clipping, filing, scrubbing, etc ... I became bored and filmed the lady squatting at my feet without her knowing, but I can't put that video up here because of the privacy issues. I was so bored, I even texted my Dad who couldn't come in to the salon because of his debilitating phobia of nail files.
Here's an unflattering picture of my toes with the final polish (French):
We walked around the mall some more, and I was struck again and again by how many Japanese-run stores there were. I mean, Hawaii is a blend of many many cultures and backgrounds, and I have seen plenty of Japanese/Korean/Chinese/Taiwanese on the Big Island and at my school, but their abundance on Oahu was almost shocking for me. One clear example was when we accidentally found ourselves in a Japanese marketplace claiming to have been around since 1662. A whole section of the mall was dedicated to this market, which wasn't a single store, but an enclosed space with multiple booths, similar to an outdoor market from 1662. It smelled overwhelmingly of cabbage and fish, and there were NO other Caucasian people around. I didn't hear a scrap of English spoken, and all the signs were in Japanese. It literally felt like we had stepped into a foreign country - far more so that I feel on a regular basis, even living in Hawaii.
On Saturday night, we decided to walk through the streets of the most tourist-y street on Oahu: Waikiki. We saw the street performers (my favorite was the man painted all gold who stood perfectly still who looked exactly like Johnny Depp), an Indian percussion traveling band, people advertising a gun range, ABC stores (there was one on every corner), and a homeless man sitting in the middle of the sidewalk eating a spilled omelet. It is easy for a country girl like me to stare at all these things and become overwhelmed, but I learned quickly to walk swiftly and not look in people's eyes for fear they might try to sell you something.
I thought I couldn't get any more overwhelmed, but then the incredible happened. We peeled off the main sidewalk and found ourselves in a mall where all the "rich" stores hide so the customers don't have to walk in the rain. Immediately upon entrance, we were confronted with Golden Elephant sculptures, and I knew we were in some kind of wonderland.
We came to the Michael Kors store and eyed the security guards as they eyed us. We clearly didn't belong there (again, more than 95% of the customers were Asian). Deciding to plunge in even further, we took the escalator up to the next floor. And what an escalator ride it was. It was unlike I had ever seen in my life, and I thought for sure we were being teleported into Oz. There were displays of clothing hanging from pink trees on both sides of the escalator and a gigantic TV screen at the top of the escalator. It was all you could see while standing on the elevator. You must realize now, how I was beginning to realize, how truly overwhelming this was all becoming.
At the top, I look around almost frantically for the escalator down, but there was none. There was one way to go: into the building even further. We could not turn around. We could not go back. We had so eagerly lept into the lap of luxury, and now there was no going back. I briefly wondered if this was how celebrities felt when the leave their ho-hum lives behind. Unfortunately, we were not celebrities, and clearly stood out for all the wrong reasons, like our ratty slippers.
We passed a bathroom, and the inspiration struck me in an instant. The restrooms here were bound to be killer in comparison to anything else we were going to find. Everyone else agreed, and we ventured past the over-sized beetle carcasses ...
... to the bathrooms. And guess what, I was right. The bathrooms only had "washlets." (see picture for detailed description):
The toilet had instructions for "Rear Cleansing," "Front Cleansing" etc ... again, see picture for description. I fail at trying to explain these things. (sorry for out of focus picture):
Mom actually screamed when she used it! That's how country we are
As we ventured further in, it was like a maze, but such a well-crafted one where you think you are lost, but there is really only one way to go. This way, you pass all the stores (we didn't go in because everything would have cost more than our house, and the dual security guards on either side of every door were giving us funny looks.) Also, at that point, we really just wanted to find the way out.
We came to what looked like a dead-end, and all simultaneously deflated with the knowledge that we had missed the exit and would have to turn around. Luckily, one of the female security guards (Japanese), pointed us toward one of the corners of the dead end, which we had suspected was another store, and sure enough, it let us not out of the mall, but further in. We were really into the expensive stuff now. It seemed the further in you went, the more expensive things were.
To demonstrate, here is a video of a $50,000 watch with hologram tech. Yes, you read that right: $50,000. For a watch. I can't explain how stunned I was, so I'm giving you this so you can be stunned with me:
Then came the Dior makeup store. I swear to anything, there was an eight-foot man serving champagne, a DJ, free makeup tutorials, and a professional photographer. Parents both had champagne, and the three girls got our makeup done. (See new bio page pic for how I looked, or the link below).
I never wear makeup, but damn ... I looked stunning. When I was walking, Dad said the people I passed were turning back to look at me. I walked with my head so high I felt like I was scraping the sky and my chest out. People moved out of my way. It was glorious.
When we finally found the exit, we walked out new women. It was all so surreal and such a stark contrast to the homeless man eating the omelet off the ground. Two different worlds entirely, but all withing a block of each other.
The flight home was only an hour delayed too, so that was better than the alternative.
A few random thoughts I wanted to share before wrapping it up for today:
There is a man who paddles who looks exactly like Robert Pattinson (except older). His name sounds like sha-lawn ... but I'm not sure how to spell it.
Yesterday was April Fool's day, and thankfully, I wasn't pranked. I did get my friend though. I texted her and told her she had 12 demerits (citizenship points - you don't want to have them), and she flipped out. I immediately told her I was joking, and her reaction was: "Ugh. Fuck you." That makes me think about April Fool's Day. I have never been into the whole pranking deal, but if you are one of the ones who is pranked, how do you react gracefully? "Oh! Haha! You got me! I look so silly!" *insert sarcasm. The first of April isn't really a day of Fools, it is a day of Jerks.
That's it. Off to paddling,