A Travellerspoint blog

Trapped in Paradise

Hello!

Have we been missed? Lets just say that we have, and lets start off on the right side of the bed, shall we?

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That is a picture of the mountains from the street we are staying on. Where are we staying you might ask? Well, thats kinda a long story.

Ok, so, Hawaii has been a total change over from our continental USA trip. It has been warm and somewhat stress free (and this is the state where the shit hit the fan, and splattered not only all over us, but all the way inside us, to the very marrow of our bones... gross, I know.) That being the case, I feel as though we are on the other side of the rainbow, and as such, we will write this section of the blog > IN REVERSE!!! !!!ESRVER NI < (see, its already begun)

This morning I wake up with a sniffle (its been getting chilly at night for a few days now, and Joe has been on and off sick for a few weeks now). Luckily for me this meant I rolled out of bed, took a hot shower, and made myself a cup of tea as Joe cooked locks for breakfast. All this was made possible by Chris and John, two kids in their 50 or 60's (well, Chris is more of an adult, but she, like me, enjoys guys who never quite grew up; oooooh, burn!) took us in from the sand.

Lets back up just a little to make things less LOST structured. The plan was to fly to China on Feburary 4th, one day after my friends left to go back to Cleveland from their week or so trip to Hawaii for my friend's wedding. That night we spent at the airport, and the next morning we waited in a hour and a half line, full of people speaking in Chinese (am I nervous about this... yes), to get our boarding passes. When we finally made it to the front counter, they took our checked bag and sent it through the machine. Then they asked us for our visa's. Visa? What visa? To make a long story short, and to make it not sound so much like I'm trying to get out of the fact that this was all my fault, I had some bad information. Along this trip we had been asking people about traveling, and one thing led to another, and we assumed that we had factual information about being able to fly to China for under 3 months without a visa. This is true for places like Taiwan and Hong Kong, but not mainland China. You can't even have a layover in China for over 24hours without a visa. And for Taiwan and Hong Kong, you can't just say you plan to leave in under 3 months, you need to have the exiting flight already purchased... yah, we really weren't planning on planning that far ahead.

Crisis mode:
The day my friends left for the airport (Feb 3rd) Joe donated our tent. Now, February 5th, we were on a bus back to Waikiki to hit up Starbucks and try and figure out what the hell we could do. The guy at the airport who denied us onto the plane to China got us our luggage back, and gave us bad information about flying to Taiwan and Hong Kong (he didn't mention that you needed the flight out to be able to stay for 90 days without a visa). So we were still trying to think of ways to fly to Taiwan and get our China visas there as we road "The Bus" (thats the name of the bus system on Oahu, and it makes so much sense, why not? Well, on the Big Island its called Hele On... still don't know why. I guess because "The Bus" was already taken).

Thankfully this time around we spent our time researching exactly what we need, and both our mom's researched what we need, and it came down to the only place we could get our visas was:
not LA where a Chinese Consulate is located and Joe's mom found a travel agent who would do it for $125 (plus visa cost)
not in Hong Kong where a Chinese and American Consulates are located
but in NY where the Chinese Consulate for the northeastern USA is located, and us not being east coast citizens or natives to Hong Kong, could only get a visa for Ohio citizens form New York.

How do you get your passports and papers over to NY? In person. Maybe not Joe or myself, but someone has to bring the papers to their door. My mom offers to fly to NY from Cleveland. We try to find another solution.

Enter Master Yong to stage center. This is our teacher we trained with for several months before we left on our trip. He is neither Dan from Tai Chi at Life Center Plus where Joe worked, or Mr. Allen from Green Dragon, this instructor came to us via a book Nate (Joe's brother) bought Joe for Christmas last year called 12 Masters. Master Yong was one of his favorites from the book, and he just so happened to have is school in Akron. He ended up moving his school to Medina, so an extra 30min drive for us, giving a grand total of about an hour to get to class from where we were in Tallmadge, but well worth it. And he was only about 15 min. from my mom, and she didn't mind us visiting.

Anyways, Master Yong tells Joe to send our passports to my mom in Cleveland, and that he will meet her in Brunswick (one town down from my mom, one town up from Medina), then he will drive her to Cleveland where his travel agent is, and she will take our passports and paperwork to NY and get them same day processed.

Meanwhile:

It turns out that Master Yong also told his class about what happened to Joe and I on the Big Island and what had just happened to us at the airport, and one of his students told him that she had friends/ family near Waikiki that we could stay with. This was a relief, because for the past 4 or 5 days (its hard to keep track of them on a trip like this) Joe and I were spending our days at Starbucks going online trying to sort things out, and spending our nights with all of our bags tied together, and then tied to our sleeping bag (purse at the feet) out on the beach in front of the Hilton. We weren't the only ones choosing this one section of the beach that was actually dark to make a bed for the night, so we assumed it to be okay. But we still were late to sleep (well after sunset), early to rise (just before sunrise), and I was ready for a bed I could hit at 9pm and sleep till 9am (oh god you have no idea how much you really don't sleep until you get some sleep).

Chris said that she could pick us up after she got off of work, and so we waited at the army museum on I believe Monday, February 8th, for the person who would save our sanity. She drove us to her place, not in Waikiki, but Kailua, the same city we stayed with my friends the week before for the wedding, and I felt right at home. Chris goes to work durning the day, and we stay home and do chores with John who is retired. John is usually already panting with sweat by the time we get our lazy bums out of bed, and we try to catch up, but we usually spend most days just milling around. Joe mowed the lawn, and he makes dinner for us just about every night, and I helped photoshop some pictures... and thats about all the help I've been (Joe's been the bread winner on this trip). Joe and I get to do some Kung Fu out in their yard, but a lot of the day I usually spend on the computer looking up flights and Joe couchsurfs for places to stay in China.

Yesterday (Feb. 17th) was our 4 year anniversary thing. I said that we should have to push it a couple of months back, but Joe said, just like last year when I said we needed to push it a few weeks back, that we were never apart long enough to make the break official; or something like that. So, that day I spent in the car with John. He took me to the airport to pick up our passports and our visas (and Joe's anniversary/ Valentines Day/ I don't want to see his beard grow that bushy again present... a straight razor. Like the kind used in Sweeney Todd. He has refused to shave since his week in the wild with a normal disposable. At least Dan let him borrow his electric razor for the wedding so he didn't look like a total beach bum). Yay for general delivery! (We set that up before we knew we had a place to stay. We thought we would still be sleeping on the beach when the passports were ready to be shipped back.) Then to Coscos to pick up some grocery's and Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Honey Wine! I love that stuff, but its expensive, so we have to go to the bulk grocery store to get it at a decent price. Then, after having grommet meals every other day of the week with wine at a nice dinner table, Joe and I enjoyed a romantic dinner for two (our bagel and egg sandwiches) as we watched 2 episodes of Castle in our room (with the honey wine of course).

A few days earlier we hit Cinnimin's for brunch. We were supposed to out to eat on Valentines day (longish story), but several misunderstandings led to the 4 of us eating in separately. So for President's day we had a nice breakfast at this place my friends who came down for the wedding hit up 4 times the week they were here (I only ate there 2 times before presidents day... I'm almost caught up).

Then the Sunday before that, Valentines Day, Chris and John took us on a hike that lasted from 11am until 7pm (and the gates to the park that we started the hike into the mountains closed at 6!) Thankfully the place was packed, so we couldn't park in the park, but on the street outside of the gates. And here are some long over due pictures of Hawaii:

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Beware of rodents! Joe is actually sniffing a rat trap. No cheese on it though, Hawaiian rats are crafty in the wild.

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4 hours into the hike, Chis tires out and Joe and I hit the last leg of the trail on our own. Unfortunatly, one cross of the river more (we must of crossed that damn river like 30 times by this point) we hit the section of the trial that said "This part of the trail is not maintained!" And then it goes up. No more walking, just climbing tall clay slippery steps... but what a view!

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Welcome back to civilization, how ever did we loose it? When Chris saw the pictures we took of the valley we just hiked she was amazed. She said it didn't look like Oahu, and that her friends will never believe it when they see how natural the landscape was from the middle of the island all the way out to the ocean. But seriously, check out how cool the view is from the other side of the mountain too. I, being an outsider, can appreciate both the developed and natural landscapes.

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And down there is supposedly one of the Dharma stations from LOST. It used to be a Coast Guard station, but now its empty. Lets zoom in with John's crazy zoom!

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Look familiar? I don't recognize it all that much. Maybe the Dharma station Faraday was trying to diffuse the gas or something.

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And now its time to go back down and get back to the car before it gets dark (its already 4pm, and we took almost 4 hours to get to this point. Eeek!)

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Posted by - Rain 22:39

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welcome back kids! we missed you! awesome pics!

by georgi r

You posted! Yay!
That view was worth the extended stay. I wish I had more time there. Amazing hike!

by laurr

Oh, really loved reading all about your travels and the beautiful photos. So great you are having such an adventure. Our owls are grown now and all 3 have remained on the property and hoot all during the day and evening, even keeping us awake at times. Saw one big one sitting in the palm tree under a big branch in back yard just staring down at us. Well, he does know us, but really looking and hooting for Vanessa a Joe!

by rufus

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