A few weeks ago, Hannah had to go to Hawaii for work, and asked if I wanted to tag along. The tickets were cheap, so I said why not! I had low expectations, beacuse how much better could the beaches be than the ones I grew up going to in Costa Rica? I’d say they are different enough, and cool in orthogonal directions - the cultural and historical context are totally different.

We were staying in Oahu. Honolulu reminded me a bit of Miami, while its suburbs made me think of Costa Rica. It’s an odd mix.

I was on my own the first day while Hannah attended her conference. Kaimuki was recommended as a very walkable neighborhood with cool stores. It wasn’t all that walkable, and the stores weren’t there either, but I found some nice sights.

I brought my ND filters and my tripod for some experiments. Honestly, none came out great. This is the tunnel that leads to Diamond Head.

Hiking up on my own was pretty nice. I listened to an Econtalk episode on my way up, and followed it with Heavyweight. Eventually my headphones ran out of battery though.

The view of Waikiki from the top. My camera’s battery also died, but I stayed up there and read my book for about an hour before going down.

After Diamond Head, I drove over to Pearl Harbor. Since my camera died, here’s a lone iPhone photo of USS Bowfin, one of the submarines in the museum. The role that Hawaii, and this location specifically, plays in US narrative building is critical. Walking around as a foreigner with skeptical eyes, and in the our strange current political context, was pretty educational about how people in the US see themselves, or at least how some of their institutions want them to see themselves.

The next morning I made Hannah wake up early to hike up to the pillboxes on Lanikai, which our host had recommended. We didn’t make it before sunrise as planned, but close enough.

The trail was muddy, but the views were worth it.

The aforementioned Hannah.

Two thirds of the way there.

The graffiti on these structures reminded me of the art on the various batteries we’ve hiked to around San Francisco.

On our way down.

This rooster and several chickens were walking around the stores in Kailua. Apparently this is common in Hawaii.

We spent our afternoon in Kailua beach, and walked over the estuary that divides it from Lanikai.

We closed the day by driving over to the North Shore, since many people had recommended that we check out the shrimp trucks, which apparently are to Hawaii what taquerías are in The Mission. The food was good, but even better was that we ended up in Laniakea for sunset.

And there were turtles!

Another day, another early sunrise wake-up for Hannah to complain about. This time, we were headed to Hanauma Bay to spend our last hours in Hawaii snorkeling. We made a couple of pit stops along the way for photos.

Here I was repeating some of my previous experiments from Puerto Viejo.

And the long shadows have also become a classic shot.

The water was super clear, and swimming among the fish was amazing. Hannah had never snorkeled before, and while I had, the amount of fish in the reef made it an unforgettable experience for both of us.

A happy Hannah.

Before leaving, we had to have poke. On our way to the airport we stopped at Fresh Catch. This was the best tuna I’ve had in my life.

Truly delicious.

And of course, the trip couldn’t end without a few aloha shirts. I might have bought one too many, but that was Hannah’s fault.

Want to see more photos like these? Sign up below: