This past week I was lucky enough to go to Hawaii. Hawaii’s great because it’s like a state sized Japan Town. It’s not quite Japan but the influence is awesome. You can get Japanese food everywhere and most of the signs are also in Japanese. At the same time, everyone speaks English, because obviously it’s America. One huge Japan Town.
My favorite thing about Hawaii is the water. It’s so warm, clear and with the right equipment you can see fish swim right by. By right equipment I mean goggles and a snorkel. If you go to the island of Oahu, Hanauma Bay is a must. It’s $7 per person to get in but it’s totally worth it. You know all of the cool fish you see in “Finding Nemo”? That’s what it’s basically like, swimming in an aquarium. This time I even got to see a sea turtle! It was so cool. But remember to bring food, because as far as I could tell there were no vendors.
My least favorite thing was the pushy vendors. Now I was in Waikiki, a huge tourist trap, and I’m not saying they’re all scam artists, but there was this one place that just made me feel uncomfortable like I was in Las Vegas. For example my girlfriend saw a teapot that she wanted and the vendor was all up in our grill. She showed us a matching tea cup and saucer set which we agreed to get. We agreed with the saleslady to pay $47 for the teapot and cup set, but told her we don’t have the cash, so we’ll be right back. She kept talking to keep us there even though we would’ve been right back. Finally she agreed to take $15 in cash and $32 on a card. But then things got crazy. After she took the cash and we signed the receipt, she told us we owed her another $10! Can you believe it? We had to stay there another 10 minutes arguing with her until finally I put my foot down and told her we’re either taking the merchandise or the money back, but assured her there was going to be no new exchange of cash. She begrudgingly bagged our goods… slowly. And we left.
I don’t mean to sound racist, but I felt like I was in a Russel Peters comedy sketch.
I swear at one part of the conversation this woman told me to be a man, and the crazy thing is that I think she was directing that comment at my girlfriend.
The energy it took to not be swindled amounted to more than $10. I feel like she got an extra $50 of my time and patience. I’m not a bargaining kind of guy. Never have been. But I’ve never experienced the price going up even after we’d agreed and payment had been exchanged. The nerve of some people.
But all in all, it was a pretty awesome vacation. We drove all over the island and actually stopped at some interesting places. Include the Dole Plantation, which has the largest hedge maze in the world. (According to Guiness 2001)