I am sore. And bruised. It's the kind of sore that you get from hours of physical exertion, the kind where, when you are having such a great time going full speed ahead at whatever you are exerting yourself at, you don't even stop to think about how sore you're going to be. Why am I sore? I went surfing! I had such a great time! I decided to head to Waikiki to have a day to myself, and thought it would be a good time to get a surfing lesson in. And where better to get a surfing lesson than the famous Waikiki Beach? After finding some free parking (!) about a mile from the beach, I started walking. I ended up walking down a street filled with Japanese stores. I love these stores. They have the funniest things in them. And the craziest clothes - that are so small! I held up a pair of women's size Large shorts, and they would have fit a ten year old! Definitely not finding anything to fit these hips. I walked down the main strip, where all the luxury stores are, and past the International Marketplace where you can haggle with vendors for souvenirs. I ended up across the street from one of my favorite places in Honolulu--The Moana Surfrider Hotel.
It's a big whitewashed Hotel, with a long front porch filled with inviting rocking chairs. It's exactly how I would imagine Honolulu to look in old glamorous Hollywood movies, with celebrities and socialites enjoying fabulous parties in the ballroom that spill out onto the beach. I walked in through the big front doors, into the lobby with comfortable sofas spread around. A wide staircase leads upstairs, but I walked out through the back, following the sounds of the ocean ahead. From the lobby, you get a great view of the ocean. There's open air restaurants and a bar to sit and people watch. And more rocking chairs to rock to the day away. After getting my fill of $900.00 a night glamour, I walked to the beach next door. It was crowded with people, tourists from around the world.
Different languages floated through air, along with the smell of sunscreen. I signed up for a lesson at Star Beach Boys. I ended up getting a private lesson for the price of a group lesson! My surf instructor John Paul was really fun, and a great teacher. He taught me the basics on land, like how to go from your knees to a standing position. Then he picked out a longboard for me, and charged into the water. I left a tiny bit of nervousness on the beach and charged in after him. We paddled out forever, and sat on the board for a little while. Looking at Waikiki from this viewpoint is outstanding! The blue water with sunlight bouncing off of it, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and mountains in the background. And the water we were in is pretty shallow for a ways out. JP set me up for my first wave. He pushed my board off, and away I went! I heard him yelling for me to get on my knees, so I pushed up, got to a kneeling position, then stood up, trying to remember to keep my knees bent. I kept my balance for about 3 seconds, then started flailing my arms to keep steady. I fell off about 2 seconds later. But man, those 3 seconds on the board were awesome! After that first wave, I like to think I caught on pretty quick. I caught every wave I tried for! It's so awesome to be going so fast through the water! For a quick second while standing on the board you feel so in control of the water, and the board, and it's just so Fun! The hardest (or worst)thing about surfing is the whole paddling bit. I thought my arms were going to fall off. You ride a wave all the way in, then have to paddle back out to were you started. JP was a great teacher, and thinks himself to be part philosopher as well. He stated, "This is what it's all about" a few times while we were sitting on our boards looking back in at the shore. "You just gotta be happy" and, describing his job and Hawaii, "You know what tomorrows going to be like? Just like today!" He's been teaching people to surf for over 10 years, and was born in Hawaii. Says he could never be anywhere else. Looking around, I couldn't really argue with him. After being in the water for about an hour and a half, I was waterlogged, tired, and getting a little red. So I rode my last wave in. I asked him if I did ok, and he said oh yeah! But he asked me "How do you think you did? How do you feel?" Gotta agree with the man--I did great! The lady back at the booth said I rode some really big waves--"choke waves" she said. Cool, I'll take that, whatever it means. I was starving, so JP offered to walk me to one of his favorite spots about a block from the beach. A smoothie and half a turkey and avocado sandwich later, and I'm feeling great!
I still had the other half of my sandwich left, so I started walking down the street looking for someone to give it to. Hawaii has a lot of homeless people, and a ton of them live along the beaches. Last time we were in Waikiki, I felt so sad for them. To be surrounded by so much wealth, and not have a place of your own. So I walked along, hoping to find someone I could chat with. I saw a bunch of homeless guys, but none really looked at me or looked like they wanted company. I must have looked odd standing around where all the homeless people hang out. Finally a guy saw me and motioned for me to sit across from him at a table. He asked if I was lost. No, I replied, just wandering around. We struck up a conversation, and I found out his name is Handsome Eddie. He liked my name, and told me he once had a big crush on a Deanna he knew in Peru. Then he pulled some pictures out of his wallet. He had one of him and Elvis! Who knew? We chatted for a while longer, then I decided I needed to start heading home. I asked if he knew anyone who wanted my sandwich, and he offered to take it for himself for supper. I was glad he accepted so easily. I asked if I could pray for him and he readily agreed. He took off his baseball hat and reached for my hands. I praised God for the beautiful ocean He has surrounded us with and for Handsome Eddie's kind spirit. Handsome Eddie thanked me for the sandwich and asked if I would be back tomorrow. I said I'd see him around I guess. I took some pictures of the ocean before I headed back to my car. I felt like I'd had the perfect day. Sun, surf, new friends...what more can I ask for?