The Travelling Student – The Rising Sun of Hawaii

My name is Philip Kirkbride. I’m a college graduate from Ontario studying at AU. I’ve always wanted to do an exchange program or study abroad but never found the right time to do so. This is the story of how Athabasca University has allowed me to create my own study abroad program. In the last part, I landed in Honolulu and spent the day on Waikiki Beach.

Still being on west coast time I got up bright and early at 5:30am. Predictably the first thing on my mind was coffee. Also predictably, I found myself at Starbucks, laptop in hand, drinking my morning coffee. While I’m a big fan of exploring local businesses when travelling, I also find it interesting to see how global franchises differ around the world. The differences can tell you a lot about a place. Aside from the special Hawaiian themed roast you’ll notice the menu is in both English and Japanese.

The Japanese influence can be felt throughout Honolulu with lots of high-end Japanese people, and businesses catering to them. Honolulu is, quite literally, a place where east meets west. At grocery stores in the Waikiki area warm food can be found split down the middle?one side Asian food and the other American style.

The Asian foods aren’t your usual North American Chinese food, but instead are popular dishes most of which I’ve never had. I ended up trying a few different rice rolls, which were cheaper and healthier than their American counter-parts. A more ’Hawaiian’ localization is the cup of pineapple served with every McDonald’s meal (But don’t get your hopes up. The pineapple, as I found out, is canned).

In addition to being the place where east meets west, Hawaii is also the perfect middle point between Sydney and Toronto. It allows you to split the flight and split the time getting used to the time difference. Despite this, Matt landed in Honolulu tired and jet-legged. I couldn’t blame him, a few days ago he had no idea he’d be in Hawaii. So after meeting Matt and getting settled in I found myself back on Waikiki Beach.

Waking up the next day we knew we had to make the best of it. While we couldn’t hope to see everything on Oahu Island, we could get out of Waikiki Beach for the day. Directly beside Waikiki Beachside Hostel is a moped rental shop called Adventure on Two Wheels. They offer three models, Basic, Sport, and Deluxe, with prices ranging from $30-$50 a day.

The attendant gave us a map and helped us decide what we wanted to see. He asked if we were in the mood for something “vacationy” or something more adventurous. We opted for adventure. Our destination was Maunawili Falls. We’d take the scenic route staying along the beachside for most of our drive and briefly stopping at beautiful Waimanalo Beach.

With our day planned out we hit the road on our new deluxe mopeds.