Honolulu in February ... is humid. Not exactly hot, but humid and it only gets more so as the year goes on. Not that I'm complaining - the temperature is fairly constant between 25C and 28C which means no layering!
As I went through Border Control in Honolulu, I was asked if I'd been in China in the last fourteen days. No, no I hadn't. I knew there was a virus coming out of that region but that wasn't going to affect us, was it?
Arriving at my friends apartment, I was introduced the newest member of their household, Wolf. A absolutely adorable 6 month old Maine Coon.
I was in love with the fluff ball instantly, even if he thought feet were fair game for a little bit. I remember sitting there one night, all three of us playing on our computers and each of my housemates yelping and calling out "Wolf". He was nipping their feet. Looking at the time, I figured he was just telling them it was time for bed!
We had plans for my stay in Hawaii. The Might Mo', Iolani Palace, a luau ... the usual things, you know. We were going to see Jake Shimabukuro at the Blue Note, I was really looking forward to that.
We made the Mighty Mo, or the USS Missouri. A wonderful outing to Pearl Harbour and clambouring all over the ship that had been decommissioned and recommissioned more than once. There was lots to be impressed about but the thing that stood out to me was the decking - they had maintained (read replaced) the decking with hardwood. Not steel or alloy as modern warships use, but the original (or as near as possible to original) hard wood decking. It was beautiful.
The USS Missouri in February 2020
That was mid February. We were making plans for Iolani Palace the weekend after - but in that time, things changed. That "little virus" coming out of China turned out be rather infectious and was spreading like wild fire.
By the end of February, beginning of March, countries were advising people to limit their movements and take extra precautions.
I was asked if I was heading back to Australia by a couple of people, but my investigations at that time indicated that it wasn't necessary. In fact it was about that time that the advice from the Australian Government was that those of us who had somewhere to stay should "shelter in place".
Alright then. After speaking with my friends we all agreed that I would stay there and we'd all be fine. After all, it was just March and I wasn't due to leave till May.
Little did we know.
It was probably Mid March, thereabouts, when I got the first notification that Australia was limiting travellers into the country and Hawai'ian Airlines notified me that my May flight was cancelled. The next flight I could get was in July!
That's ok. I had approval to stay till July, even though I had originally booked to go home in May. No worries, things will work themselves out.
So March was spent in a state of quasi 'shut down'. Eating in wasn't popular and we were being careful to take precautions until more known about the virus.
None the less, we took Wolf out for drives to parks and beaches and still managed to get some of the Hawaiian ambience. Here's a photo of the fluffball on my shoulder while we're in the car.
And that is the start of my twenty three months in Hawai'i with .... no way home.