The realization hit me while I was driving around the other day. I was determined to go to somewhere where I could avoid people in general. Reading through a borrowed guidebook I stumbled across a beach at the west end of the island that's far enough off the beaten path that nobody tends to go there.*
On the way I forgot what the place was called because it was named in the local language. While I was driving along, hoping to stumble across a street sign that would jog my memory, I couldn't help but notice all of the crowds, traffic, graffitti, and garbage that have cluttered up what was once probably a really nice place.
I'm sure there are probably plenty of places on the other islands (and maybe Oahu too) that are wonderful, but after a full week on the ground here I feel like I'm just stuck with Southern California's retarded little brother. The scenery's nice, but it's been paved over and covered with strip malls and fast food joints where everything costs too much, takes too long, and gets too much hype.
What's really nagged at me more than anything is the fact that I seem to be the only person in the entire state that's got somewhere to be. Getting on the highway is the worst of all. I merge onto a six-lane thoroughfare, something that looks just like any freeway back home, and for some reason nobody is driving over 35 miles per hour! I suppose none of these folks have anyplace important to go, but you'd expect they'd rather be somewhere other than sitting in slow-motion traffic for no reason.
On the plus side, it's been a bit overcast or cloudy every day since my arrival here. So at least it's not too hot outside. Better still, I've got a few old shipmates who are living out here now and we'll get plenty of chances to catch up.*The guidebook failed to mention that nobody goes to that beach because it's across the street from an Air Force bombing range. I guess the world is full of trade-offs.