Hi everyone... I'm sorry that I have not posted a blog in so long, but things were actually getting a bit busy here and I was caught up in finals and such. The ship actually just left Guatemala a few hours ago (which was awesome), but I will elaborate on that in a future blog when I get all of the pictures that I want from our friends. But first, our brief stop in Honolulu, Hawaii.
We had been on the ship for 9 days between Japan and Hawaii, and they weren't as bad as I thought they were going to be. The weather warmed up along the way and we all found things to distract ourselves. My friends and I were all very excited to get to Hwaii and just relax and eat all kinds of American food. It's hard to describe how much we were looking forward to eating at restaurants like the Cheesecake Factory and such.
We got off the ship and headed to Waikiki Beach, arguably the most famous in Hawaii. We walked along much of it before settling down and just enjoying the sand and the surf for a few hours. Some of my friends had a surf lesson on little baby waves. Here is a picture down the beach and toward downtown Honolulu. The weather was absolutely perfect the first day.
Then Jill and I went and had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. I had a good salad (we can eat lettuce again!!!), but we actually didn't get cheesecake because we were so full. Then we layed out for a while longer and went to a big mall because I needed a pair of heels and Jill needed a dress for the Ambassador's Ball. We walked back to the ship and showered and went out to dinner with some friends at CPK, also excellent. Then my friends and I went back down to Waikiki and hung out for the night at a couple of bars. We were back to the 21 drinking age, which was weird because we had all gotten used to everyone being allowed to drink everywhere, but most people were able to get around it one way or another.
The next morning, Jill and I and our friend Matt went to IHOP, which was awesome. We were really excited for real scrambled eggs, because on the ship they make eggs from some powder or something and they are awful. Then we went and found a beach nearby and just lounged for a while. We talked with a soldier who was on leave from Afghanistan. He is stationed in Kabul and does mostly humanitarian work, but he is definitely still there and it was very intersting to talk to him about the war and life there and other things. I don't think I had had a conversation of that depth with someone who has been involved in this war. Here is a picture of the breach, pretty much paradise. I really take many pictures in Hawaii, because it all felt so normal, and were all excited just to do very American things.
It was starting to cloud over so we began the couple mile walk back to the ship. We stopped on the way at a drug store to pick up a few things, but really just headed back to the ship. Hawaii was definitely a nice break. Then we had 7 days on the ship until we got to Guatemala. We had four more days of class, and then the start of exams. My exams have been fine and I got all of the work I needed to for my classes done.
The weather was actually cool and very cloudy for the first 4 days of that, which helped us all to get work done. It finally got nice out and we all did a lot of lying out and sitting on the back decks. We always sit on the back deck and watch the sunset after dinner. Here are some of my girlfriends doing our regular after-dinner routine. From the back it is Jill, Emily, Alex, and Sheila.
We are all sad that the voyage is coming to an end, but people are also excited to come home. It will be nice to be home and have a "normal" life, but I will miss everyone here terribly and we already have many plans to visit each other over the summer and at other times. As we got on the ship this afternoon it was very strange to think about this being the last time we would board the ship, and the same feeling of weirdness and sadness occurred when we were pulling away from Puerto Quetzal.
Okay, enough of that for now. I will post a blog tomorrow or the next day about our fun times in Guatemala. Bit of a preview... I climbed a volcano and roasted marshmallows in the lava, and then hung out on a black sand (volcanic) beach.