Trip 26 -- Oahu Walk
Day 4: Waialua to Pupukea
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Today: 18071 steps/13.76 km/8.55mi/2h 39m
Total: 134514 steps/101.32 km/62.96 mi/19h 53m
Today's walk included the route driven by Joe Sharkey in "Under the Wave at Waimea," a fateful trip that sets in motion much of the book's action.
But first, I had to make a little detour. Due to flooding a couple of months ago the bridge into Haleiwa along Waialua Beach Road is closed, so I took the slightly longer way around, coming to the end of Farrington Highway and turning left on Kaukonahua Road. This gave me a chance to see more of Haleiwa town -- most of the eateries are on Kaukonahua, starting with the Paalaa Kai Bakery, where I tried a malasada, a doughnut with sugar and cinnamon brought by the Portuguese during the plantation era (and used as a kind of bribe for information to a group of unhoused in Theroux's book -- he really got everything about Hawaii in there).
Haleiwa was the first place that matched my expectations of Hawaii: surf shops, bustling eateries (the line at Giovanni's Shrimp Truck was already substantial, even before 11 a.m.), little shopping centers, stores with T-shirts and souvenirs. It reminded me a bit of Maine. The bustle made it all the more surprising that Haleiwa has no hotel. Don't people want to be next to the action?
At the end of the stretch, near the intersection with Haleiwa Road, was Haleiwa Joe's. This restaurant is on the site of Benjamin Dillingham's old Haleiwa Hotel, and it may be the place where Joe Sharkey sets out on his journey after too many beers and puffs of pakalolo (this is on about page 30; I'm not giving much away). The restaurant isn't named in the book, but given the early crossing of a bridge -- probably the handsome, yellow, double-arched, century-old Anahulu Stream Bridge -- he must have been drinking at Haleiwa Joe's or someplace very near.
Haleiwa Joe's wouldn't open until dinnertime, so I crossed the bridge and took the last remaining lunch table in the row closest to the water at the Haleiwa Beach House. I had a Hawaiian-style pulled-pork sandwich and a couple of cocktails (might as well approximate Joe Sharkey's condition a bit for this trip, though I didn't seek out weed) and continued along the road a couple miles until I saw a crowd gathering at the beach. I joined them.
Two large green sea turtles -- much like the ones I'd seen released in Zanzibar -- were resting on the sand. Someone in charge told us a little about their behavior.
"Think of it like Thanksgiving dinner," he said. "The adults just want to lounge around, while the kids play outside. Well, it's like that with the turtles. The ones thirty years old and younger will stay in the ocean and play. The older ones will take a break on the sand." The turtle closest to me was 42 years old and weighed 250 pounds. In the shallow water, a few of the younger turtles poked their heads out every few minutes.
A shower sent most of the crowd scurrying for cover, but it felt wonderful to me, and it further suggested Joe's rainy drive. I reached the curve in the road at Waimea Bay. Where, exactly, was Joe's crash? The curve was a long one -- first uphill to the right, then left, then right, then left again. I guessed it was in that first uphill stretch, but I wasn't sure.
The curve did seem a little dangerous, even in daylight; there wasn't much of a margin for walking, and with beachgoers' cars parked in the shoulder facing me as I proceeded downhill, I found myself in the roadway. The traffic was steady but not fast; drivers seemed aware of pedestrians.
I impulsively followed a provincially punctuated sign ("Farmer's Market Thursday's 2-6 PM") only to discover the market was ten exhausting minutes down the road. It had nothing on the one near Ivory's place, but I picked up a honey-dragonfruit-lemonade slush and refreshed myself as I returned to Kamehameha Highway.
My lodging for two nights is at Backpackers Hawaii, in a rustic three-story wooden house set back from the road. Pupukea has no restaurant -- the closest ones are back in Haleiwa -- but it has a few food trucks and a big Foodland supermarket. I assembled a dinner of Thai-style salmon poke from the Aji Limo truck and mussel poke, octopus poke, and sauvignon blanc from the supermarket and took a seat on the beach at Shark's Cove just before sunset. After watching the swimmers and the basketball players, the former undeterred by the sharp volcanic rocks and the latter undeterred by the sporadic rainfall, I brought the meal to the third floor of the house and sat first on the terrace and then in the communal dining area, in both cases feeling the vibrations of the washing machine below. If they run the machine through the night, I may have interesting dreams indeed.
Go on to day 5