Every year my son has a 4th of July picnic in Waikiki. It is my favorite ritual. In order to get a decent spot he has in the past arrived the night before to save a place. I would join him around 5 AM so that I could, one, find parking and two, sit and drink coffee while the sun came up. It was a wonderful event.
Last year he was told by the city that they were no longer allowing people to stay overnight and that you had to wait until 5 AM to get into the park.
I did not know this but still planned on my 5 AM arrival. Well due to a new alarm clock that I was not sure how to set I kept waking up to make sure I had not over slept. By 2 AM I was exhausted and thought the heck with it I’ll just sleep and hope it would go off.
Just as I drifted off Max decided he wanted to sleep on the bed and jumped up and plopped his furry body right in front of my face. He refused to get off the bed. After fighting with him for 20 minutes I finely got back to sleep but not for long as he started to bark at the person delivering the paper. It was now 3 AM and I gave up.
I got up packed up all my things, made coffee, got ready and i was out the door at 3:30. I was in Waikiki in 20 minutes. What would normally take 40 minutes during the day in regular traffic was a breeze on a holiday.
And a good thing it was fast. When I arrived there was not one parking space in the whole street along Waikiki beach. When I arrived at the park there were only 5 spaces left. Where I was always able to park right next to our spot, there were cars lining the area. What’s more I could not see my son. I drove way down from our usual space and took the first space I saw.
In the past there was never any tents set up. Now they were everywhere. The rule that only one person could sleep over and only in a sleeping bag to save a space had been totally ignored! I phoned my son, he was just driving down and I told him to hurry as the spaces were almost gone. He was upset when he arrived. People were sleeping everywhere.
Four in the morning and you can just see tents set up to the right But at this time there are so many people down here that I don’t want to venture to the bench to drink coffee as I might stumble over someone.
The Dawn is breaking and the only peaceful place is on the beach it’s self. The lifeguard post is still quiet and unmanned.
Looking toward Waikiki the Natatorium lights have just come on in the bathrooms
A few people enter into the water at around 6:30
Looking through the Natatorium window as the sun rises over the mountains
It’s around 7 now and people are starting to arrive to swim. The sun is just starting to rise by Diamond Head
This is looking into the park and you are able to get an idea of how many people have arrived at the park. It is getting so crowded that there will soon be tents on tents.
My son starts to set up. He and I are the only ones there at this time. He is a bit fuzzy from having put in a full day of construction the day before and was up a 3 AM to start loading and getting ice. He was not able to get the spot he usually got as there were already three tents set up there.The photo is a bit fuzzy because, well, I was a bit fuzzy too.
You can see all the cars parked along the park. I was parked way past those cars getting one of the last few stalls left.
All of the tents are starting to appear
This canoe appeared early in the AM and sat for hours right in the middle of the only place left for kids to play. When we inquired as to who it belonged to, nobody laid claim. So we put it on the side and the kids got on with their day.
I’m not sure if this guy didn’t want to deal with the crowds on the beach that were now gathering or he couldn’t swim. I guess he was practicing as he and the boat soon disappeared.
This was a party of Marines who had a huge elaborate set up down from us. I found this surprising as the military has private access to some of the best beaches on the island. Nice beaches for locals are so overcrowded I find it hard to understand why they would want to set up and fight the crowds on this beach.
And this was the “Chef.” Boy did his ribs look good. And those are two chickens he has in there also. I asked him how in the world did he get that huge set up down there. Of course he pointed to all the strong Marines standing by waiting. They really know how to party.
As the day got brighter and more and more people arrived, illegal tents with BBQ’s started to take over the beach. And it was still before 9 AM!
My son and I looked around, both of us tired. I had not enjoyed my coffee ritual and we were crowded in between too many tents with strangers kids wandering into our area. What there was of it. Our families arrived and started to settle in. I looked at all the tents around us.
There were a few of the older families that once had picnicked here. It was more younger people and military. Things were again changing in these islands. I told my son that I don’t think I will be coming again. If I had not been harassed by Max and left the house so early I would not have found parking. The thought of getting up at that hour next year just to get a space no longer held any charm to me.
I am sorry for the local families that are slowly loosing all their wonderful picnic areas. Yes indeed. We can kiss paradise good-by.