Taking Off the Rose-Colored Glasses
Waimanalo Beach, on the island of O’ahu, seemed to be frequented by locals more so than tourists and we had to take a long ride on a local bus to get there.
The local buses featured, at the time of our trip, a very visual campaign against drug abuse and, in particular, against meth. There were ads with graphic pictures, showing how the drug deteriorated your health, quickly. The pictures of rotting teeth were gross and hard to forget. We’d already seen groups of drug addicts hanging out near Waikiki Beach, getting into loud fights.
According to TV and those ads, meth seemed to be a serious problem for this particular slice of paradise. As a random person just stopping by, you wonder what drives people to use drugs when they live on a beautiful, tropical island that so many people in the cold parts of the world dream of visiting even once in a lifetime.
On the chilly, air-conditioned bus ride back, the bus driver stopped in the middle of a long, empty road to wait for the police to arrive. Why? Because a teenager insisted on buying a child’s ticket and the bus driver was sure that she was over the age limit and needed an adult ticket. The teenager didn’t have enough money so it was like a Mexican stand-off. We waited for over half an hour for the police to arrive and sort it out.
Work stress seems to exist everywhere, inescapably. Didn’t seem absurd at all.
As I wrote in an earlier post, Waimanalo beach was absolutely gorgeous. But in the beach park’s public toilets, there was an empty drug needle.