Paradise Lost

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Last night we had a new roommate arrive, he promptly left & spent all night in a strip club before returning in the morning. He’s a mid 50’s American who has to travel for business, he tells his wife he stays in Hotels & will call her from one the 1st night & then spends the rest of the time staying at hostels. Why hostels you ask? I didn’t but he’d enlighten me anyway, the extra money is for strippers & chasing tail (I opted for a different choice of words), oh & hostels are full of lots of young drunk *****

… Ladies & Gentlemen I present to you the nomination for the trips most seediest individual.

I’ve been asked a bit lately about the safety of hanging out & talking to houseless people, 90% of the time I’ve felt safe. There was one instance I didn’t & I left & that wasn’t due to houseless people but a group of others in that area.

What’s felt more unsafe to me is the random dude selling coke, or  sitting at a bar having dinner & the business woman whose next to you slips you her hotel key-card… that’s felt more unsafe than hanging-out with people without houses.

Anyway it’s my last day & I’ve found out about two places I should get to, one is just out of Chinatown, the other is a “tent city” in Waianae. Waianae proves to be too far away for me as I don’t have the coin for a cab ($80-100 each way) or car hire, or the time to bus… finding out about this place too late & not being able to make it, would prove to be my greatest disappointment of my time in Hawaii.

So I manage a quick visit to Chinatown & some of the surrounding areas. It’s strange to see empty basketball courts & abandoned playgrounds… & streets lined with tents.

I say goodbye to the “Houseless crew”, the group closest to me, where it all started I guess. A couple are drunk & don’t know who I am. Mark, who has never said much to me, thanks me & gives me a Hawaii bracelet (I’m not “convinced” it was purchased) I’ll wear it all the same.

…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped

and these guys certainly live in the shadows. Mark was assaulted last night and his face is cut, bruised & swollen, he was asleep when it started, he had no possessions, money, or drugs…

he had no one.

We can’t blame our government for not looking after those in the ‘shadows’. When we can walk by without making eye contact, offering a hello or a smile…

Is life really too busy to take 2 seconds to acknowledge someone else’s humanity?

Someone once said,

Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest

We have a way to go.



Hawaii Looking Back: Hawaii didn’t workout as planed…

but it couldn’t have worked out better. Sure I spent a whole lot less time on the beach & in the water than I would have liked but I got to meet some amazing people, I’ve met some from different walks of life, who I could live a million lifetimes & not rub shoulders with. My life is richer for it.

I wish I could have had another day here & made it to Waianae.

It’s been cool to see God at work, it’s been cool to see the difference a little love & kindness can make in someones life. Walking back to the Hostel one last time, I run into a guy I’d spent a bit of time with, he proudly tells me he’s been sober for a day.

It’s the first time in 15yrs.

We never had conversations about it…we barely had conversations, I just sat & listened.

Of all the things we have to give others, I think ‘time’ is the hardest to give.



I’m off to the airport, see you in San Francisco.


Kicked Out

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I’ve been in Hawaii for 5  or 6 days now, part of that time has been for vacation & travel, part has been to hangout with & do some film/photo/doco work around the homeless/houseless.

There are two reasons for this,

1) I hope to be able to put something together to raise a little awareness about the houseless & how we treat/interact with them,

and 2) I want to do it in such a way that it’s accessible for anyone to do. I’m by no means a talented editor, creative, film maker etc… I’m shooting everything on a GoPro. I guess I hope to provoke one or two others to ask,

what is it in your world that doesn’t sit right with you, what can you do about it, how can you engage with it & advocate for change

This was a beautiful moment I witnessed last night.

Last night after the sunset on the beach I spend some time hanging out with some houseless people. I take a few pics & do a little film work. I sit with one guy for a couple of hours & he just talks, he cries, he laughs, he shares his story, from the mundane to the comical & tragic.

I listen. I’m not filming, it stops being about what I need.

Unlike some of the other ‘houseless’ he doesn’t have a group he hangs with, the only time people stop to talk is to see if he can hook them up with weed.

I don’t know how to describe it other than it seemed to be a healing moment for him, he asks for me to pray for him, I’ll make a point of seeing him before I leave.

On the way back I stop by this really flash mall full of Prada, Armani etc… it’s a stark contrast to what I’ve seen in the last couple of hours, I decide to ask a couple of questions,

“Hey I’ve a couple of questions about Hawaii, can you answer for me”, yes. “How long have you been in Hawaii?”, insert answer. “Whats the deal with all the homeless people around?”.

“sorry sir I can’t answer that”. “ummm….”. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave”.

One lady called security. I start leaving, I’m on the 3rd story & it’s a little tricky to get out. Eventually I get asked to hand my camera over. I refuse, there is no way that’s happening. You’re not allowed to film or take photos in the mall without permission, I point out the dozen or around us that are filming right now.

It’s clear they don’t want a confrontation because of either my size or the scene it would create. I get asked to accompany them to their office, yep that’s not going to happen either. They inform me they can call the  police & have me charged, I’m sceptically but a little worried that this might jeopardize the rest of the trip (and judging by a few incidents I’ve witnessed, I have no confidence in the police). We reach a compromise were I agree to delete some footage off the camera under their supervision, I do so (in hindsight, something I would regret).

One of the guys tries to snatch it off me quickly, the GoPro is attached by a cord to my wrist, dick move, “I’m going, try & stop me”. We’re calling the cops…

Once I get out and around the corner I’m sure I’m shaking. I head back to the hostel & knock back a few local beers with people from around the world, there’s a really good group in tonight, it’s a shame I’m leaving tomorrow.

Great-beers-best-local-beer-hawaii-beer-longboard-lager-big-wave-golden-aleHigh: the “random” timing in witnessing a beautiful moment of kindness. The comradery of  travelers.

Low: indifference


Swim with the Fishes

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Last night I thought I’d hit the,jackpot with my room, I’m in an 8 person dorm split into 2 rooms. I had one room to myself & the Aussie dude had the other…

It was short-lived, some guy came smashing through at 4am.

At 7am I’m on my way to the North Shore (other side of the Island) to look at some fish…

You’re in a cage with about 5 other people. The first time someone else bumps into you, you sh!t yourself… after that it’s just spectacular. We got a really calm clear day & could see 12-15 sharks out, which we were told was higher than normal.

How they attract the sharks is very cool. Basically for the last 50years crab boats have been stopping in this place and discarding the damaged crabs or the ones that are too small & the sharks come eat them. So the dive boat is fitted with the exact same engine, nothing is thrown into the water, the sharks come because  the engine sound/vibrations mean feeding time…. and then we hop into the water in a cage 🙂

On my return I chill at the beach for a bit, catching this sunset.


High: Sharks, magnificent.

Low: the guy that crashed through at 4am was gone when I returned, just a layover to his next destination, he took all my toothpaste & toiletries etc

I could never get tired of: Sitting on the beach watching the sunset.

Random Conversation: Random well dressed guy (RWDG) stops me as I’m walking down a busy street,

RWDG: “hey are you from Australia?”

Me: “Nah, New Zealand”

RWDG: “Are you from Auckland or Wellington?”

Me: instantly impressed. “Christchurch”

… conversation carries on a little bit…

RWDG: “Do you know Charlie?”

Me: yeah cause I live on an island with a population of 200 people. “Who?”

RWDG: “you know Charlie… (me looking puzzled) … Charlie man… nose-candy”

New Experience: Someone trying to sell me crack.




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A shuttle picks me up at, 3.30 am, I’m on my way to the airport (on 3hrs sleep), and off to Kauai. I only have time to visit one other island, it was a tossup between Kauai or Maui. I chose Kauai because of pictures like these.

Napali Coast


I share my shuttle ride with a Grandmother, Mum & Daughter who are on their way to Maui for 2 days, I’m only in Kauai for the day.

Hawaiian Airlines were really average, they’ve just moved from “free-for-all” to assigned seating… so you pay extra to pick your seat etc, for a couple of long flights I’ve done that for the leg room, being tall in a plane is not that fun.

I didn’t this time, it’s a short flight. My mistake.

It’s the shortest space between seats of any plane I’ve been on, myself or the person beside me can’t put their tray down. My legs are hard pushed up against the seat & my knees are close to my head… but it’s ok because the emergency exit seats in front of me are empty, there are 7 of 8 seats free.

Except it’s not ok, I’m told I can not move because I didn’t pay the extra to choose my seat… I secretly wish for the plane to crash, because no is sitting there to open the door.

On arrival I stagger to the car rental & get a boring Sedan, the lady makes some comment about it being her last one & in demand… I’ve spied a few Mustang convertibles, so tell her I’d be happy to take one of those instead.

Jackpot! I’m in.

I spend the day driving from one side to the island & then to the other for the sunset. In between I stop at a few secluded beaches, do a couple of walks… oh & I put the Mustang through its paces on a couple of unsealed roads, bottoming out a few times & giving myself a couple of scares.

Thankfully it runs after dark, washing away the worst of my transgressions.

A few clips of the day.

On my flight back to Oahu all the emergency exits are empty, I just take one & “fall asleep” before I actually fall asleep… take that Hawaiian Air.

Kauai is nice, I’m still pretty blown away from the scenery from the day before, there is one massive coastal hike I’d love to do one day.

I get back to my room around 11.30 & crash… epic day.

Quote of the Day: “it’s for newlyweds & old people” –  the group that went to Maui.

High: Secluded beaches & the Mustang

Low: Hawaiian Air

Random Moment: Driving with the roof down & some sort of fruit fell out of a tree & exploded all over the back seat.

Inspiring Moment: On the flight back there is this old couple, kissing, holding hands, laughing & looking madly in love. They’ve been married 45yrs… beautiful.


Byodo-in 2

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I awake to the sound of rain. It’s pouring down.


Eventually I get out of bed & during a break in the rain decide to head to Byodo- in temple (take 2), freshly armed with the exact bus route I head off. I reach my transfer point only to discover that as of a month ago my connecting bus no longer connects… guess the website updates are running on island time.

Not only that, but because it’s Sunday it’s hardly running, not wanting to miss another opportunity I grab a different bus to get me closer, then suck-it-up & take cab.

My driver, Ricky (most popular name on the island so far) is a Vietnam vet who moved here after the war, he has seen Honolulu go through a ton of change, single lane highways to 8 lanes etc. He cuts me a good price as he picks up  another job over that way, gives me an umbrella & wishes me well.




Byodo-in Temple is at the back of this cemetery & it is in the most pristinely beautiful area, these photos dont do it justice. It begins rain heavily, driving the few remaining tourists away, I’m absolutely soaked, but it’s Hawaii so I’m warm.




I hangout til dusk.


I’m dry by the time I get back to Waikiki, although I freeze with bus a/c.

Heading back I stop by a group of homeless people, I ask if I can do some time-lapse photography, I’m chatting away while I’m setting up. One of them gets into an argument with another, the cops are called, one says,

You’re only here because I allow it!

I’m sitting on the pavement with them & realise I fit in, until one of them notices the GoPro & I’m asked to move along. The petty crime, smoking, littering, urinating, searching through trash cans, and drinking doesn’t appear to be a problem. But scare the tourists, that’s another story.

I return a couple of hours later & make some new friends. Deciding to give photo’s a miss, I film, I ask questions, they talk BS, they share the heartfelt, their stories & I get a tour of Waikiki.

Here’s a little something I put together, when I get a chance I’ll do a more thorough edit. I imagine I’ll be spending some more time with “the houseless crew”.


New Experience: bending busses! hawaibus47

High: Chilling at Byodo-in & new friends.

Low:  It’s a toss up between really muggy nights & mosquito bites (if you go to Byodo- in, use bug spray. The mosquito’s are like ninjas, you don’t know they’ve been there til to late.

Biggest Surprise: It’s been 2 days & I haven’t been for a swim yet.










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I departed on the 30th & arrived in Hawaii on the 29th – I love time travel! I’m here for 3 things, lazy-relaxing beach days, hop in a cage with sharks (I just reread that, the sharks are preferably on the outside of the cage) & a visit to some Lost film locations.

I descended upon Ohau on a rain filled cloudy night, so unfortunately I see nothing flying in. My cab driver offered to pick me up tomorrow & drive me around the island for $200, once he saw where I was staying he suggested I could do the same on the bus for $2.50… yep I’ll be taking the bus, which funnily enough, is called ‘The Bus’.

Loaded up on a complementary breakfast of peanut-butter & toast, I knock out a quick 3k walk to Ala Moana mall.

look at me! rugged & ready to take on the world!
look at me! rugged & ready to take on the world!

Yes a mall, I’m disappointed in myself – disgusted actually.

It’s kinda cool that it’s an “outside mall” (not enclosed), but not really practical on this overcast-showery day – just what I came to Hawaii for. I head straight to the Microsoft store to grab a case I’d ordered for my tablet… the beautiful contraption I’ll be blogging & editing video on.



At some stage I saw a pic of a Japanese styled place & thought it would be a sweet place to visit, chill, photograph & reflect. Google told me it was Byodo-in temple, it’s Buddhist & modeled after one in Japan.

Byodo-In_TempleLaie Hawaii TempleBut during my googling I also found this one, which was a perfect backdrop for a couple of lines of spoken word I was wanting to film in front of a few places.

In search of my mythical temples I attempt to jump on a bus, only to realise the driver can’t break a ten because they don’t handle money, you need exact change to pay a machine (guess you can’t trust those bus drivers). Not wanting to wait another 90 mins I say, “don’t worry about the change”, at which point she let’s me on for free – Jurassic park!

Celebrations are short lived when I realise this bus won’t get me close enough. I jump off at the highway – which has a footpath – it’s a little disconcerting walking down a highway with a 10ft tall sound wall on oneside & 8 lanes of traffic zipping by on the other.

Eventually it looks like the footpath runs out, oh wait is that it over there? It must continue down below the highway  that’s much safer? This path isn’t well looked after, is it even a path? maybe it’s a drain… whatever it is, hopefully it runs the length of the highway.

WP_001493It doesn’t.

Just as well I’m a traveler today, a tourist would be lost. Travelers don’t get lost, where ever they are is where they’re meant to be. Which is good, because the Santa-sized American man, standing in just his board shorts looks very surprised that I’ve walked into his back yard, “I guess that’s not a path then”… his name’s Rick, I have a beer by his pool.

Full of liquid courage & directions to a bus to return me home, I head on my way.

After a small eternity I duck into a Mexican restaurant to grab a Powerade, it’s run by a lovely Mexican couple. Diego is into ball, he asks if I play… we talk ball, Hawaii, life & family. He has a 30yr-old son who hasn’t settled down yet, seems too interested in traveling the world… I think Diego would get on famously with my parents 🙂


I eventually get back to the mall & celebrate the day with a visit to Bubba Gumps, I’ve failed to reach my destinations today, but have had a couple of magical moments meeting new people. I could live a million lifetimes & never run into Rick & Diego, I’m much richer for it.

Walking home I pass some homeless people… then some more…

& more.

The plan was to relax for a week, the plan was to do some photo/film work with the homeless when I reach Las Vegas…

plans are for tourists, & I’m traveling 🙂


New Experience: Bubba Gumps, Coconut Shrimp, Coronarita’s.

High: “Random/chance” encounters

Low: I spent about 5months in NZ searching for a Tripod Mount for my GoPro & finally got one, only for it to break the first time I went to use it.

Biggest Surprise: Wow! there are a lot of homeless people in Hawaii






adventures, News

Let the adventures begin!

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The Lone Traveler

I’m about to hop on a plane with a half-crazed plan, a bunch of tickets, a GoPro, $100 in my pocket & a whole bunch of the unknown.

I’ll be gone 2 months & will visit half a dozen countries. Some places I’ll definitely be at, some I’m hoping to get to, some I have no idea how I’m getting there, where I’m staying or how I’ll pay for it…

this will be a grand adventure of epic proportions or a cautionary tale.


Here’s a list of places I’m going to be (bracketed are places I’m hoping to get to), in rough sequential order. I’m already catching up with a couple of readers for coffee, so hit me up if I’m in your area pillscoffeeheresy@hotmail.com

Honolulu, Hawaii

(Kauai, Hawaii)

San Fransisco


Las Vegas

Springfield, M.O

New Orleans

Tel Aviv









New York



A little over a year ago I decided I wanted to visit Palestine for 4 weeks over my summer holidays (Christmas in NZ), I guess that’s what set the wheels in motion. Turns out though, that flying to Tel Aviv from my little island country is ridiculously expensive.

So I started looking at alternative ways of getting there, and by alternative I mean Every possible combination of dates & places… long story short, I’m flying to a bunch of places for a little more than the original cost, albeit on some airlines that don’t appear to even have logos – there’s a good chance I end up in the back of a single prop full of crates of chickens.

Oh & this trip has ballooned from 4 weeks to 2 months.

So what do I plan on doing?

Well some of the trip I’ll be a traveler, some a tourist (yes, there is a difference), some a photographer, artist, filmmaker (more on that to come).

I’ll be writing this blog when I can, planes, airports & buses.


I’m chasing dreams & sunsets, welcome to the journey.

See you in Hawaii