Palm trees waved in the tropical air. Scores of surfers dotted the flat, blue Pacific expanse, resting on their boards for hours at a time, like hens awaiting their eggs. The slim crescent of Waikiki Beach curved up the island, ringed by glimmering high-rises. At the other end, the old brown face of Diamond Head jutted out into the flawless sky. Here in Honolulu, life really could be a beach.