Hawaii long ago lost the Polynesian Aloha that we are told is there in brochures and photos. It is a friendly but sterile place to holiday in the South Pacific. It has become the common place of beaches, surfing, shopping and fancy hotels, not much different from other vacation spots. The natural beauty of the islands is the only remnant of the original place and this is hanging on by a thread. The island of Maui retains a little of the 1960's hippie time and is the only island where you can listen to real Hawaiian music on the radio station.
Our two week trip to the island of Hawaii renewed many memories as it does each time we visit. But this time, I actually tried to get Polynesia to creep back into my old soul and with a little effort it did even though we were jetsetting. We were on Oahu three days, Kauai one day, Maui one day, Hawaii (The Big Island) two days, and then our vacation actually started and we were back on Kauai for 8 whole days. This vacation was also a little different from many we have taken due to a personality change in my husband. Hubby is the kind of person who thinks vacation days should begin at 6:00 AM and go through to 10:00 PM filled to the brim with activities---it probably has something to do with getting your money's worth, but he is also the kind of person who lives life at a the 110% blowout level. This time we actually slept in until 8:00 AM most mornings and were in bed before 10:00 PM. What a REAL vacation.
Ok, close your eyes and think warm ocean breezes and rustling coconut palms above your head with a gentle bubbly wave caressing the beach at your feet. Smell the plumeria blossoms in the lei on your shoulders. Maybe you can even think about my newly discovered cocktail, a Kaffir Lime Drop, just for the fun of it. (Remember I have got this thing for kaffir lime trees. I was even was able to find one in one of the botanical gardens and took the photo below. I like to think that the fruit is a lot like me(
) bumpy on the outside, but filled with fresh zest on the inside.)
HAWAII PART I
We arrived in mid-afternoon after the 'red-eye' flight. Bofore hubby's meetings started we took a drive to the Nuuanu Pali Lookout on the island of Oahu. This is a short drive from Honolulu to the other side of the island. There is a parking lot, then a short walk to the overlook that can be seen in the lower left of the picture. This is the view from the lookout . Pali is an Hawaiian word meaning cliffs. Well, it was certainly breathtaking and always brings back the memories. On some days this view has a strong ocean breeze blowing you over back into the parking lot. A Colorado mountain girl loves her mountain views.
We left the lookout and decide to get away from the crowds and hike down the abandoned paved road nearby on the back of the mountain side. Glad our timing didn't coincide with this 'little' rockfall above.
This view above is from our Oahu hotel room balcony. Why a picture of an ongoing construction sight you may ask? It was taken for reasons of nostalgia and a painful realization. This site was once the location of the Tahitian Lanai Restaurant where my husband proposed to me late one night after his red-eye flight from Florida and where we had our little wedding reception the day we were married many years ago. We are now really old, having out-lived the buildings in our memories. Geeese!
When I first arrived in Honolulu, many years ago during a week of job hunting, I stayed at the YWCA located on one floor of a high rise across from this park - which is part of the Fort DeRussy military R&R site. At the time I was there, Fort DeRussy was filled with soldiers from Viet Nam on R&R. I don't like to think about that. In the background in this photo are the aging YUPPIES doing some kind of tai chi or something in the park. Silly looking, I think. I have never been a group participation type person.
This is a view back to our hotel area from the Ala Wai Yacht harbor in Honolulu. I also lived here on a boat, a unique catamaran, for several months during graduate school. (Another life story.) The harbor has not changed much although the water doesn't look as clean as it used to.
I shopped at the Ala Moana Shopping Center the following afternoon. This is a paradise if you love to shop. It combines all the high end stores from the mainland U.S. with some of the Asian stores. I noticed that most of the woman sales clerks (which are at least partially Asian) dye their beautiful black hair a red-brown color - which is NOT flattering. My favorite Asian store was gone unfortunately.
Well, our next stop was Maui for just one day. Above a lovely view of a sunrise from our hotel on Maui.
Next stop for a day and a half was on Hawaii or as it is also called, the Big Island. On the left side in this photo above, if you look closely, you will see four people. One is a photographer, another is a woman in a long white muu muu with a Bible in her hand and the other two people are a couple getting married (or renewing their vows). I accidentally encountered this ceremony walking along the beach from my hotel. I was trying to get photos of the several large turtles coming to the surface in the water. But the turtles were relating to the ceremony in some Kharmic way, and I sensed my photo was not going to happen. So, no cool photos of turtles, but I bought several wooden and glass ones to add to my collection.
While on the big island we visited an acquaintance that knew a small company that raises shrimp and seahorses. We were introduced to an energetic young couple trying to start a very interesting business. The first photo is at a rock quarry with native tiny red shrimp that can just barely be seen. These are those little red shrimp that you can purchase in those 'environmental' water globes that are sold. The globe is balanced with plant life and the shrimp seems to live forever in them. The seahorses are not indigenous to Hawaii and therefore sold only on the mainland U.S. They actually have to be habituated to people so that they don't get stressed out and die and that is why they are gently handled before being sold.
I will post part two of my Hawaiian adventure in few days.