You think that as often as I’ve been to Hawaii, I’d consider moving there. But I never would…more about that later.
The first trip was the summer when Elvis Presley died in 1977, when I was 11 and I went with my family. I remember that distinctly because quite a few women walking around the Maui resort where we were staying were sobbing uncontrollably. We soon discovered why.
Then there was the high school senior class trip in 1984 – the first time I was legally able to buy booze at age 18 (the law at the time – it’s 21 now).
A vacation with a college friend in 1989, where we stayed at the twin-towered Hyatt Regency in Waikiki.
Another with a boyfriend four years later who turned out to writing postcards to his other girlfriend – yeah, a real gem.
One more with another guy three years after that in 1997 (the first guy I eventually married, the girls’ dad), followed by one a few months later (!) because of a family wedding. My wildly extravagant brother flew us over to Kauai for the day and took us on a circle-the-island helicopter ride. I don’t even want to think about how much it cost him for that little jaunt.
To Kauai again in 2000 for another family wedding, where it wouldn’t stop raining, even for the ceremony. Well, it was November, after all.
One with RAS in 2005, where we went scuba diving off Maui and drove to winding ribbon road to Hana. And finally, in 2009 with him and the girls.
Nine times in all. So why wouldn’t I consider living in the exquisite land of aloha?
It’s the very reason why for my frequent past trips. I want to retain Hawaii as a special place to visit, and I believe that living there would rob me of that magic. If I actually put down roots there, it would become part of the frequent drudgery of daily living, no matter how beautiful it is. Also, we only have very distant relatives by marriage who live in Honolulu. I think people need to have a strong ohana (family) base to establish lasting ties to the place. As most people know, it’s really expensive to maintain good standard of living on those islands. And I don’t think I could ever really get pidgin.
Having said all of that, I don’t know when I’ll get to return. It’s not that we couldn’t afford it. RAS just has no great desire to visit, and he’d rather go elsewhere, which I can understand – I definitely prefer going to places I haven’t been to yet over ones I have, but Hawaii is always the exception.
We are already thinking about next summer’s big vacay, and the leading candidates are a combined New York City/DC jaunt, with a possible side trip to coastal Delaware, or a cruise to Alaska. Not the Big Island, like I was secretly hoping for, and the only major Hawaiian island I haven’t been to yet. Granted, when you live on the West Coast, it’s quite easy to hop on a heavily discounted flight and take advantage of the frequent travel specials. It’s quite another story when you live east of the Rockies.
So I look back fondly upon that last trip to Oahu from four years ago, when the girls looked and actually were quite young:
Hawaii has a native tree called a banyan, which looks like its branches drip down from the top:
Everywhere you go on the islands, you’ll see people giving you the “shaka” sign with their hand. It means “hang loose,” or just take it easy.
The Pearl Harbor memorial at the USS Arizona is a sobering experience, one that I recommend going to if you only do one thing in Oahu. Of course, since the girls were only six and eight when we visited here, they didn’t quite get the significance of the place.
Snorkeling is a must-do, just because of the amazing sea life you’ll find. While Hanauma Bay is the most well-known, and a jewel of a place to see, it gets massively crowded. Try to go as early as possible.
One place that few people visit on Oahu but is one of my favorite places is the Byodo-In Temple. Located on the windward (eastern) side of the island, it’s a replica of Buddhist temple in Japan.
Of course, when you come to Hawaii, the majority of your time is spent on the beach:
Or you get ready to go to a luau, and get crazy beforehand:
We took a catamaran trip off the Waikiki coast…highly recommended!
And of course, a Hawaiian vacation isn’t complete without seeing a waterfall: