Wanted to share a bit about our vacation in Hawaii. I feel a little guilty posting this, since you didn’t get to go. But Hawaii is one of the most beautiful and interesting places on earth. If you think Hawaii is just about beaches and Mai Tais, you’d be wrong!
I have admit, I’ve been feeling sad since we got back. Normally, after a long trip I’m really glad to get back home, to our cats and my garden and our comfy bed and clean clothes and food I don’t have to order. This time, not so much. Okay, I’m sleepy and jet-lagged, but that’s not it entirely. I said to my husband last night, this will sound really cheesy, but I feel like I left a piece of myself there. And instead of laughing he just nodded.
What makes Hawaii so special? The constant but ever-changing physical beauty, for one thing. But the other is the kindness of the people there and the spirit of the Hawaiian culture (and the blending of different cultures). I know, we’re tourists, and we’re not seeing real people or living real life. But we’ve traveled enough to see that every place has a different feel to it. And the “aloha” spirit is a reminder to me that I can do better — I can slow down, pay more attention to the world and others, and be less focused on time and deadlines.
Our trip breaks down this way. First, Waikiki and Pearl Harbor. While the beach was beautiful, Waikiki is touristy, crowded and full of chain stores I can shop in at home. But Pearl Harbor, on the other hand, was amazing – I learned so much about what happened that day, what led up to it and what followed. These pics of the memorial are one very small part of what we saw that day. There was a big military convention in town that day, so my husband got to see battleships, aircraft carriers, and who knows what all. He was in heaven.
Next, we spent six days in Kauai with my husband’s family (parents, sister and brother-in-law, niece and nephew, aunt and uncle). We celebrated my in-laws’ 50th anniversary and our own 15th. We stayed near Poipu Beach, a favorite vacation spot for the family. This part of the week was pretty low-key, but we did get some amazing views from Waimea Canyon, saw dolphins on a snorkeling trip to the Na Pali Coast, and toured a Botanical Garden. The unexpected highlight for me was going to the Friday Night Art Walk in Hanapepe. I loved it because it’s one of the few things we did that felt local. We wandered around, ate from food trucks, and shopped from local artists. I even ran into the captain from our snorkeling trip, whose wife owned one of the galleries. And I wandered into a local used bookstore and found two old Oz books.
Then we flew to Hawaii (The Big Island). First part of the trip was Hilo and Kilauea Volcano, on the eastern side of the island. Hilo is a pretty small town and was mostly closed on the Sunday-Monday we were there. Our hotel was really cool, it had a huge private waterfall right outside our room. Seriously. Our “volcano day” was absolutely amazing and a real high point of the trip. We saw molten lava spewing from a crater (from an observatory point) and then we hiked 4 miles through tropical forest and across a former volcano crater. Then we drove to the coast and saw how older and more recent lava flows are reshaping the coast all the time. If you find geology at all interesting, this place was fascinating.
The next day, we drove up the northern part of the island and saw beautiful sights, ate amazing food from a roadside farm stand (have I mentioned how good the food in Hawaii was?), drove through ranch country, and ended up at our final destination, a resort in Kohala, on the West Coast.
This was our “vacation from vacation”, and one of the few times we got some real relaxation in. This part wasn’t cheap (giving me a fair amount of guilt) but I will cherish those days, so it was worth it. Think of the resort in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and you’ll get a pretty good idea. Yeah, we’re now “those people.”
This part of our trip had plenty of beach time, sunsets, and Mai Tais, but we also snorkeled, toured a Kona coffee plantation, and went on a cultural/historical walk and saw petroglyphs. All good.
On our last day, Tropical Storm Darby breezed in, and we got nervous about flights being canceled, so we opted for an earlier flight to get ahead of the storm. We lost our last night in paradise, but bought ourselves an extra half day of recovery time at home before going back to work.
Kind of a sad way to leave. Who knew it would be so hard to come home?