Oh, Oahu!

Kailua Beach on the Windward Coast.

Kailua Beach on the Windward Coast of Oahu, Hawaii.

Finally, Hawaii. We’re kicking ourselves for not having gone before. Why didn’t we? Too expensive? Not in April. Too far? Not bad if you fly during the day (jetlag doesn’t seem to happen flying east).

With only a week we stayed on O’ahu, wanting the quintessential Hawaiian vacay, headquartered in touristy–and, yes, gorgeous–Waikiki.  The Hawaiian Islands are the most remote inhabited islands on earth and it definitely feels as though you’ve landed a world away in the rare sweetness of the people, their language and music, all amid a “Lost World”-type landscape of giant ferns and palms and heaped-up black lava boulders. O’ahu is definitely “the meeting place” but secluded beaches are easy to find.

Memories:

  • Laughing (and worrying!) as Pat headed off into the raging Ala Moana Bowls with nothing but a surfboard and Colleen Kudo of Nancy Emerson Surf Clinics to make sure he made it back.
  • Chasing spirit orbs (and running from the dreaded Night Marchers) on a pitch-black hillside above Honolulu with Joe Punohu of Oahu Ghost Tours.
  • Zipping around Honolulu with Hawaii Food Tours on a fascinating and filling tour of local hole-in-the-wall eateries.
  • Swimming out to a waterfall at Waimea Valley to find a tiny rainbow shimmering at its base.
  • Spotting hundreds of dolphins from the deck of the Hoku Nai’a,
  • Following up a pineapple/sugarcane/kukui nut scrub with with lomilomi massage (it’s done with a mango branch and feels a lot like being rolled out with a rolling pin) at the Kahala Spa,
  • Listening to the Brothers Cazimero live at Chai’s Island Bistro in the shadow of the Deco-era Aloha Tower,
  • Buying a tiki direct from the hands of carver Maile Niu.
Surf shack on the North Shore.

Surf shack on the North Shore, Oahu.

Some memories so surreal they could only happen in this tropical American state: like driving past farms on Kunia Road and watching in amazement as three Blackhawk helicopters came whup-whupping over the tulip trees.

Sometimes strange but still the moonlit paradise of myth and imagination, Hawaii is the only place I’ve ever cried on the shuttle when it was time to leave.

Pick your own perfect island at Go Hawaii, official website of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Yellow Hibiscus

 

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