I fully did not expect Hawaii to reach into my heart, but she has.
I expected overpriced touristy stuff among other things. Well, yeah, sure, there’s all the token Polynesian bric-a-brac, the little hula girl who sits on your car dashboard with “Aloha!” imprinted on her plastic midriff. She can really jiggle her stuff when you have to panic stop.
So, yeah, sure, totally expected all that.
What I didn’t expect was the way the locals were quick to smile, happy to take a moment to chat or give directions. Genuinely warm & giving individuals who love where they live and are rightfully proud of their lifestyle & culture. Happy to share coffee with a tourist like me & tell me where to get the best local sushi, the best captain & boat for a day’s fishing, the one “must see” attraction (it was unanimous – the Arizona memorial).
There are so many more things to do and see.
Top three things I learned about Hawaii:
#1. When you hear Aloha (it’s basically a greeting, means both hello and goodbye) and Mahalo (means thank you) all the time you can be forgiven if you think it’s all for show. Well, maybe it is, but the locales do use those words between themselves, so maybe it’s not all a put-on.
#2. Oahu is crowded and busy. But tourism is the economic foundation of the state. There are plenty of ways and places off the tourist track. Vast areas of all the islands are totally virgin, so if isolation is your thing, you have plenty of those choices too.
#3. It’s bad luck to bring bananas on a fishing boat. Nobody know why, or if they do they’re not saying.
One last bit regarding yesterday’s camera loss. As I was retracing my steps in that fruitless search, everybody that I contacted about it – and I do mean everyone – went out of their way to help. Rosa, the waitress at Denny’s let me use her personal cellphone. Brian at Roberts Tours took time to call his office staff to check their lost and found. The housekeeping staff at the hotel went way above the call of duty to help me out. And the one-armed guy (yes, really, though I didn’t know that until he started to use his cellphone) who did a brief online search to get the address of a restaurant.
None of them had to do anything. But they did, and were happy to do so.
So, if for no other reason than that, I will be back to Hawaii. And I shall miss her between visits.