Who Knew?

People ask me a lot about my opinion of Hawaii. I suppose I do know more about our 50th state that the average person.   By luck of the draw I had almost 25 programs to Hawaii during my years in the travel industry.  I didn’t travel on all these programs but I have been to the islands a whooping 17 times, most of those times to Maui. 

What I tell people about Hawaii is that every island has a different topography and a different personality.  I usually talk about the difference between Hawai’I (the Big Island) and Kauai.  The Big Island is the largest, the youngest and the most volcanic.  If you haven’t been to Hawaii, then the picture you probably have in your mind is Kauai.  It is much older and encompasses the lush green image we all carry around.

But I don’t talk about Oahu very much; Unbelievably with all my Hawaii programs, I never had a program on Oahu.  No particular reason, just luck of the draw.  This means that almost every time I have been on Oahu, it’s because I’m in the Honolulu Airport, transferring to an interisland flight.  While my brain knows what Honolulu and Oahu are about, it was still a surprise to be there for three days.

We stayed in the Waikiki area because we didn’t have a car so needed to be in a walkable part of the city.  This is part of Oahu that has earned the name “concrete jungle”.  It is block after block of tall buildings, very high end shops and restaurants and traffic.  It could almost be any big city IF you can ignore the beautiful blue sky and warm weather as well as the folks on the streets.  It’s an amazing amalgam of business folks, obvious tourist (YA and I) and the huge number of surfers and counter-culture types.  Waikiki is right on the water so you can walk along the main thoroughfare and look right onto sandy beach and blue waters.  There is even a zoo (who knew)… we were actually able to walk there as well. 

One fun thing we saw in Honolulu that I’ve never seen on other islands – people putting leis on statues.  Most of the statues along Kalakaua Avenue and Beach each have at least 10-12 leis placed around their necks; all the leis are in various stages of decay, so it’s clear that people are adding them, not some program of prettification by the city.

So now I have good experience to describe Oahu and Honolulu the next time someone asked me about the islands.

Tell me about a place that surprised you.

32 thoughts on “Who Knew?”

  1. I am surprised right now that my work has been shut down for a third day. The blizzard has stalled in place, and isn’t expected to move out of the area until tonight.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was just thinking about the work from home issue last night. YA has worked from home four days this week Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Monday and Friday being the regular work from home days and then Tuesday and Thursday were snow days. This is such a nice change from the olden days when we practically had to have a foot of snow on the ground to get a snow day since a snow day before laptops and Internet meant closing the company for the day. So much easier and safer for everyone these days. At least if you have the option.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    It surprised me when I was in Rome at the amount of graffiti there was everywhere. I suppose it is the 21st Century version of cave drawings—hieroglyphic-like, simple messages about power, tribal dominance, and sexual prowess, on the walls of ancient dwellings. But I was not expecting it among the old buildings and winding Renaissance-era streets. But then I never expected graffiti would decorate trains here, either. I must admit that there are times I find graffiti fascinating and decorative. I find myself thinking that the taggers and rappers of today are the visual artists and poets of yesterday. Twitter is the Town Crier of olde. Part of the reason I like travel is because it prompt the thoughts that allow me to synthesize information about our world.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Fascinating. I never made a connection between cave drawings and graffiti and now I don’t think I’ll be able to get it out of my head. So do you think millennia ago the older people shook their head and went tsk tsk at the younger generation defacing the walls of the caves?

      Liked by 4 people

  3. My parents took us to Hawaii when I was fifteen and my brothers younger. I’ve never had an opportunity to go back but I remember the trip so well. We celebrated Christmas there that year so we left a wintery landscape, stayed for two weeks (!) and then returned after January 1 to a frozen, bleak, depressing landscape. We drove home and had to return to school. I remember returning home as my very first experience of feeling depressed.

    Hawaii amazed me every day and I really loved it. The air smelled like flowers when we stepped out of the airport. There were leis everywhere. It was 1974 and puka shell necklaces were very popular. Those were everywhere too. I still have two or three of them. I loved how it rained everyday around noon, then cleared off again. I loved the smells, the marketplaces, swimming, body surfing at Makaha, the beaches, the fleeting romance I had with a Canadian boy, all of it! I remember the sun and the warm sand and the water. My brothers and I were all good swimmers and we swam as much as possible. I wore my bathing suit most of the time. It was heaven!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. A New York Times food writer recently visited Fargo and was surprised by the wonderful restaurants there. She also said BernBaums in Fargo was the best Deli she had ever been to.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Things I stumbled upon like Robert Frost’s farm and Lick Observatory. Things I missed stumbling upon even though I was right there like Johnstown Pennsylvania and friends in San Jose area. Oh, all the other things in Balboa Park. How often no matter where you are you encounter people you know. The awful foods people will treasure as a local food like horseshoe in Springfield IL. (Think I got that right.) How disinterested my Seattle area relatives were in seeing me. How much I loved New Mexico, every corner of it, and I was in every corner.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. The first time we went to Arizona I was surprised how much we liked it down there.

    The long escalators in DC were surprising and fun.

    I’m watching movies today. Finally slept better last night.
    Watched ‘A River Runs Through It’ and now it’s ‘12 Angry Men’.

    Kelly and Bailey are out blading snow. We got about 6”.

    I’m really liking the ice machine. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. “A River Runs through It” is such a soulful movie, one of the few that didn’t lose in the translation from the printed page to the big screen.

      Glad you’re liking your ice machine. For some reason I’m thinking it would be perfect if it served up some soft ice – Dairy Queen style – on the side, though I doubt that it does.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. No, it doesn’t do that. I’ll suggest they start offering it as an option!

        I do appreciate the play on words as it’s a ‘Nice’ brand, ice machine. (Really it’s a “NICE Cold + Compression Therapy System” and they call it the NICE 1.)

        Liked by 3 people

  7. The Big Island surprised me in how far from the urban center we had to go to find some wide open spaces. We finally did when doing a drive around the island’s perimeter, and a little town with a Salvation Army store where we found a copy of Michener’s Hawaii. The cashier was a man who had come for a visit a couple decades earlier and never gone home – just had his kids pack up his essentials and send them to Big Island…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There aren’t all that many roads on the big island and they tend to stick to the populated places. So the open spaces are actually closer than you think!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. There were a lot of travel warnings, but there always seem to be a lot of travel warnings for Perú, so maybe too many people ignore them.


  8. San Antonio was surprising to me. I had sort of assumed that the Alamo would be out in a rural area, sandy soil and tumbleweeds, but it was right in the middle of town, with a Woolworth’s across the street. And the river was right outside the hotel – not a wide river like the Mississippi, but just a narrow channel of water between the walkways. Very different from what I’m used to.

    Liked by 1 person

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