Sunday, July 1, 2018

A Dream Realized (Part One)

My business always took me to Europe, so, vacations were usually in Switzerland which I loved, and I was not much of a beach person… too much sand!  Things changed when we had children and they had an institution called spring vacation.  Then we started to explore the Caribbean. After the kids grew up because of my wife’s work and mine we rarely took this kind of vacation.

I had always heard of people going to Hawaii for holiday but from New York it seemed terribly far away while the Caribbean was a relatively short trip.  Then when we started to live in the Southwest and it seemed everyone and their neighbor had been to Hawaii. Now, at the age of 73 my wife and son, Hunter, planned a “surprise“ trip for me and Hunter’s fiancĂ©e, Mallory, to the island of Kauai. 

Truth be known, I wasn’t even sure exactly where Hawaii was, other than somewhere in the South Pacific. So, a few days before we left I looked at the globe in my office and it sank in that actually it is in the Central Pacific. Geographically it has nothing to do with the United States but it was made a U.S. territory in 1898.  A referendum in 1959, where more that 93% of the voters opted for statehood, and it became the 50th state. The huge book by James Michener called “Hawaii” (that I am listening to on my I-phone) was published in that year.

There are 8 or 9 islands that make up Hawaii, depending who is counting since one of them seems to be extremely small.  Volcanic activity created the islands and the minerals in the lava and ash combine with a wet climate make a lush paradise.  We are not staying on the main island, where the volcano has been erupting recently, but on Kauai, where they actually had almost 50 inches of rain in a single 24-hour period this past April.  Yes, you read correctly, truly incredible and parts of the island are still closed for repairs.  There is so much jungle all around us we are aware that the habitable parts of the island have been carved out of the rain forest.

Though I know there are others, the only wild animals we have seen so far are fowl.  Roosters, hens and a Hawaiian goose, an endangered species known locally as the Nene Goose.

With so many beaches this is obviously a children’s paradise.  Never seen so many little ones running around the many condominiums rented out to house them!  Our accommodations have a picture postcard view of Hanalei Bay.

I am sure no trip to Hawaii would be complete without a Luau so we booked one.  We did not have a great deal of hope for one that billed itself as, “We Put the Wow in Luau” but miraculously it lived up to that.  When our bus arrived we were greeted by a Hawaiian drummer.

There was a huge edifice which was built like an open tent seating over a thousand people at a great many tables.  Before we sat down we visited a small craft fair outside where I bought a great souvenir, a fountain pen made of Koa wood, unique in the mountains of Hawaii.

Then there was a hula demonstration and lesson for the younger folk and others!  During the meal of pulled pork and all the fixings various dances were performed by the professionals. After pork and all the plates were cleared, we were treated to a one-hour production on the early history of Hawaii, told mainly through dance.  It was extremely well produced and performed by a company made up entirely of native Hawaiians.  Naturally the most impressive fire dancers were left for the grand finale!

We have only been here three days including our arrival day.  There is definitely another Missive left in this trip. ‘Till next week….

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