Sunday, May 2, 2010

Oh, Oahu!

Kailua beach on the Windward Coast.
Surf shack on the North Shore.
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 (and 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 frond-y palms and heaped-up black lava boulders. O'ahu is definitely "the meeting place" but secluded beaches and places--like the ones pictured here--are easy to find.

Memories:
- Laughing (and worrying!) as Pat headed off into the raging Ala Moana Bowls with nothing but a surfboard and instructor Colleen Kudo of Nancy Emerson School of Surfing 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.
- Swimming out to the waterfall at Waimea Valley to find a rainbow--small enough to hold in your hand--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.
I'll be writing about them all on Examiner as soon as I've sorted through my thousands of pictures so if you're interested, subscribe, and you'll get the adventures as they unfold.

So many memories, some of them so surreal they could only happen in this American state: riding past farms along Kunia Road and watching in amazement as three Blackhawk helicopters came whup-whupping over the tulip trees; firing off Sig Sauers (Kay Scarpetta's weapon of choice) and Barettas (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) at the penthouse Royal Hawaiian Shooting Club in the heart of Waikiki (and not feeling too guilty about it because the real estate is owned by, and benefits, the Kamehameha Schools).

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.

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