Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Aloha

Aloha is a greeting in the Hawaiian language that means affection, peace, compassion and mercy. What a jam-packed meaningful greeting! That's like "Hey, y'all" on steroids.


On our recent trip to Hawaii--a first for me--we found that the people embodied all those qualities. Peaceful and kind, they made us feel welcome. And they don't seem stressed like people on the mainland. They seem to live the sentiment of one of my favorite bumper stickers: "Slow down, this is not the mainland."

No wonder we met so many transplants who went there for a visit and never left.

Crystal blue water, giant waves and brilliant sunsets came to life there, just as they look in the photographs, only better. (I'm sharing my photos with you here.) Our friends (and traveling companions) who have visited Hawaii many times treated us to overlooks, gardens, and out-of-the-way places we would never have found on our own.  For us, that's the gem in going somewhere new: spend very little time on the tourist hype and much time on the real place.


Kaneohe  Bay
I enjoy comparing beaches and lifestyles on different shores. We had no problem settling down on Waikiki Beach or drinking tropical drinks with names like "Lava Flow," watching Hawaiian dancers, or climbing to the top of Diamond Head. The life was at once familiar yet different.  The beach was a little wider, the hill a little steeper and there were many more Japanese tourists than we have here. And I loved it all.

















The respect shown for those who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor was chilling and awesome. Just knowing the sailors who went down in the USS Arizona are still there gave me goose bumps.

We happened to visit the USS Missouri on her birthday and came upon bands playing, flags flying and tours going on. It's the ship on which the surrender was signed in Tokyo Bay to end WWII. She is docked in Hawaii now with the documents and other historic markers there for all to see. And she has many stories to tell. For example, a kamikaze pilot who crashed into the ship was even given a proper military sea burial during WWII. The guys spent hours constructing a Japanese flag to cover him with. He was respected for doing his job, even though he was the enemy.
Sunset Beach

At Waimea Bay
But some of the best treats were the private beach at Waimea Bay, the dive-looking food truck court that served scrumptious fresh local shrimp, surfing competition that we happened upon at Sunset Beach in Haleiwa, the technicolor water of Kaneohe Bay, the dancing dragons on Chinese New Year, cacao beans drying at Old Sugar Mill in Waialua and getting kicked off the film set of Hawaii Five-O on Waikiki Beach. Sorry--I didn't realize what I'd wandered into--just wondering why a helicopter was on the beach.
Hawaii Five-O




Chinese New Year











Diamond Head


View from Diamond Head
Fresh shrimp from the food truck
From Diamond Head

























So many shores and so little time. I'm glad I got to this one. Hope you do too.

All photos copyright Susan E. Hance
































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