It seems that we never get tired of visiting our favorite islands, Hawaiian style. We will visit both Kauai, our favorite, and Maui, where our timeshare is located. We are meeting my brother, Bob, and his wife, Laura on Maui, along with my cousins (Gayle and Nick), also from Clovis. We are planning a grand birthday for the Feb. 20th birthdays, Sheri and Bob.
And no matter how many times we visit the islands, we never get bored with the gracious island vibe and activities. It is always nice to get out of the colder mainland winters and stifling fog, and also transform our own attitude to the “island” attitude. We also have dear friends to visit, our favorite places to eat and play, and mostly, just relax.
But I will spare you all of the boring statistics, like population, and geography. Politics, and culture. Scuba and sea kayaking. For those of you on the east coast, eat your hearts out, since it is only a five hour flight from LA or SF (Oakland) to Hawaii. You east coast people get to have Bermuda or the Caribbean islands.
Perhaps the most difficult part of this trip is leaving our energetic puppy, Lexi back home for the first time. Though she will be well cared for at Elaine’s Pet Resort, I can’t help but feel like we are abandoning our little baby. I have grown so attached to her. I have never had a puppy of my own. As a kid, my sister or brother always had puppy control. And our two dogs, Buddy and Beau, were rescues, both males and about 9 months old when we adopted them. Whoda thought?
Many years ago, we entertained the wild thought of moving here. I got a job offer, and thought living and retiring here would be affordable. I was living in a fantasy world thinking that! But, it is still one of the best places to visit in the entire world. I never got the chance to experience island fever!
The long flight to Hawaii is full of the giddiest people on earth. It reminds me of the short one hour flight to Vegas, just a little less intense. Everyone is in the party mood. The island décor in the plane, the food, the colorful and flowery staff uniforms, and the hula music in the background all create the vibe.
It has been two years since our last visit. Whereby we would sometimes visit twice yearly, the islands have not lost their tropical luster. Things just happen, like moving from the Bay Area, moving into a smaller home, and dealing with three dogs in various stages of their lives. Maybe this will be the re-start of regular yearly visits! It is just what the doctor ordered.
When we first started visiting Hawaii in the 70s and 80s, most of the tourists were from Japan. But the collapse of the yen and the weak Japanese economy translates to more Chinese and Koreans visiting now. The average Japanese tourist (read that as honeymooners) stays an average of only 5 days. Tourists from the other Asian countries stay an average of 9.5 days, and spend 25% more!
Canada, China and Australia now constitute the fastest growing tourist numbers. Fewer cruise ships stop in Hawaii now as well. But for those of us from California, and western states, the airfare runs only about $400, thanks to competition from the major airlines. And it is only a 4.5 to 5 hour flight, depending on the trade winds.
While I was in college, we played the Hawaii All Stars baseball team. They featured two well known players. One, Derek Tatsuno, was drafted high second round by the San Diego Padres) in the major league draft. The other, a fading star, the only man to pitch a perfect game in the World Series, Gilroy’s own Don Larsen. He was well past his prime, but a nice man, cordial to all of us.
I thought it rather strange when Hawaii became our 50th state on August 21, 1959. It was President Dwight Eisenhower who signed the bill that dissolved the Territory of Hawaii, and established the State of Hawaii as our 50th state. It was not connected to the mainland! But that was a good thing.
Hawaii is our only state with a tropical rainforest. And Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu is the only royal palace in the U.S. In fact, Iolani had electric lights a full four years before the White House!
Most people think Hawaii consists only of eight major islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii, Lanai, Molokai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe. But the total number of islands is a whopping 132! I have been to five so far. How many have you visited?
My favorite island is Kauai for several reasons. First, we have dear friends, Rey and Corinne who live there. And second, lots of things to do without too many tourists! This includes nice places to eat, beautiful golf courses, cycling paths, manageable traffic, and beautiful scenery.
But Maui is certainly a strong second. In fact, we will visit both this trip. Kauai, mostly to see our friends, and Maui, where we have our Marriott timeshare. My brother Bob, and his wife Laura will join us. It is always more fun when they come along with us.
We plan to hit all of our favorite spots, like Aloha Mixed Plate, Sam Sato’s, Kula Bistro, Hailemaile General Store, Star Noodle, Sansei, and Monkey Pod. Add in some golf, cycling, beach time, pool time, shopping, along with a big two bedroom, ocean view condo.