How fabulous - home from vacation and the sun sets after 5pm now!
Hawai'i has not gotten old for me. Our third visit in six years - the last two were less than a year apart - and I still love the place. The islands suffer from an embarrassment of riches and it is so easy to enjoy them: to soak up the weather, the plant and marine life, the aloha.
- We got a great hook up for ridiculously inexpensive surfboards (thanks Chucky!) and spent three days flailing around in the surf. When it's warm and sunny and you occasionally stand up on a wave... now that's a little slice of paradise. When you do all this while whales are breaching in the distance behind you - it's beyond anything you think should happen. You should be able to tell, due to my lack of photoshop skills, that this is a real photo.
I feel like a bit of a new age dork saying this, but seriously, I think it's the aloha spirt that makes Hawai'i such an amazing place. And exactly what is aloha? I'm not sure I can explain it in words, but the vibe is abundantly clear when you're there. There was a book I browsed through while waiting for our departing flight from the Kona airport. Titled "What is this thing called Aloha," the little volume offered up the following:
Much like the scent of a flower, aloha emenates from the heart. Those who are centred in aloha cannot help but shower unending love and beauty on the world.
Aloha is found in silence, lived in peace and passed on in love.
Corny? Yup, but it seriously feels like that.
In terms of the nuts and bolts of the vacation, we spent 6 days with our friend Wade on the island of Maui and then 4 more days on Hawai'i (the big island) on our own. Weather was excellent (although we had "vog" on Hawai'i), the water was warm, the company fantastic. Here are the highlights:
- kayaking while spinner dolphins lept and played in front of us.
- snorkling in warm, clear water and seeing multiple turtles, more fish than I can name (although I do like the name of the official state fish: the humuhumunukunukuapua'a) and a moray eel!
- eating shave ice - usually coconut flavour. The best version was from a store in Hilo on the Big Island where the machine used to shave the ice looked to be vintage 1950s. This version of the delicious frozed treat came with cream poured on top of the ice rather than having ice cream placed underneath it. Fantastic!
- Ending each night on Maui in the hot tub with a piña colada in hand. Looking up at the night sky and being slightly confused at the constellations (we could only actually identify Orion with any confidence). It was an awesome place to chat and relax.
- Buying 6 gloriously ripe papayas for $2 (that's a mere $0.33 each!) at the Hilo Farmer's Market. I thought this was a good thing; Ben was practically ecstatic.
- buying 4 new bathing suits (I only went in for 1) and a beach cover-up for a mere $65 total. Oh America, how I love your bargain basement prices at stores like Ross. Even Hawai'i can seem cheap when you live in the Yukon!
- Cycling the road to Hana with Wade and Ben: such fun! Less fun was the fact that I only had 2 chain rings and I really could have used a third. And yes, I am the geek who forgot to take her helmet off for the photo.
- Driving home from Hilo after sunset listening to Lava 105FM and singing cheesy 70s rock tunes with my love. Boston and Meatloaf were high points :) "I poured it on and I poured it out/ I tried to show you just how much I care/ I'm tired of words and I'm too hoarse to shout/ But you've been cold, to me so long/ I'm crying icicles instead of tears..."
So suffice to say that we had a great time. Hawai'i was, once again, a place of rest and respite from the real world and I returned to work today feeling like I had been away forever. Can't wait for the next adventure.