I landed in Hawaii on December 24, 2019, after a very long drive from New York, stopping in Minessotta. It was much the same as the drive from Bucharest to New York. Luckily there was TV on the plane and we rewatched all the Disney animated masterpieces, otherwise it would have been a pretty rough flight.
After the cold of New York and the snow that could be seen from the plane in Minessotta, Hawaii welcomed me with a smile, warmth and lots of greenery.
The 8 main Hawaiian islands are Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau and Kahoolawe, and I only ended up on Oahu, which is also home to Hawaii’s state capital, Honolulu. I stayed in the most popular area, Waikiki, where former Hawaiian kings used to relax.
Now Waikiki is the most popular resort, with a sandy beach surrounded by modern buildings, and where I chose to stay, to be very close to the beach, at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani. I highly recommend it as I loved everything here. From the room, the pool, the staff employed and even the food, everything exemplary, I have nothing to complain about.
I woke up at 6:00 am and ran to the beach, after a night in which I didn’t sleep much anyway because of the time difference, which is 13h compared to Romania. When it’s daytime for us, it’s nighttime for them and vice versa. I wanted to do so many things at the same time, see famous places on the island, eat sushi, hang out at the beach, swim with the dolphins, that I didn’t know what to do first. I took a deep breath and chose the first day to rest.
So I lounged all day on the beach in Waikiki, walked the boardwalk from one end to the other where you can see all the fancy shops in the world, and researched pretty much where I want to eat the week I’ll be there. The whole resort was dressed for the holidays, with an extremely beautiful tree decorated right in the centre. Equally beautiful was the one in the hotel where I was staying. Seeing the trees decorated everywhere, even on the beach, you were continually reminded of what time of year it is. In their absence, you completely forgot about time, clock and customs.
I want to tell you that for a week while I was there, I caught strong sun, rain, humidity, wind and more sun. From one minute to the next, it was a totally different state of the island. What shocked me was that nothing here lasts very long. If you’re sitting on the beach and it starts raining, no one gets ready to pack up and leave, as they would have back home, because in 5 minutes it’s blazing sun in the sky again, rainbows are the order of the day. There is a belief that when a rainbow appears, God binds the sky to the earth. If this saying is true, it means that there is no place more closely connected to the divine than this island. At least three times a day, the rainbow appears. Gorgeous!
If you don’t want so much humidity, choose to visit this island from May to October, when there is the least chance of rainfall.
The streets of Waikiki are full of Japanese and Americans. And it seems that they, like me, wanted to spend Christmas there because it was packed to the brim with people. Very crowded. On Christmas Eve, we couldn’t find a seat at any restaurant without standing in line and waiting for a table to be cleared. So if you’re as uninspired as me, try to book a table a few days in advance. Regardless it was Christmas, all the supermarkets and shops were open.
Everything was so full, that even for day trips anywhere, you needed to book a week in advance. As a result, I missed the chance to visit Pearl Harbour (the place where World War II began for Americans) at the expense of a trip to the marine park, where I was going to swim with dolphins.
Sea Life Park Hawaii is a true sanctuary for marine life, where you can see and interact with dolphins, sharks, sea lions, turtles, penguins and many other ocean creatures. They are also in the business of preserving life, releasing both turtles into the wild and dolphins every year.
Meeting the dolphins for me was extremely exciting. You’re not allowed to touch them while you’re in the water next to them, apart from the exercise for which I get rewarded. I know many of you will say that they should be free and not in captivity in a park, and I agree with you. However, the entire time I was there, all the animals seemed extremely well cared for and fed. I never felt for a second that they were being tormented there. In addition, they have many educational programs and posters for both young and old.
I read that the most beautiful beach on Oahu is in Hanauma Bay, where I chose to go the next day. Hanauma Bay is the first marine life conservation district in the state of Hawaii.
You should know that the drive to the bay was extremely busy, but I was able to enjoy a very nice view. On the left side of the road I could admire Diamond Head, a volcanic crater and one of the most important sights in the Hawaiian Islands, which measures around 760 meters high from sea level. It’s a must see, especially for hiking enthusiasts.
Once on the beach, I was impressed by the color of the water and the fact that people were bobbing around regardless of the fact that the weather outside was pretty fickle, two minutes it was raining, then the sun came out and so on.
The place is popular for snorkeling, where you can see a variety of colorful fish, and you can rent equipment from there for a few dollars.
In this magical place, time flies by. Everything is expensive, and the same principle applies as in New York when you’re at a restaurant. We tried an all you can eat, that restaurant where you pay a fixed amount of money, in this case it was $40 and you can eat until you explode.
It was well stocked with everything, a wide variety of seafood, sushi and other goodies. Also here, I drank sake for the first time in my life, which is a traditionally Japanese alcoholic drink made from fermented rice. To give you an idea of what it tastes like, it’s a lot like liquor.
I also tried the ribs at the Hard Rock – where I think it was the largest serving of any I’ve tried so far.
I ventured out and got myself all sorts of rice sandwiches, salads and lots of specific sweets from the supermarket, which I was very curious to see what they were like.
Everywhere there were smiling, friendly, beautiful people and everything was very clean.
Water sports are a way of life in Honolulu, so if you end up in Hawaii, don’t do as I did and definitely get an instructor to give you some surf lessons. Surfing is the most popular and enduring water sport here. Everywhere you’ll see both professional surfers and beginners eager to learn how to ride the ocean waves.
Keep in mind that a trip to Hawaii isn’t just about checking off yet another destination you had on your list. It’s about a profound spiritual experience. Every step of the way you’ll feel like you’ve learned another lesson, about kindness, compassion and love.
Aloha is the “spirit” that characterizes this island and at the same time is the form of greeting on arrival or departure. The essence of the word is: “God is in us. Live life with joy.” The positive word aloha contains everything we need to know to interact properly with nature and humanity. I love this philosophy and have tried as much as possible to educate myself in this belief.
The trip to Hawaii was a choice, which brought me many lessons of a spiritual nature. It made me understand better the lesson of patience, gratitude and joy.
On my last day there, as I was putting my feet in the water and saying goodbye to the island, a moment of thanks for the welcome from the heart of the Pacific Ocean, I was given the most beautiful sign that someone there had listened to me. A pebble in the shape of a heart hit my foot, which I gladly received.
Apart from the fact that the journey is extremely long and tiring, I would go back there tomorrow. I wish I still had the chance to visit the other islands of Hawaii. Maui is on the list for a future vacation there. If you have tips about it, please write me your recommendations.
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Travel, live, love…in the spirit of ALOHA.
See you soon,