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Hawai’i – Where the Pacific Begins.

September 14, 2011

Reflecting upon why I’m hanging out on a Pacific island far from home…

It started in the fall of 2008.  I was chasing work in Hawaii, and had to make several trips, spending a few months here in total.

At 22 degrees north latitude, Hawai’s is both similar to and different than Key West.  Similar in climate, albeit much more consistent with no cold fronts blowing in from that nasty mainland up north.  Different in that island culture is not an affectation – it is genuine.

It was Hawai’i where we were first exposed to polynesian culture. It’s an interesting mix, this – traditional culture living side by side with the western mainland world.

Unlike most Pacific islands, Hawai’i is relatively wealthy – and has been for over a century.

Sugar cane and pineapples (the Dole Pineapple empire originated here) brought wealth – and it’s been here ever since.

Hawai’ian islanders have been more successful at most in integrating cultures, including Japanese, Korean and Chinese.

Ever the fan of historical factoids, this fine structure is the only monarch’s palace on US soil – ‘Iolani Palace.  Cool, huh?

The uniter of the Hawai’ian islands, Kamhehameha, is revered to this day.

Although we stayed on Waikiki, we hung closer to Diamond Head than the concrete canyons.  If there’s a place that’s overbuilt on a pacific island, this is it.

The Moana Surfrider is over a century old, reminiscent of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan, or Raffles Hotel in Singapore.  Classy?  Yes.  Pretentious?  That, too.  Big destination for well-to-do Japanese.

We chose the New Otani instead. .  A boutique hotel under Diamond Head, it had the prettiest restaurant on the island, a little place called the Hau Tree – located dead on the beach.  They had Poi pancakes on the menu – poi being the flour made from the root of a member of the elephant ear family.  It’s purple, and for the Pheebs, absolute ambrosia.  This was one of the few hotel stays in our travels where she actually gained weight.

Much better than the main hotels down the road a bit – and about half the price.  We consider a stay here to be a must when visiting O’ahu.

The Pheebs’ favorite part?

We’d sleep with the door wall open, gentle breezes caressing us all night long.  The sun would come up over Diamond Head in spectacular fashion; transient art at its finest.

It was here we learned of a small island unto itself thousands of miles out in the Pacific – Guam.  Knowing it existed was enough; it became a point to navigate to in life’s grand adventure.

So now you know the rest of the story.  Hawai’i was where the adventure began.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2011 7:23 am

    The soft breezes that gently swept into the room haunt me. I loved them so. I dream about them and long for ways to recreate them. I love my little Key West house …. But breezes sweeping in and the sweet sounds of the waves are out of it’s reach.

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      September 15, 2011 3:32 am

      It was nice, but then again, anywhere is nice when you’re there, too.

  2. Pheebs permalink
    September 14, 2011 1:13 pm

    Somewhere over the rainbow:)

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      September 15, 2011 3:33 am

      I’m there, girlfriend!

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