David Godley’s travel report from Hawaii

I like from time to time to share reports, articles, and viewpoints from a wide range of visitors to the Preserved stories website. Such items do not necessarily represent my own views, and do not serve as my endorsement of particular viewpoints.

I like to post such reports because I like the Preserved Stories to feature a wide range of viewpoints. As well, I often follow up by doing research – for example by consulting Toronto Public Library resources – about topics that people write about in such reports, or topics that people write about in their comments to blog posts at this website.

Long Branch and Mississauga

One of the things that I’ve learned is that former residents of Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey) now live in urban and rural settings across Canada. As well, residents of Long Branch enjoy travelling – to Mississauga and to Hawaii, and elsewhere, as the case may be.

It takes some physical and especially mental effort to update my website but it’s well worth it. I have the motivation and I’ve had plenty of practice. Like many people, I have many projects on the ago aside from a website. It’s great to have the opportunity to feature reports from individuals in addition to myself. Such reports ensure that the website serves as a valuable community resource.

The following report is from David Godley regarding his visit to Hawaii:

 

Hawaii O’One Four

David Godley photos

The tropical islands are one of the few places that live up to the tourist brochure hype. They also contain the wettest place on earth, deserts and the most active volcano.

Forget going for architecture; go for the dramatic mountains rising from the sea, covered in verdant tropical foliage with exotic trees, fruit, flowers and birds and beaches. Hollywood has recognised the visual potential with numerous movies and TV series based there.

Hawaii has more symbols and icons than most places. It is the rainbow state and the capital of microclimates. Its state flower is the yellow hibiscus and the state bird the native Nene goose, a distant relative of the Canada goose.

The sea yields exciting viewing with humpback whales breeding 2000 miles south of the wintering quarters in Alaska and spinner dolphins which, as their name suggests, spin round when jumping out of the water.

Reef trigger fish

Then there is the colourful reef trigger fish which looks a bit like the South African flag – in Hawaiian the humuhumunukunukuapua’a fish, which rolls easily off the tongue once you have had an hour’s practice. Hawaiin only has 12 letters including 5 vowels. A thirteenth letter, the silent ‘ is sometimes counted.

Everyone associates the islands with pineapples (growing was started by Bob Dole’s family) although like the sugar plantations it is no longer economic to produce them. Pineapples are cheaper in No Frills, Long Branch than Honolulu. Macadamia nuts are a little cheaper in Hawaii.

Waikiki Beach

And of course there is surfing at Waikiki Beach and throughout the islands, hula women and nose blowing pipemen. Hawaii now has produced a president and there is an “Obama Trail” where you can see the houses he lived in and schools from which he graduated.

I expect his birth certificate is on display. Many Republicans think he is a Muslim Kenyan.

David Godley photos

The original settlers from 4th century AD were Tahitians and Marquesans who rafted 2000 miles to find richer lands. They clearly demonstrated absolute faith in their Gods. Even Captain Cook, who was killed on his second trip to Hawaii, nearly missed them.

Hawaii was a kind of honourary member of the British commonwealth and still has a union jack in its upper left corner and 8 horizontal stripes for each of the main islands.

Somehow the United States took over, incarcerating Queen Lili’uokalani in her palace in 1893. (I will have to find a British book to discover how) A hundred years later Bill Clinton apologised for this although forgot to restore the monarchy. Eventually Hawaii became the fiftieth state in 1959.

It is a progressive part of the States with strong no smoking laws, good medicare, limits on building heights and no billboards. There is no local government, only State and County administrations.

The denizens are “lei’d” back with their hang loose sign of extended thumb and pinky. No one sounds their car horn in anger; they are on island time. Visitors are adorned with live orchid leis or shell necklaces.

Floating hotel

We circumnavigated the islands on a floating hotel with 2400 friends we had not met. Norwegian is the only cruise line with sailings from Hawaii. All the others travel 2500 miles from the mainland. Fortunately it is our favourite cruise line with excellent and abundant food available one of the highest decks with superb views; plenty of opportunity to drink in the sun and watch sunsets. There are a great number of places to eat but none have specific times.

The mostly American guests were hoping to replace a polar vortex with a solar vortex. Hawaii’s high season is North America’s winter so you can expect showers or even rain. The best weather is the fall.

There were a sprinkling of Aussies escaping the heat; outside courts at the Australian tennis open in Melbourne were closed. We are used to only curled up sandwiches for sale on planes but some Aussies we met had not realised there would be no food on board Qantas Minus for their 10 hour flight. I was excited to learn that one of them had worked in Worksop.

David Godley photos

Oahu is the main island and although small has nearly one million people with Honolulu as the State capital. It is of course the site of Pearl Harbour and Diamond Head. This is the main surfing island. Maui is also small and the main resort island.

Mauna Kea

Big island, also known as Hawaii Island, contains volcano Mauna Kea which rises straight from the sea floor; some geologists classify it as the world’s tallest mountain for this reason. This is the Kona coffee island and the best place to see sea turtles close up (outside the power plant in Hilo). It has the only International airport with no international flights since tourists now arrive at more personable Kona on the leeward side of the island. Kawai in the northern extremity is the garden island with the wildest scenery and waterfalls and is the most ancient of all the islands.

We became quite used to decadence on board. The only minor stress was that Norwegian staff were so friendly and upbeat that it was difficult to appear as happy as they wished us to be.

David Godley, January 2014

[This concludes the report by David Godley]

 

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