In the mid 1970’s the weekly viewing of Hawaii 5-0 was a ritual in our house. My Dad would come home from the pub especially. The oh-so-catchy theme tune burst onto our screens, and the room grew quiet in anticipation. This was our weekly Tropical Treat.
Once my parents actually made Hawaiian punch to enjoy during the programme. They even had the umbrella cocktail decorations (a la Only Fools and Horses). We lived on the edge in those days.
Me, I was at an age where I still wore gym knickers with pockets in them (why?), considered Basil Brush a comic genius and thought I’d never ever taste anything as delicious as garlic bread. It was the 1970’s; avocadoes were exotic, the kipper tie was king and it was also the decade I decided I was going to Hawaii. The land of breath-taking scenery, stunning beaches, garish shirts…and, of course, cute Danno.
I finally achieved this in the 1980’s. I was working in the travel industry, and I had in my sweaty palms a return ticket to Honolulu. I’d made it. It didn’t matter to me one iota that the airlines had given me a horrid routing (it was a cheap travel industry ticket and they’d routed me via everywhere) Nothing fazed me then. I had yet to evolve into my Tutting Forties.
Anyway, I landed in Honolulu Airport on the Island of Oahu. I bounded off the plane like Tigger and had a smile as big as Zippy. I’d made it. For two solid weeks I sat on the famous Waikiki beach. I didn’t move, unless it was to kick the sand off my towel. Gleefully, I would watch the hula dancers exercise under the swaying palms early in the morning; I’d gaze at the hunky surfers and laughed at the tourists trying having a go at the outrigger canoes. I just knew they were humming the Hawaii 5-0 theme tune in their head as they paddled along. Waikiki Beach was chewing gum for the eyes, and I loved it.
When I look back at my first holiday in Hawaii, I am truly horrified with myself. Don’t get me wrong Waikiki is fabulous. But, I didn’t venture out, I didn’t explore, it didn’t even occur to me there may be other parts of Oahu to discover, let alone other islands. It was like sitting on the steps of the Sydney Opera House and saying you’d seen Australia.
Over the past 15 years I have put this right and now travel to my slice of paradise at least every 2 years. It calls me back. So, what do I like the best on each Island? Sometimes it’s actually the simple things.
Here’s a few of my personal favourites-
Laying on my bed in a sumptuous hotel room and hearing the sound of the slack guitar drift through the shutters and the waves crash on the sand.
Hiring a jeep and driving up through the clouds to the top of Haleakala on Maui and gazing down into the crater and laughing at the other tourists who didn’t realise it’s mega cold up there and are still in shorts, shivering.
Scuba diving in Molokini, a submerged volcanic crater. This is my husbands choice, too adventurous for me. I like to sunbathe on deck and do the thumbs up to him every once in a while
Hula Dancers! I love them. They aren’t cheesy, they’re incredible. The fluid movements, the gentle music, the stunning backdrop. One male hula dancer had me close to tears in Maui. That’s not like me, trust me.
Waking up in the morning putting on the TV to watch the Hawaiian weather channel, and having a big cheery Hawaiian guy in a garish shirt telling me it’s gonna be sunny again in Paradise.
Volcano National Park on the Big Island and clambering in flip flops (don’t recommend) over the hardened lava flows. Enjoying the quietness here and the lunar landscape
Whale Watching! Season December to April…sitting on the beach and watching the whales breach. Still makes the hairs on my arm stand up.
Jumping in a helicopter and soaring above the valleys and waterfalls in Kauai. No wonder Jurassic Park was filmed here, it’s awesome.
These are just a handful, I could go on and on. Never accept a dinner invite from me, I love captive audiences, I can whip a projector out and start a slide show on Hawaii faster than you can blink.
I truly hope that this slightly – well, perhaps very – self-indulgent report has inspired you in some way to venture off to Hawaii. Please learn from my mistake in the gym- knicker wearing ‘70’s…go island hopping. Immerse yourself in the culture, revel in their colourful history, discover hidden beaches & valleys and mix with the friendly Polynesian people. You won’t regret it.