Mar 012007

Versiune în română

As many of my friends know already I’m not a beach person. I don’t dread going to the beach in fact I might even enjoy it a few times a year. But I tire quickly of life at the beach and most of the time I feel I would rather go hiking in the mountains than lying flat on a piece of sand. Cris loves the beach, of course. We often trade a day at the beach for a day of hiking which is good because we end up going both places, getting a taste of both experiences.

You could say we are lucky to live in California for part of the year, because California has both beaches and mountains just hours apart. But the beaches of northern California are not swimable, not without a wet suit and a lot of courage 😉 In my six years of living in San Francisco I was able to swin in the ocean only once; it happened in Santa Cruz, 2 hours south of San Francisco and my legs were paralyzed by the cold the entire time. I will probably have to pay the price for this in my old years 😉 And so we managed to find a place, 5-8 hours away from San Francisco that has both mountains and beaches, a place where one can swim without freezing. First time we went to Hawai’i it was almost by accident. I would probably not have chosen Hawai’i as a destination on my own. As I said, I’m not a beach person. I didn’t know much about the 50th US state and little that I knew had to do with images of perfect beaches. I had five days of vacation left out of the “generous” 15 days per year that my company was granting to its employees. The company’s policy didn’t allow for vacation days to be carried over to the following year. Plus I was not to leave US because I was still waiting for my working visa. Some friends were going to Kauai for a conference and this is how we ended up going to Hawaii in december of 2001. As soon as I started planing the trip I realized that Hawaii is much more than its beaches. I loved it in Kauai. Next came Maui in April 2005. This was when I discovered snorkeling and I started to like the beach a little bit more. After Maui Cris and I were talking that we probably won’t return to Hawai’i. Been there, done that, there are other places in the world worth seeing. What made me rethink this decision was the fact that I wanted to see the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on Big Island.

On Sunday morning we flew from San Francisco to Kona, Big Island. The plane landed in the middle of a lava field, a desolate landscape but like nothing I’ve ever seen. The Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway that we took to get to our hotel was also cut through this huge lava field produced by a eruption at the beginning of the 19th century. Across the lava field we saw “corral” grafittis, “Bradon loves Jenny” made of white stones. We arrived at the hotel at around 5 o’clock in the afternoon. There wasn’t much time left until dark so we found a place on a beach terrace and sipped Mai Tais while watching the sunset. Since it’s our third time in Hawaii the scenery feels familiar; but as Vincent Vega said in “Pulp Fiction: “It’s the little differences”, and these are what we’re going to look for on this trip. More to come on Big Island.

View on landing

Sunset on the beach

  3 Responses to “Hawai’i -Third time but different”

  1. I have lived in or near California two thirds of my life and I still have never been to Hawaii. I’m like you. I just can’t imagine why I would want to go there. I like to hike and explore and be out in the ‘normal’ world – far from resorts. If I am going to go that far away, I’d rather go to a foreign country – the Caribbean say – someplace that doesn’t feel like the place I just left.
    So far that’s been my rationale – but I’ll probably finally go and be blown away at all I’ve missed.

  2. I think I was lucky to come in contact with Hawaii by going to Kauai first because Kauai is the least touristic of the islands. There are a few resorts on Kauai too, but it’s not as bad as Oahu or Maui. I don’t like resorts either. I don’t mind being a tourist as opposed to trying really hard to be a “traveler”. I just don’t want to feel as yet another tourist and that is the feeling that I get if I stay at a 400 rooms resort as opposed to a 20 rooms hotel in town. In Maui there was this place where all the big resorts were located and it really looked like “Anywhere USA”. It could have been Iowa for that matter. Well, maybe without the palms 🙂 But even on Maui there are ways to stay away from the resorts and that’s what we did.

  3. People should read this.

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