I could go on for an hour about how much I loved Waikiki, Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona memorial, the Mai Tais at Dukes, a vast array of rainbows, how much fun we had on the trolleys around town, and the amazing, I cannot stress this enough, the amazing shopping available (not one but two Chanel boutiques less than 2 miles from each other!), but we didn’t spend all of our time there. We headed west to the resort area of Ko` Olina where we stayed at the JW Marriot Ilhilani. We saw the shell going up next door for the Disney Aulani which even then, looked phenomenal. Once there, we headed to our first ever Luau at Paradise Cove. What an experience. I thought it would be kitschy, but it wasn’t at all. It was an absolute blast, and it was there that I got to see the most amazing sunset.
The next day we headed into the surf towns of the North Shore, passing through the pineapple plantations and mountains along the way. They say Ireland is green, but I say Hawaii gives it a run for its money. We stopped for shave ice at Matsumoto in Haleiwa town, we toured Turtle Bay resort and saw where they filmed numerous movies and television shows: Lost, Pirates of the Caribbean and Forgetting Sarah Marshall just to name a few.
Excuse me, can you pick-up those names I dropped?
Oh and I forgot to mention. I drove this entire time. Yep, let it sink in. I was responsible and drove an entire group of us around Hawaii with nothing other than my iPhone to guide us, and we didn’t get lost once. Ok, well once I got lost trying to get gas, but that was entirely the fault of my co-pilot (sorry, Sarah) and I, and in no way the fault of the state of Hawaii, or the lovely island of Oahu.
I spent five of the most amazing days of my life in Hawaii. I will never forget the smell of an orchid lei. I regret not hiking Diamond Head. I developed such a sense of gratitude and reverence to those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor. I’d love to have another Mai Tai on the beach. I wish I would have stopped the car to see the sea turtles crawling out of the ocean on our way to Haleiwa. And I can only imagine what the other islands have in store for me.
I spend my days in an office, at a desk in the ‘burbs outside of Philadelphia, staring longingly at a picture taken at our luau and all I can say is, I must go back. Like London or the whale sharks, there’s just some incredible force that calls me back.
Hawaii changed me in ways I never anticipated, and if you have the chance to get there, I promise, it’ll do the same to you, whether you expect it or not, you won’t be the same. You’ll need to go back.