“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” St. Augustine
Roger and I recently completed our bucket list of traveling to all 50 U. S. states together. A recurring question is which state we like best. We’ve had good things to say about so many that the answer changes often. One of our state trips was special for several reasons. Our daughter and son-in-law invited us to travel with them and their young daughter to Hawaii.
One of my friends, who is childless, couldn’t understand why we took an eighteen-and-a-half-month-old child on a long overseas trip. She said that our granddaughter, Mia, wouldn’t remember the experience. Perplexed, I responded that her parents wouldn’t leave her with just anyone and they wouldn’t “board” her like a pet. Besides, they knew that Mia was a good traveler because she was used to us taking her on short field trips. This was to be her first long trip, and we hoped for the best. We got it!
The flight was indeed long. However, our daughter made sure that Mia was kept busy with books, toys, and snacks on the long flights.
On our arrival at the Honolulu Airport, on the Island of Oahu, we were greeted by warm sunshine, gorgeous scenery, and friendly people putting beautiful purple and white leis around our necks. The aroma of the flowers was also welcoming. Hawaii is known for its colorful and fragrant flowers such as the bright yellow hibiscus (the state flower), the fragrant pink plumeria, the bird of paradise, and the bright red anthurium.
When we arrived at the Marriot resort, we stopped to admire the outdoor fishpond full of large gold koi. Mia headed for the pond. “Quick, grab her,” I told my husband. “She loves water, and she wants to get in.”
My husband grabbed her just as she raised her foot to climb over the barrier. “Honey, you can’t get in there. The fish don’t need the company.”
As we walked further admiring the beautiful Hawaiian flowers, Mia saw a small insect on the walkway and stopped to watch it. “Ooh, look.” She taught us to notice everything large or small. The hotel was beautiful, comfortable, and spacious. The décor matched the Hawaiian scenery.
Outside the hotel, we enjoyed the sandy beach. While my husband and son-in-law went swimming, our daughter and I tried to let Mia enjoy the water. However, the tides were a little too strong to let her go all the way into the strong surf. My daughter and I had to hold her tightly to prevent her from being swept away. We eventually found a less intimidating area to allow her to enjoy getting into the water.
The next day we visited a pineapple plantation on the north side of Oahu. We toured the plantation and learned how they harvested the fruit. The fresh pineapples were delicious.
We returned to the resort for dinner. I can’t say enough great things about the delicious meals we enjoyed at the hotel and at various restaurants we visited during our stay. At one meal, our daughter was making a taco, putting cheese, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and meat onto a soft taco shell. Mia watched her mother intensely and grabbed a shell, put shredded cheese on it, rolled the shell the way she saw it done, and took a bite. Then she smiled knowing she did a good job.
The next day, we flew from Honolulu to Hawaii, called the Big Island, to explore Mauna Loa, the famous volcano. Before our flight took off, Mia wanted to see the steward giving safety instructions. She stood on the seat and listened quietly. She applauded him when he spoke bringing a smile to his face. Apparently, she thought he was giving a performance, and she wanted to applaud his effort.
Mauna Loa, considered the largest volcano on Earth, is one of the five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii. It last erupted in 1984. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory monitors that volcano. While we were there, one of the park rangers told us that some of the volcanic lava had migrated some distance the week before we got there.
While my husband, daughter, and son-in-law walked over some of the volcanic lava, Mia and I stood a distance away for safety reasons. After touring the area, we flew back to Oahu to enjoy dinner and relax.
The next day, we arrived at the Polynesian Cultural Center to visit the six Pacific Island villages and exhibits featuring an authentic luau followed by an award-winning show. At one of the villages, Mia easily learned to do the hula.
At the luau, we were introduced to a variety of Hawaiian meat, vegetarian, and salad dishes including several made with fresh pineapples. This was our second taste of this delicious fresh Hawaiian grown fruit. We sent some home to family members who said they enjoyed the taste so much better than canned pineapples.
The award-winning show followed the luau. Because the show would last past our granddaughter’s bedtime, we were prepared to take her back to the resort where we stayed. Mia enjoyed the hula dancing, singing, and the men twirling fire sticks. She laughed, clapped, danced and stayed awake during the entire show much to our surprise. Her father picked her up at the end of the show, and she fell asleep immediately. We spent a few more days enjoying the sights, smells, and beauty in that heavenly paradise.
Hawaii, our 50th state, is a beautiful place to visit. We plan to return in a couple of years with Mia, who is now a teenager, and her younger brother, Logan.
Is a visit to Hawaii on your bucket list or have you enjoyed that vacation in the past?