November 21, 2012
Given that it was a longer trip than I usually take, I suppose it’s not surprising that I still have a few things to say about Hawaii. Of course, I’m very glad we went— I’ve wanted to pretty much since I saw the Brady Bunch there on tv when I was a kid, and over the years anyone I know who’s gone has come back saying how wonderful a place it was (one friend even bought a time share the first time he visited). So my expectations were high, and for the most part, they were met. Some things weren’t as impressive as I’d hoped, but many things were, and some things were delightful or at least interesting surprises.
Oddly, one of the most surprising things was something a quick Google would have told me: it gets dark early in Hawaii in late October/early November. It feels like summer, but it doesn’t stay light like summer. We had a grand vision of all the hikes we’d do in Volcanoes National Park but ran out of daylight in which to do them. Things also closed early, at least on the Big Island. We were eating dinner one night and watched the restaurant manager snuff out the torches lighting the sign out front promptly at 8 p.m., an hour when a lot of restaurants here are just getting into the busy part of service.
The most confusing thing was the streetlights on many parts of the Big Island, which were the same color as the yellow light in stoplights. This made it hard to tell at a glance if it was time to slow down for a red light.
I hadn’t expected to see so many feral cats and chickens. It makes sense now that I think about it, but I hadn’t thought about it before.
We’d read in so many different places about rental car vandalism and break-ins that we spent more time than usual planning out what to bring with us each day and more mental energy worrying about what was in the car and where we were parking, even though we’d paid for the insurance through the rental car company (another thing we don’t usually do).
I wish I’d known about coral safe sunscreen before I got sunburned. Of course, if I’d just worn the shirt I brought for sun protection in the water that first day we snorkeled, I would have been fine.
I want to go back. I want to see the other islands. I want to spend more time on the islands we visited this time. I don’t need to spend any more time in Waikiki, though, as that was just too crowded even though it wasn’t high season.
Now that I’ve been to each of the 50 states, at least briefly, it’s time to decide what set to collect next. Canadian provinces? U.S. Territories? Continents? I’m thankful I’m in a position to entertain ideas like these.