Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Aloha from Hawaii

Aloha, my friends, from slap in the middle of the Pacific, on the beautiful island of Maui, in the Hawaiian chain of islands.

Aloha, my friends

We have been here now a week after our two-month stay in New Zealand. I think we both had mixed feelings about leaving NZ. I had got to know Wellington (the coolest little capital in the world) reasonably well, and it was a great opportunity for us to spend some extended time with the kids and our granddaughter Livi, but it was time to go and there is always good old Skype to keep in touch.
Wellington, "The Coolest Little Capital In The World"
It may be relatively small, but there always seemed to something good going on in Wellington and the weekend before we left saw the city the host of a huge international rugby 7s tournament. Now, it is hardly a secret that all Kiwis are crazy about rugby, but for this tournament everybody, and I do mean everybody, reverts to fancy dress for the tournament. It was quite a sight to be by the waterfront in the city for the two days of the tournament as groups of Roman soldiers, boxes of matches, Super Marios, Fred Flinstones and NY cops sauntered by.

A group of Snow Whites get ready for the Rugby

Looking at the map it looks like an easy journey from New Zealand to Hawaii. Oh no. It’s four flights with long hours spent in between In n noisy department lounges, staring at departure boards. Luckily you cross the International Date Line and gain a day. The long Qantas flight to Honolulu from Sydney was interesting. There were no TV screens on the back of the seats, so no in-flight entertainment. It appears that Qantas are trialling giving every passenger their own I Pad, on which they can pick up hundreds of films and TV wirelessly, via a server on the plane.

Hawaii is everything you would expect. Temperatures range from about 73 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit all year round, and this being the US, that is how the temperatures are reported. I had forgotten that petrol was still sold in gallons and anything you buy in a supermarket is bought in pounds and ounces.

We have been staying in Maui, with Pats sister Monica and her husband Garry, who live on Vancouver Island. They have visited Maui several times, so we have been spoilt a bit as Garry drives us around the island. It rains a bit now and then, and it is warm rain, but never more than a few minutes and then the sun pops out again. Loud Hawaiian shirts are the regulation issue here and everybody greets you with an enthusiastic Aloha. Nearly everybody is American/Canadian, and I haven’t heard a British accent since we arrived.
Breakfast on the balcony
The sea is warm, the beaches are clean and fringed with palm trees, and the local beer is pretty good as well. The only thing I do not like is that nearly every restaurant or bar you go in insists on having at least seven big screens pumping out sports coverage.

I persuaded Pat that while we were here we should go to a Luau and we got a great deal on one of the four held most nights on the island. Following a pork buffet, cooked in a big pit, the hula dancers entertain the crowd with a wide ranging programme of music and dance, finishing with a fire dance. Pretty impressive stuff and a must for any Hawaiian visit.

It looks like I will buy my ukulele here in Lanaika on Maui. I can get more or less the same model in the UK, but with a hard carry case, tuner, spare strings etc it is cheaper to buy it here and its nice to know it came from Hawaii, even if it is probably made in China.
The beach, across the road at Ka'anapalii

Later this week we leave Maui and have two days on Oahu in Honolulu, on Waikiki Beach, beach before we head on to LA and start our road trip across California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

For those interested we will be arriving back in the UK on Thursday 7th March and drive up to The Cat’s Whiskers the following weekend.

Hang Loose (it’s what they all say here…honest)

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