About This Blog

This blog is to share with you some of the highlights of my visits to Hawaii and miscellaneous Hawaiiana. Hawai'i has had a great impact on my life. To see more on why I keep this blog, see: The Impact of Hawai'i in My Life.

Also, check out the Hawaiian Trivia Quiz.


What Not to do in Hawaii

There are so many great things to do and places to see in Hawaii that can offer a great escape, cultural experience, spiritual refreshment and visual feasting. A carefully planned trip to Hawaii can allow you to enjoy the best of the islands. However, uncareful planning, or falling to the temptaions of tourist-cattle operations can deny you the true Hawaiian experience you had once dreamed of. There is plenty in Hawaii that can offer you a much less than perfect Hawaiian vacation.

Ask yourself why you wanted to come in the first place? Does your dream experience involve spending lots of time in a big city? With lots of other tourists? Riding on a bus? Partying in wild nightlife? Driving in lots of traffic? Shopping at lots of stores? Spending money at expensive restaurants? Staying the whole time at a posh, yet artificial resort? Sharing a sunny beach with many others? All this can be had and done in Hawaii, as well as at hundreds of other vacation resorts throughout the world. But none of it will allow you to experience the real Hawaii. If you want Cancun or Las Vegas, go to Cancun or Las Vegas.

But if you really want to experience the real Hawaii, scratch all of the above activities from your vacation list and search for what makes Hawaii special. This blog has lots of good suggestions. However, here I will list what I believe you should stay away from:

1. Honolulu / Waikiki. It's big, busy and no longer reflective of the real Hawaii. That being said, you do not need to avoid Oahu. There's plenty of special places outside of the metro area.
2. Bus tours to anywhere. Do you like to be cattle? Cars or vans are much better.
3. Major tourist places. Again, moo? The only worthy exceptions are Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center.
3. Shopping centers. Most of the souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, etc that you'll find are mass produced, some not even in Hawaii, and in the end are not worth it. There's plenty of real, authentic products that will mean much more and have greater value in your memories when found outside of the shopping centers.
4. Expensive restaurants. Sure, there's some real nice ones with great ambiance, but in most cases your best meals and eating experiences will be had in smaller, less fancy joints in more remote areas.
5. Non-Hawaiian themed nightlife. You need a nightlife fix? Go to Cancun or Las Vegas. Or any of hundreds of other non-special places.

In determining where to go and what to do, always ask yourself "Why do I want to go to Hawaii?" If your answer includes any of the above proscribed items, then ask yourself if there isn't a closer, cheaper vacation spot you can go to accomplish such objectives. It's a shame to come all the way to a such a special place and only experience what can be had elsewhere.

Seek the mana, or spirit, of Hawaii and learn the meaning of aloha. It can change your life.

My Favorite Island: Kaua'i

I have been asked several times which is my favorite Hawaiian island. Although I hesitate very briefly, I always say that it is Kaua'i, the Garden Island. The only cause for brief hesitation is my thoughts of Maui, which runs a close second. Some reasons why I choose Kaua'i in the top slot are that this island has:
1. The NaPali Coast - an other-worldly, un-paralleled, beautiful piece of earth (see pic above)
2. The greatest abundance of green, beautiful foliage on one Hawaiian island (although the Road to Hana on Maui takes the crown as the best area - bar none)
3. Awesome hikes - on the coast and inland
4. Great beaches in beautiful settings
5. Beautiful waterfalls and special places
6. Fewer people, but more than sufficient services

The below listed link is a good one for exploring the bounties of Kaua'i. Make sure to view the video "I am Kaua'i - Hawaii's Island of Discovery", below. This will give you a taste of why Kaua'i is special. But the only way to really understand is to go there.

And, in 2013 my dream to hike the Kalalau Trail was fulfilled. Check out my log of the hiking trip at My Journey to Kalalau as well as this video.

See also:
My Tips for Visiting Kauai


The Aloha Spirit

What is the 'Aloha Spirit'? Some great people have offered thoughts on the subject, as follows:

'Aloha' was a recognition of life in another. If there was life there was mana, goodness and wisdom, and if there was goodness and wisdom there was a god-quality. One had to recognize the 'god of life' in another before saying 'Aloha,' but this was easy. Life was everywhere ... Aloha had its own mana. It never left the giver but flowed freely and continuously between giver and receiver. 'Aloha' could not be thoughtlessly or indiscriminately spoken, for it carried its own power. No Hawaiian could greet another with 'Aloha' unless he felt it in his own heart. If he felt anger or hate in his heart he had to cleanse himself before he said 'Aloha'. - Queen Lili'uokalani

In what other land save this one is the commonest form of greeting not "Good day," nor "How d'ye do", but "Love"? That greeting is 'Aloha': love, I love you, my love to you... It is a positive affirmation of the warmth of one's own heart-giving. - Jack London

A beautiful song that captures the Aloha spirit of Hawaii is "These Islands" by Danny Couch. Here are the lyrics:

Have you seen these islands?
Have you seen the beauty of this land?
Do you know it's people,
Brothers, sisters walking hand in hand?
Have you seen the ocean?
Miles and miles of crystal deep blue seas?
Can you smell the flowers
Fill the air with fragrances for free?

This is Aloha
This is Aloha,
This is Aloha,
This land of Hawai’i.

Have you felt the power,
mountain craters throwing lava in the air?
Or it's green swept beauty,
from each island blossoms everywhere.
Have you felt it's spirit,
Ancient God's, their mana still lives here.
You will love these islands,
Nothing in the world can compare.

Colored rainbows stretch across the sky, waterfalls so high,
Mountains make you cry,
You will love these islands, nothing in the world can compare.
If you touch the spirit, then the gift of Love will lead you here.

This is Aloha,
This Is Aloha,
This is Aloha,
This land of Hawai’i.
Have you seen these islands?

Another great song, a long-time favorite of mine is "My Hawaii" as sung by the group Krush:
Oh, Hawaii, My Hawaii
Skies are blue, the seas a thousand years of rain
In Hawaii, waves keep breaking
In each rise and fall, they call on me (or, they call home Kaua'i)

Oh, Hawaii, Island Maui
I’ll return to fantasy and moon
All the people, on these islands
Make it more adored
Than paradise in bloom!

On these islands, called Hawaii
Man awaits to find this dream divine
Oh Hawaii, my Hawaii
I’ll return, to stay and spend my life
All my days, in Hawaii
Oh, Hawaii!

More to come...


What I Would Do on the Dream Trip to Hawaii

Day 1-5 on Maui:
Stay in a nice home in Hana, hikes, beaches and waterfalls

Day 6-9 on Maui:
Stay at a nice resort in Wailea area, beaches and snorkeling

Day 10-12 on Molokai:
Stay at nice resort in Maunaloa, explore the island

Day 13-17 on the Big Island:
Stay at nice resort near Hapuna Beach, explore the island

Day 18-22 on Kauai:
Stay in nice home in Hanalei area, hike Kalalau, beaches

Day 23-26 on Kauai:
Stay at nice resort in Poipu area, beaches and snorkeling

For what to do, I would be using the Revealed guidebook 'blue bibles' as guides.