Saturday, October 07, 2006

We've been in Hawaii since, hmmm, since Tuesday. On boarding the aircraft, landing in Oahu, at the car rental store, everywhere, people say Ma Haul, Hoe! I want to say, "You talking about my mama?" or "Are you talking about my wife? She ain't no Hoe! I started saying back, Ma Haul, Hoe to Your Mother, okay!"

Am I ever embarassed. After spending five days in Oahu I learned today and only after several dozens, "Ma Haul, HOE! to your mother" that what everyone has been saying is "Mahalo" meaning thank you in Hawaiian. Knock me down and call me stupid. Geeze.

Green sea turtles inhabit the inlet outside of the hotel. This was taken from our 6th story balcony. They grow to weigh 400 pounds and eat seaweed and sea jelly (I think sea jelly comes from the stuff that collects inside your toenails).

It's been a delight to watch them outside of our room every day.
Today we drove an hour south to Waikiki Beach. What a mass of humanity. Wall to wall people, cars, and buildings. Traveling to Oahu turns a lot of people off because they equate the Island of Oahu to what Honolulu and Waikiki Beach are. That's not what Oahu is all about.

This picture is of Waikiki. Where's the beach?

We've traveled to Kauai and Maui which were fine. These islands have been our preferences as they are to other travelers.

During our brief stay on Oahu we've driven completely around the island. Mile for mile there are more public beaches than Kauai and Maui put together. Check this: There are 115 miles of coastline on Oahu. Within the 115 miles there are 130 beaches all with public access. It's fantastic. Miles and miles of sandy beaches with lots of space and privacy. Unliked Waikiki, you can walk for miles on certain beaches without seeing anyone. Would I come here again? In a heartbeat.

Most of the beaches are inhabited by locals who hang out with family, pitch their tents to get out of the sun, fish, surf and just have a great time. The beaches sought by tourists are generally the ones where you can surf or are close to the hotels. But as I said, if it's being on the beach that draws you to the Islands, Oahu is the place. Pick a hotel, such as the Turtle Bay Resort (located on the North Shore of the Island) that is out of the way of the mass tourism found in Waikiki Beach.

We picked a great week (not) to be here. Korea has a national holiday this week. Hawaiian school kids are on break (in October? - go figure). So there are a few more people out this week had we waited another week or two. That said, there are few mainlanders vacationing this week and next. This makes the difference.

Under the heading of "go figure" the National Audubon Society National Board of Directors (about 20 of them or more) met this week at Turtle Bay Resort. Apparently they meet four times a year at variousl locations. Most directors brought their families with them.

Since Audubon relies on grants and donations to survive, it seems to me that flying their Board to a swank resort as Turtle Bay is over the top. If you donate to the Society, is this where you'd like your money to be spent?

Here's one of the Hawaiian chiefs as immortalized at Waikiki Beach.

Our pictures of Waikiki do not fully illustrate the mass of humanity there today. And it was early in the day. In various areas people were parked on the beach person to person, towel to towel.

As we drive the Island with the top down on our little green VW sea turtle, we listen to this station. You can access it on line. Groove with it.

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States