Our flight to Hawaii went well, given that it was the first time Fisher and Milo had ridden on an airplane. I was nervous about how they would manage, but they didn’t seem particularly scared or uncomfortable. And it turned out that I experienced an unprecedented calm, and even excitement, on the plane. I ended up embracing those hours of air travel as an opportunity to surrender to the circumstances, which were, for once, gloriously beyond my control and responsibility. It felt like a holiday from worry, which is a marvelous thing.
Leaving from Orlando, we had a brief stopover in Atlanta, and the flight to Hawaii took about nine hours from there. I remember looking out the window at certain points and seeing some of the places we had driven through, like New Mexico and Arizona. It was fun seeing the same areas from a different perspective, and thinking of the memories we had made down there.
We landed in Honolulu in the late afternoon, picked-up our rental car, and made the almost two-hour drive to the vacation condo in Waianae we had rented. Needless to say, it had already been a very long day by the time we arrived in Hawaii, on top of the fact that we had gained six hours with the time change. Milo was so tired he fell asleep almost as soon as we got in the car. There was quite a bit of traffic leaving Honolulu, but it was made a little less tedious by the rainbow we spotted in the mountains, which felt like a beautiful welcome to help mitigate some of our fatigue.
We got Milo into bed when we arrived at the condo, and the rest of us had something to eat before also going to bed. Fisher and Milo were up at around 2am the next morning, and I found it hard to sleep much after that myself. We decided to lay low the rest of the day, and Fisher’s body took the travelling and time difference especially hard, throwing up his lunch and needing extra time to rest.
The two weeks we spent in Hawaii were pretty low key. We enjoyed the peacocks wandering around the condo grounds, admired the frangipani trees, and chuckled at the rooster crowing every morning.
Our condo wasn’t in a touristy area, so we were able to shop in regular grocery stores (Tamura Super Market and Waianae Store) and get a sense of how regular Hawaiians live. The weather was very hot and mostly sunny. There was a beach close by (Makaha) with amazingly strong waves, and at Keawaula Beach down the road, Eric hurt his foot while we were playing in the water because of the intense drag. We all had a lot of fun being thrown around by the ocean, though.
We visited Mauna Lahilahi Beach a few times so the boys could get giant cones of shave ice from a food truck parked there. We went to a small cove in a residential area (Aki’s Beach) where sea turtles are known to go but didn’t see any, though it was fun to step along the black rocks observing small creatures in the craggy puddles. We discovered a big cave (Makua Cave) not far from where we were staying, but only Eric was willing to venture in.
We attended a Luau at Paradise Cove near Honolulu, which was entertaining but a little too busy and touristy for my taste. We also visited the Polynesian Cultural Centre, founded and managed by the Mormon University on the other side of Oahu, which is a theme park that showcases cultural aspects of various Pacific islands, including Aotearoa (New Zealand).
Above is Milo hugging a Milo tree.
We were also lucky enough to have a Netflix subscription on the TV in our condo, and so caught the Gilmore Girls reboot, which happened to be released just at that time. 🙂
Did I mention the rainbows?? 🌈
After our lovely stay in Oahu, it was time to head back to the airport. The only thing that bothered me about Hawaii was the traffic, and I had a full-on freak out in the car driving to the airport when, despite leaving the condo very early, we got caught in the crazy morning traffic into Honolulu. It all turned out okay, though, with no line-up at the airport check-in, and plenty of time to make it to the gates for our flight to New Zealand.
And when I saw the Air New Zealand plane parked out there, waiting to take us to that far off island nation, well, I was feeling pretty good.