Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stories from Hawaii

A gold dust day gecko we rescued
from the window in our bathroom.
Simiao and I spent Christmas in Hawaii, which we found was a welcome reprieve from the frigid weather in the North.  When we were planning our vacation, there was a brief debate between whether we should stay in a hotel or use airbnb for lodging and ultimately decided on the latter.  It turns out that this was the right decision.

On the first day of our trip when we visited Ko Olina, we discussed the song Cheeseburger in Paradise.  I think that staying in a hotel is akin to going to a different world just to try more of the same.  So many tourists claim that they want authenticity, but end up travelling to far off lands only to seek out the very same options available to them at home.  Our host family made it possible for us to experience Hawaii in a way that we never could have at a hotel.  Think, Ono Hawaiian Food instead of Alan Wong's, a real family holiday party instead of a carefully choreographed Luau for tourists, and poke from Tanioka's on the beach instead of a burger on Waikiki.

How to catch a gecko that has found its way into your bathroom. The process was somewhat complicated by the gecko's persistent refusal to cooperate and Simiao shrieking, "I divorce myself from this! I am not responsible for anything that happens!"

Simiao walking on the rocks near Ko Olina.

Turbulent water near Koko Head Park.
Myself with our hosts' dog, Peanut.
Hawaiian Monk Seals littered the beaches.

Panorama of Hanauma Bay.  The bay had remarkably beautiful and clear snorkeling in the morning but was milky with silt from people playing in the sand by noon.

Snorkeling with the sea turtles.  Video taken with Simiao's iPhone in a waterproof case.