12 Dec Hawaii in reality
The fantasy I had of Hawaii is as old as its kingdom. I imagined Hawaii like small fishing villages with beach huts and surfers, playing guitar and chilling. The reality of Hawaii has changed a lot since America has taken over. I saw huge resorts and damn tourists, who didn’t know the difference between coconut water and milk. I visited three islands and on every one of them, I saw a different Hawaii.
In Oahu, I tried to escape the traditional touristic rota, but I was gobsmacked to see luxury fashion brands and super sleek hotels in Waikiki, with so many people around that it felt like there was a street party going on. The natural beauty there is so manicured to serve to accommodate people that they built a childrens beach in Waikiki. Introduced to the island by local people, I saw hidden waterfalls and found Kailua beach , visited the naval base, saw submarines and went to Pearl Harbor, which was interesting, but made me understand how much the US rely on Hawaii for defense. The army plays a huge part in the economy and employment rates.
My local friends told me to go to the Big Island instead of Maui and I’m pleased I did. The Big Island had 8 of 13 different climate zones in the world, each with unique ecosystems and a lot of diversity in terms of touristic offerings, from alternative to the luxurious extreme experience. Hawaii, The Big Island has a pulsing natural driving force with the active volcano Mauna Kea. I had the chance to drive around the whole island and see the dramatic changes on the landscape, sleep on the volcano and meet Pele (the divine being of lava), see waterfalls and to experience the eco village Cinderland (more about it in the blog, Manifesting Cinderland). In the west of the island, there is Kona, Kailua and Waikaloa, where all the luxury resorts are and some of the beautiful beaches like 65 and 69, looking like an oasis in the driest area of the island. On the South you can see the black and green sand beaches and on the east you find the lush Hilo area, with more alternative people, hot ponds, Kaka Waterfall, the botanical garden and several scenic drives.
The third island I visited was the garden Island Kauai, with its precious Napali coast, 80% of this island is not reachable by car or trails, you can only see it flying over. Kauai holds the wettest place in the world at its heart, gigantic falls including the ones of the film Jurassic park. There are impressive canyons, wet caves, forests, beaches that will take your breath away and possibly the biggest waves in the world. The Kalalau trail is an 11 mile wonderful and adventurous track, with waterfalls, beaches and is the only way to Kakalu beach, in the middle of the Napali coast. You can also see it from boats. Also don’t miss Hanalei bay, a wonderful suf spot too. Kauai is the only place where you can learn Hula Hula as a graduation course and they have a yearly festival.
What really got my attention was to meet locals and talk to them about the changes during and after kingdom. Some of the locals won’t even consider American rule of Hawaii. They complain about the lack of care of nature and the quick developments. In their opinion, Americans don’t have the same relationship with nature that they have and they dislike the law restrictions and fear the US will use Hawaii as a defense land closest to China. However, not one of the locals I met was going to vote on the next elections and that just doesn’t help. If they let Californians rule their land, they may lose the Hawaiian spirit in those powerful islands.