I’m visiting my son in Oahu for a few days… good excuse, huh? After some of the usual flight and traveling difficulties, and some very welcome sleep, I’m sitting in my pre-dawn hotel room listening to the morning chorus of birds and Waikiki traffic. This is my fifth time visiting the isles; my third here. All over the hotel, the beach, the vendors is a memory of being here with my parents at various stages of our lives. My mother loved Hawaii so much. So different from shoveling snow in New Jersey layered in sodden cold clothing. If she had more than one life to live I’m sure she and Dad would live on Maui. I was here last with them when my children were small, just after my divorce. It feels like a hundred years ago. As it is, I’ve left the mainland as a woman who is forty-something, and returning a fifty year old. I need the warm scented breezes to cushion the impact.
Waikiki is like any American resort: expense and commercialism and pretense of class turning its back on the dirt, pollution, noise and poverty that seeps through cracks from the other side of the International Marketplace just across the street. Tourists shouldn’t roam far at night. Making Hawaii a state did it no favors; I agree with the natives that they’ve lost so much. Next time that I visit it will be to a bed and breakfast in the hills where there is greenery, birds and quiet.
Today we’ll go to one of the beautiful areas of the island and see some of that incredible nature that clings on to this poor volcanic rock. Hike and birdwatch and listen to the lack of human machines, if possible. Feel the freedom of not being in competition with slender young women, for at my age I am invisible, which is comforting. Let the scent of the flowers seep inside. Enjoy the company of my son as an adult. Here are a few photos of my first afternoon here: