6 Things I learned in Hawai’i

I loved so much about Hawai’i.  Not the least of which was visiting my sister and nieces.  But some things surprised me about Hawai’i and I wanted to share those thoughts with you!  I loved visiting a state in the US that was so different and because of its distance from the mainland and/or its unique history, has maintained so much of its Polynesian heritage and held tight to the characteristics that make it so wonderfully distinctive.

Here is my list….

1.  Everyone called me “Auntie”.  I heard this a dozen times or more from Hawai’ians – as a sign of respect in their culture, a woman (I cringe to say “older”, but let’s face it, I AM older than those who called me Auntie) who is older is afforded this lovely term of endearment.  I would imagine this is similar to women being called “ma’am”.  Now, I am guessing with how foolish some people are, some women would be offended by this title – but clearly they do not understand the honor.  An Auntie is a mother – but better!  Someone who can nurture and love; direct and give advice.  They are the favored adult as they offer much of what a parent does, without the harshness that should befall parents as they train their children.  Being called Auntie was a treasure.


I am the Auntie of these two adorable princesses!!  Here we are at the beach at Hickam AFB!

2.  While I did see some stray kitties here and there, chickens roam the island at will! This was fun to see, as all the hens had chickies following them around this time of year!  They were fun and adorable and we got to see a lot of Hay-Hays!



3.  I don’t believe there are any squirrels in Hawai’i – but they have the mongoose, which takes its place as they island scavenger.


I didn’t get an mongoose pictures, but here is Char with one of the resident kitties at Hanauma Beach.


Sable meets a kitty that lives at Kualoa Ranch

4.  This makes sense but I hadn’t thought about it before in these terms – the cost of things in Hawai’I are really high. Of course, that is somewhat a reflection of the tourist economy, but it more so a reflection of the cost to import all these everyday goods to an island stuck literally in the middle of the Pacific!

I have some group space reserved on a Hawai’ian island cruise for June 2021 on Norwegian’s Pride of America.  This is probably one of the more expensive cruises most people I know will take, but there is a good reason for that.  This particular ship, Pride of America, is one of the only sea-going cruise ships registered in the US.  That is really important to note because of regulations for vessels registered in the US – the crew MUST be Americans (who demand a higher wage, require health insurance, workers’ comp and so on and so forth) and the registration is much more expensive than the typical cruise ship registrations in the Bahamas (where most US market cruise ships are registered).  Add to the US regulations for US registered vessels, and you have the high cost of goods needed to outfit such a cruise weekly – once these things are examined, it is easy to see why Hawai’i is so expensive.  For the traveler considering either a Hawi’ian island cruise or a trip in general, you have to ask yourself is the cost worth the trip?

5.  Black Sand Beaches are hard to find!!!  This was one of my desires, but it just didn’t work out!!!  This leaves something cool for me to seek out when I go back in 2021!


I’ll be searching for those black sand beaches when I go back….but clearly, there was nothing to complain about!!!!

6.  All beaches in Hawai’i are public!  This is so cool and neat to think about – even the fancy hotel BEACHES are public (not the pools and amenities) so you can go to Aulani on O’ahu and even if you are not staying at the resort, you can still swim in the cove that has so many neat tropical fish and snorkel there!


Hanauma Bay


Beach and cove at Aulani

I really enjoyed my trip tremendously and look forward to the next!  I would love to hear about what YOU found interesting about your visit to Hawai’i!  Explore the world, learn from your surroundings, and bring home the best souvenir available; a new perspective!




One of the cool places we visited during our trip to Hawai’i was the Dole Plantation.  The grounds of this beautiful farm were luscious, well manicured and a delight to enjoy for a few hours.  There was a FABULOUS gift shop with all manner of hand-made, authentic Hawai’ian gifts as well as the “cheap” touristy baubles you may expect to find.  And of course – there was DOLE WHIP!!!!!

At the Plantation, one can get lost in the “World’s Largest Maze” – this was gorgeous – and the maze was made out of hibiscus plants!!  Also, you can tour the Dole Plantation botanical gardens (which we did not do in the interest of keeping the toddlers with us entertained) and you can also take a 22 minute train ride tour of the plantation.  Char and I did the maze (again, no toddlers – we would probably still be searching for them) and we all did the train ride!


Such beautiful gardens….and Char and Sable make it even more beautiful!


This maze was gorgeous!!!


This lei gets around!!!

The beautiful red soil of inland O’ahu seems perfect for growing not only pineapples, but also sugar cane, bananas, veggies of all sorts and fruit!  In fact, I am not sure what wouldn’t grow there!!!  The train tour highlighted many of these plants and told the story of the Dole Plantation as well as the rich history of cultivation on the island.  It was fun and informative!


This old machinery was pretty cool looking!



Banana groves


Check out that gorgeous soil!!!


Sable on the train wearing her fancy Hawai’ian gear!

Something else I noticed a lot of on the island as a whole and certainly at the Dole Plantation, was the initiative to use green energy – Dole has a small solar farm on the Plantation and I would guestimate that somewhere between 20-40% of the homes on the island also use solar energy.  I mean – why wouldn’t you????  Every home in the military communities near where my sister lives have solar arrays and businesses do as well.  I haven’t had a chance to research the incentives or company practices for solar, but I love seeing communities embrace the advantages of green energy!


Visiting the Dole Plantation was super fun day and a stop in O’ahu that I would certainly recommend for anyone!  It was easy going, informative, entertaining and worth the money for the tours we took!  I think when my family returns in 2021, we will definitely go back to the Dole Plantation!!!