I first visited Hawaii’s Big Island when I was on tour with a band. We arrived in the afternoon and headed over to the venue. One of the concert organizers chopped the tops off of coconuts and we sipped juice from them while we prepared for the show. Our hotel was rustic and basic with rooms overlooking the ocean. I sat on the balcony looking out at the sea while I practiced my music. An old man below smiled and waved at me as he cut and collected large banana leafs.
At the venue, they served us a dinner of vegetables, brown rice, and some of the best tofu I’ve ever had. The crowd at the show was an interesting assortment of bohemian misfits. One of them felt inspired enough to hop on the stage and dance with us. The next morning, the concert organizers brought us fresh lychees for breakfast; it was my first time trying this amazing fruit.
On that trip, we’d also visited Oahu and Maui, but I’d loved the slow-moving-hippie-whole food experience of the Big Island the most. Last year, around this time, I was getting ready to head back to the Big Island. I was very excited to return to the island I’d enjoyed so much and have more time to explore it. But I was wary of our hotel. We’d gotten a good deal on huge resort called Hilton Waikaloa Village.
Upon our arrival, gaudy statues at the entrance let me know that I was right to be nervous about the resort. Take your typical beach resort and imagine Disneyland throwing up all over it. The place is so big that it has a tram running through it. There is also a fake river with a boat ride. The boat runs on tracks, of course. I half expected puppets to pop up beside me singing, “It’s a small world after all!” There is a shopping center, plenty of overpriced restaurants, and a golf course. The pool scenes were buzzing and very few guests bothered to venture over to the ocean. This place embodied pretty much everything I hate about tourism.
But nevertheless, I very much enjoyed my second trip to Hawaii. When I was at the resort, I tried to view it as a humorous peek into a different kind of tourist world. And my family and I kept ourselves busy with many activities to ensure that we spent as little time on the resort as possible. Here are some of my favorite pictures from that trip:
Flying over the ocean, getting a sense of planet Earth.
Gorgeous greenery on the way to Akaka Falls
Lots of rain = lots of rainbows
A Christmas Tree with Santa and plumes of smoke from lava flowing into the ocean.
A turn down an unmarked road led us to the unique Waialea Beach
A tranquil sunset with Buddha on Christmas day
Swimming with the fish in Kealakekua Bay
A fire dancing show, a nice ending to an otherwise cheesy luau