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Enjoying the golden rays of the sun on a winter afternoon

September 12, 2003
Reminiscences of Hawaii

We landed in Hawaii with a BANG! Literally, since I fell on the staircase of the airport. In Japan everyone would have politely looked away but not so in US – there were half-smiles probably at my abashed and stupid face as I sat bewildered for a while. My husband was most amused and had a big grin all over his face. So do you find it surprising that the whole situation produced rainbow colours on my face? My torment continued till the time I could get out of airport – my mind imagined all the 1000 people there has not only seen but was also continuously thinking solely of that scene where I lay huddled into a lump at the bottom of the staircase.

Well, so much for my “Aloha”(welcome) into Hawaii. Things cooled down considerably since we were ushered into a lovely limo (Taxi in Hawaii). Unlike in Japan where I was completely disappointed at the sight of a plain vanilla bus which was termed ‘limo’ – this was a proper limousine I have always seen in English movies like God Father and other such mafia stuff - as in it was long and had enough leg space for 10 of my legs and it had wine glasses with napkins decorated at the side chamber. I felt much better (though there was no wine).

Our taxi driver was Chinese with limited English skills and we had a short period of déjà vu as we tried to explain the direction to our hotel. The limo drove into Waikiki beach, which was really picturesque – however I suddenly realized why Rick (my boss) had used the term “pretty” and not “beautiful” when describing this place. It was a strange blend – when I look through the right window of the limo there were the lovely blue sea waves splashing onto the white-sand beach lined with shining green coconut trees whose leaves rustled in the breeze. On my left was an array of high-end brand outlets, Louis Vuitton, Takashimaya (or was it Mitsukoshi?), Prada, Gucci – you name it and they are there. It evoked a strange feeling of natural and artificial in me. Other than our one-day visit to Hanauma Bay I did not greatly enjoy Waikiki – I found it perfect for active surfers and shopping (Ala Moana is good!) but that’s about it. Hanauma Bay is a paradise for beginners in snorkeling. The day we went to Hanauma – the sea was very rough due to the hurricane hitting a nearby island, but it had its own charms since the sea was wild – the waves were huge and they lashed around like an angry sea-monster.

Next we landed in Maui, which did true justice to the Hawaii fame! The beauty of the place impressed me. I could never have imagined so much beauty could be concentrated in a place had I not visited Maui. Mind you – if you are looking for crowd, activity and hectic life, Maui can be boring. However, if you are looking for lovely, quiet, serene beauty coupled with some amount of activity like snorkeling (at Molokini), sunrise tour on a volcanic crater (Haleakala), driving through a rain-forest (Road to Hana)– this place is unparalleled. For those who have traveled the road from Mumbai to Nasik – Maui has similar beauty but a shade better due to sprawled out golden sea beaches.

My best memory of Maui is the “Road to Hana”. The tour pamphlet had an apt quote “It is not the destination, it is the journey.” The place Hana, has nothing much but the road to it is adventurous and charming. The guided tour took us through a great rain forest, which was flush with fruits (esp. guavas), flowers (white-ginger flower), streams trickling down the lava vents of this extinct (or was it dormant?) volcano, double-canopied bamboo groves, etc. However, the local flavour to the whole tour was not given by any of these – it was our tour guide, Sam. His vivid descriptions of the historical background of the place (including why and how Captain Cook was killed), the numerous anecdotes, stories of his family, were what charmed us. There is a particularly rough patch on that road where the van jolts up and down and suddenly we came across a “bumper”(speed-breaker) in that patch - we could hear Sam thinking aloud “Man! Me always wondered why they put that bumper in this road!”

We left Maui cherishing lovely memories of golden sunrises, fiery-red sunsets, deep blue ocean, lush green mountains, sweet fragrant “Plumeria” flowers and above all the warm, fun-loving local people. Even today while sitting at my office desk when I close my eyes to rest for a while, I have a smile thinking of how Wordsworth’s few words have transcended time in expressing human feelings ….

“I gazed-and gazed-but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;”


1. Hawaii is full of Japanese and everyone can understand, if not speak, the language. But it is not Japan – since I lost my travel book Lonely Planet within 5 minutes of leaving it behind – could not find it at the same spot.

2. Hawaiians still feel they are ‘occupied’ by USA, not really part of USA. We heard that slight resentment in the words of every Hawaiian we spoke to.

3. It looks like either it is a custom and honour if a Hawaiian is sharing his family information with you, or all tour guides are trained to tell you that. Both the local tour guides we had, told us about their family. “You know my little boy plays soccer and my girl goes to a Polynesian school – no English there!” It was interesting to notice the last was told with lot of pride in his voice.

posted by Tuya 7:28 PM
. . .
September 11, 2003

I realised today I really love my freedom above anything else. You might say, 'everyone does - what's new about that?' I just happen to forget it sometimes in my balance of ambition and freedom. Ask - How the two are in conflict? Often to meet our ambition we give up some amount of our freedom e.g. I need to do something (nothing wrong, just not to my liking) which is not what my free self would have done, but I know doing it will help me achieve my goals/ambition. That's where the conflict comes.

I can compromise to some extent - but after a while it just suffocates me and I feel the need to say 'Get lost' and be damn glad about it. I felt that way today - it was so peaceful. I gifted myself that peace and happiness.

Nothing like freedom! I think this is specially true about relationships - in a good relationship one needs that space - that mutual respect for each other's freedom. Otherwise the relationship is gone - just like that. I have seen it happen so many times.

"Life is worth living but only worth living 'coz you're born free"

posted by Tuya 4:46 AM
. . .
September 08, 2003
It's about time I jotted down something - and no better time since I am just back from Hawai-i..........oh I loved the trip! Maui was just out of the world....the beauty was mind boggling. I wish I could have spent some more time there.

posted by Tuya 4:12 AM
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