Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Aloha a Hui Hou

I first met Hawaii  in November of 2004 on a stopover on my way home from San Diego. I was alone, and Hawaii is a strangely sensual place to visit by yourself. You need someone around so you can say “hey look at this”, or “smell this”, or “taste that”. The air is flavoured with salt and fish; sweat beads on your skin day and night as the temperature barely varies around the clock. Sand gets into everything and you stop shaking off your feet after the first day and just embrace the grains in your hair, your clothes and your bed. Here I was on Waikiki Beach waiting for the mythical green flash that occurs right as the setting sun passes completely under the horizon.
Waikiki Beach, November 2004
It was a schoolgirl crush and the thought of seeing her again left me breathless. I fell for Hawaii so hard the first time I met her I had to go back as soon as possible. So in 2005 I went back, this time for a week and towing my pregnant bestie along. She humoured me by going on many day trips around the island even though I knew she just wanted to sit poolside with a Mills and Boon and a custard tart. One day we went to the Byodo-In Temple in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park outside Kahaluu on Oahu. 
Byodo-In Temple on Oahu, 2005
Giant koi thrashed and bubbled in a pond in the gardens of the temple. 
Koi at the Byodo-In Temple on Oahu, 2005
A small bridge crossed the pond and I remember watching a tiny child lean through the railings of the bridge, teetering almost into the water holding out morsels of bread for these monsters as they leapt from the surface to snatch them out of his hand. It was like a car crash. I could not stop looking yet at the same time had to overcome the urge to just go over and push him in. It would have been the perfect crime; those fish were piranhas in drag and would have eaten him in seconds. God knows where his mother was. Probably somewhere close by, thinking the same thing.
Koi at the Byodo-In Temple on Oahu, 2005
When I left this time I ached to return but it would be 2013, another 8 years, before I would come back again. This time I brought Danny for the first time and he was immediately struck with the same affection for Hawaii I had not been able to shake. We began planning our next trip before this one was over. While we were there in 2013 we revisited some of my favourite places, taking the same tour as I did with my bestie stopping at the Byodo-In Temple and paying our respects to the giant koi. I wondered if any of the same fish got in our photos as did in 2005.
Byodo-In Temple on Oahu, 2013
Koi at the Byodo-In Temple on Oahu, 2013
Koi at the Byodo-In Temple on Oahu, 2013
So aloha a hui hou Hawaii; goodbye until we meet again.

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