I stepped out of the flight gate at the Honolulu airport, and into another world. This world was strange, yet somehow familiar. There was the Starbucks, and the frazzled travelers, but to my left were huge open-air panorama windows. These did not look out onto grey pavement, and unruly Colorado skies, but into a lush forest of palm trees and tropical scents. The moisture of the air clung to my cheeks, and made my already thick hair seem much thicker. But the awe slipped away, as I struggled to find the baggage claim. My beloved boyfriend was still looking about him with admiration and the joy of a child, but I felt hot and was scurrying away to find my luggage.
Down the escalator we went, and into the more familiar world of spinning luggage and unpleasant sounds of machinery. I frowned wondering where our famous lei greeting was. After all, we had requested it, they should have been at the gate. My head was full of visions of grass-skirted Polynesian women smiling and hanging fragrant necklaces around our shoulders. We waited patiently on a bench, thinking perhaps they would come find us there. Finally, David went in search of the traveling agency, and I soon followed. After a few minutes of waiting, a tanned teenage boy came out of the back and examined us with bored annoyance. After explaining that we had not received our leis, he yawned and tossed two of the flower garlands at us.
Here ya go, he said, and disappeared into the door from which he came. David and I exchanged glances, and wondered if this was an omen. I decided firmly not to let this minor setback get in the way of my enjoyment of this trip.
We now had to find the rental car, which involved more waiting, this time in the hot sun with other disg...
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...re soon full of jade and coral, fans and sarongs. David was in search of a black and white hibiscus shirt, which turned out to be quite hard to find. We finally found one, after looking through about twenty clothing shops. Contented, we returned to the room, and floated away on the soft cries of merchants and drums.
Our final day, we simply went to see a movie. Here we finally saw true locals, dressed in shabby t-shirts and shorts, complaining cheerfully about the heat. I wondered what it would be like to live here, in this peaceful place, where even the grocery workers are laid back, and calm. I imagined myself living in a beach front house, being able to simply walk to that azure water. When our plane took off that night, I pressed my nose to the glass, and sighed. Despite my poor bum, and the vertical driveway, I knew I'd left part of my heart there in Hawaii.
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by Susan Dutca
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