Circling The Island
Unsurprisingly, every Hawai’ian island boasts beautiful, historic, cultural sites. Pick an island, they’ve all got ‘em. When I planned to visit my fiftieth state, I was on a budget – a pretty tight one – and as everyone willingly and bluntly will tell you, life on the islands is not cheap (see Aboard The Rosalie Claire from September 2020). Perhaps, but island-hopping guarantees that certainty, so I limited my visit to just Oahu, with plans to see more in the future as life allows. I didn’t plan ahead too much, a behavior quite unlike me, but I figured I would stumble onto something amazing. I was deliciously correct.
I booked a standard bus tour around the island, through the streets of Waikiki, past Diamond Head, then around the required loop: Eternity Beach, Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout, Kualoa Ranch, and, of course, the North Shore. I was probably the only person on the bus who didn’t get off to take pictures of myself at Waimea, but it was crowded and I’ve been to crowded beaches. Plus, I took pictures of myself on the East shore and my hair and makeup remained mostly unchanged in those twenty minutes. The token tour did give me a few splendid ideas for the next day for my solo outing via the city bus. Hey, I can do cheap when needed.
One of my favorite movies includes a lovely, quiet scene where the female lead wanders around alone in Kyoto, Japan. The way she observes, softly, silently, and slowly, allows her to soak in her surroundings by cultural osmosis. I envied her and crave those moments (see Traveling Alone from November 2021). So when I arrive at the Byodo-In Temple, I take the opportunity to observe, imbibe, and experience the inland breezes and sacred setting. I gaze at the oversized goldfish, watch the chickens duke it out, and savor the solemnity of the setting. What could be more felicitous than the sights and sounds of the Buddhist culture?
That’s not a rhetorical question. The island of Oahu does offer a delectable delight: Dole Whips. Many Disneyphiles may be familiar with this heavenly, creamy, luscious pineapple treat. The Dole Whip is the fruit smoothie of the gods and they sell it at its birthplace: the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Yes, it is one of those ordinary and expected stops on a Hawai’ian tour bus, but the flavorful largesse bestows upon my tastebuds the balance of a full spectacular sensory excursion on a single bus tour. My mouth experiences the richest wonder of the island, even on my tight little budget.