Did you ever have a year that you just couldn’t wait to be DONE? For me, that was 2016. Despite starting positively, 2016 soon became a record holder. First, our family and close circle of friends experienced the deaths of multiple loved ones. That alone should be reason to kick the proverbial “ass” of 2016 out the door. But, wait there is more as this was a year in which our world saw chaos beyond measure. Acts of terrorism, political campaigns that were so toxic it made many want to change citizenship and a “Mother Nature” that seemed to be angry with our world were more than most could handle!
That is when hubby and I said enough was enough! We needed to change the course of negativity that was entrapping us and end the year with some redeeming glimmer of positivity. There seemed to be very little debate as how to make a loser year end like a winner. We would simply need to pack our suitcases and GO!
So, we did.
First stop- Oahu
We have been to Hawaii and the island of Oahu before. On this trip I made sure we visited places that weren’t on our prior itineraries and go back to those that we really wanted to give a closer look. Our travels found us at the renowned courthouse and palace followed by Pearl Harbor – just in time for their 75th anniversary celebration. But first, time to eat!
Oahu is very cosmopolitan with much Asian culinary influence and an endless supply of amazing food. I reveled in the various smells that abounded throughout downtown Waikiki. The fact that you could enjoy a leisurely or formal meal while watching the sunset just makes this place all the more special. Plus, the number of the people trying to snap a photo of the sunset, nearly all in unison, is hysterical.
Note: Don’t miss walking through the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and dining in their beachside restaurant.
Surfing is to Hawaii as Skiing is to Colorado
The last times we were in Hawaii we were able to see some awesome surfing. THIS time we timed it to be present for the Billabong Surfing tournament. Sadly, the weather didn’t cooperate, but we did have the opportunity to see some fun surfing pre-event activities.
Don’t miss… One of my favorite places to visit on Oahu is this small artistian area as you drive towards the North/ West coast of the island. There you will find some of the most delicious coffee and candles at the Wailua Sugar Mill. And be sure to check out the candle sculpture.
The courthouse and Palace also were not to be missed. If you go to the Honolulu Courthouse be sure to give yourself at least an hour or more. The history of Hawaii is fascinating and worth the time to visit these locations. The display that spotlights events during WWII is very thought provoking. (An excellent educational opportunity here.)
And, of course don’t leave Oahu without spending at least a few hours at Pearl Harbor. It is a humbling experience and one that makes you realize the enormity of the acts of bravery from our military.
When a Jew loves Christmas
I love Christmas. We didn’t celebrate Christmas in my home growing up and our family doesn’t even now. But, I do love how Christmas looks and sounds. The music, the decorations and a giant Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Honolulu Community Center. Yes indeed, this Jew loves Christmas in Hawaii!
On a more poignant note, there were a series of Christmas trees in the display set up by local organizations from throughout the islands. One that caught my heart was dedicated to organ donors and their recipients. After taking considerable time to read many of the cards hanging from the tree (see below), I realized that I had nothing to complain about. Yes, I had a tough year – but so did many other people. Hawaii made me realize that #SocialGood and compassion triumph most everything else, thus helping heal the wounds of 2016, after all.
Next stop (and blog)… Kauai, the land of Old Hawaii (Part 2 of series)
Last stop (and blog)… Hello Alaska! Seeing the Northern Lights (Part 3 of series, coming soon)