YAH YAPS! Travel Blog - YAHGLOBAL.com
My 11th trip to the Garden of EdenApril 25, 2011
Photo: Fig leaves have been replaced by boardshorts & bikinis in the new Eden
After about a dozen trips to the islands and countless of hours of “research” I am now convinced that Hawaii is/was the official Garden of Eden. Please keep in mind that the Garden exists in some form in most major belief systems about the world but also put aside your religious convictions (or lack thereof), disregard conflicting time lines, carbon dating and whether or not the volcanic eruptions that created the likes of Molokai refute or support theories of genesis. Let's look at some whimsical facts instead.
When you return from Hawaii, your friends, family and associates tend to ask how it was with an ecstatic exclamation mark at the end of the sentence as if they already knew the answer. Of course it was great. Now look at they way people inquire about a trip to Mexico, the Caribbean, states/provinces within North America and even abroad. There is always a curious tone as to whether or not the trip went well, a concern over culture clash or to see if you experienced the same issues that they had met with on their previous trips to the same land. Did you feel the wrath of Montezuma's revenge? Did the money conversion leave you financially incompetent when it came to leaving a tip? Were you treated like a red headed step child because you were a red headed step child tourist from a country frowned upon by the locals, even though you were supporting quite possibly their only thriving industry? Was their rainy season meant to be taken literally? Were you kidnapped? You get the idea. When returning from any of these regions and someone asks “How was your trip?”, they really mean it. Hawaii on the other hand is a foregone conclusion.
Another case in point - How many times have your heard people respond to the same query with “Great, but I was ready to come home at the end of it” or “I needed a vacation from my vacation”? I dare you to find someone saying that when their trip to Maui or Kauai has reached its conclusion. On a flight back from Hawaii, although there may be a few pouty expressions on the faces of those that dread leaving paradise to return to some humdrum existence at home, most everyone on board resonates with the spirit of Aloha. Even days later they leave baristas at the local Starbucks confused when saying “Mahalo” after being handed a beverage, refusing to let go of the second most often heard expression on the islands, although it inevitably fades along with the tan. You count the days when you can step into an ABC store to use it again. What other three syllables can incite such giddiness? “I love you” doesn't count because for some it strikes fear.
Let's look at the my most recent trip to Oahu last week. Waikiki would be the greatest argument against the Garden of Eden concept, with it's Vegas like persona, packed to the gills with camera toting travelers and tacky tourist trap shops, eateries and commission only street vendors trying to convince you that firing off an AK-47 IS a part of the Oahu experience. But in the same context that there could be no heaven without hell, no good without bad, no ying without yang (which one is the bad one?), Waikiki exists to both satisfy the tastes of the less adventurous and to astound us that a polar opposite can exist within a 10 minutes drive. In an admittedly harsh metaphor, Waikiki is the apple tree that will spoil our souls if we linger under its branches too long. Perhaps “apple” was a misconstrued translation of scripture and derived from the original word “pineapple”. Think about it.
Venturing away from the “tree” and starting with Diamond Head Beach (NOT the crater) one can find immediate seclusion and continuing further along a circle island path only hammers home the point. I found myself completely alone on Chinaman's Hat, one of the world's most photographed islands and climbed to it's peak without anyone in site. Across Kamehameha Highway I took an uncharacteristic (for me) tour of the Kualoa Mountain Range with only 5 people on the all-terrain bus. Cowboy, the driver, didn't hold back for one minute in his assertion that we were venturing through God's country and that we should thank the “man upstairs” for our view. For someone that hates being preached to, it was surprisingly refreshing to hear such unguarded candor. I sipped the nectar of the earth via a freshly hacked coconut at the Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm before driving back to hike to the summit of a lighthouse overlooking Makapu'u Beach and witnessed dozens of Humpback Whales migrating along the nearby shores of Oahu's windward side, which put EVERYTHING “back at the office” in perspective. I also finished an evening off with the best chicken shawarma I ever sank my teeth into at Da Falafel King foodstand back in Waikiki and on the subsequent morning chowed down on some Spam Musubi for a late breakfast. Only an island that makes miracles happen can turn something such as Spam into much a sought after delicacy. I took a free ukulele group lesson at PuaPua and witnessed a room full of smiling people with no regard for tone snicker at themselves with each strum. I dare anyone to find an instrument that incites universal happiness in the way a ukulele does. I'm not even touching on the tip of the proverbial iceberg here, neglecting to mention the wonder of the North Shore in the winter months, the ridiculously picturesque corridor of Kailua to Lanikai, the country feel of Makaha or the inland communities of the island.
The other attainable islands of Hawaii, including Maui, Big Island, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai offer more irrefutable evidence of introductory thesis, with more nature and less nurturing from the tourist industry and as the months go on you will get the opportunity to learn more about the island chain through special features on YAHglobal.Com. For those that don't subscribe to anything such as the Garden of Eden, Utopia, or any metaphor of the sort....simply believe in Hawaii. Your soul will thank you.
Wish You Were Here, Editor – YAHglobal.Com
post by : Editor - YAH Yaps