Aloha from Hawaii!
Aloha from Hawaii!
As of January 27th, we are on US soil, breathing in the fresh Hawaiian air. We knew we had to make Hawaii the last stop on our world tour because it's our favorite place in the world. Even after seeing so many beautiful countries, the only place that rivals Hawaii is New Zealand. Hawaii just has a special place in our hearts. It was love at first sight 5 years ago when we first visited it. We came back 2 more times and visited Kauai and Maui. This is our 4th and longest visit and we could not be happier.
When we landed in Hawaii, we were not sure exactly what our plan would be. But after few days here we decided to give the job search a serious try. Since our first visit here we have been dreaming about living here. We prepped our resumes and cover letters and met with a recruiter. Unfortunately it is not that easy to match our accounting and finance experience to jobs available on the island. As of the time of publishing this post we have not found jobs and are planning to go back to NYC. But we are very happy we got to spend a good chunk of time in paradise and we can say that we come back home with no regrets.
Anyhow, here are some photos from our first days on the islands, mostly from Waikiki, as we had no car at that time. Four days after we landed Vlad's parents came for a week (next post - coming soon). After they left, my sister Gabi came to visit (future posts), and with her, we explored not only Oahu, but also Kauai and the Big Island.
Stay tuned for more posts and photos from the most beautiful place on earth.
Geography: Hawaii is located in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean 2,000 miles away from the continental United States. Hawaii is made up of eight main islands: Hawaii (Big Island), Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, Nihau, and Kahoolawe.
Population: 1.4 million people call Hawaii home, 953k of them live on Oahu. The US military reported 42k of its personnel on the island.
Demographics: 38.6% Asian, 24.7% White, 23.6% Two or More Races, 10% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders, 8.9% Hispanics and Latinos, 1.6% Black or African American, the rest is other.
Currency: USD bc it's 'Murrrica!
Official Languages: English and Hawaiian
Religion: 29% Christianity, 9% Buddhist, 0.8% Judaism, 10% Other, 51% Unaffiliated
Best Known for: world renowned vacation spot & popular honeymoon destination; beautiful islands with amazing beaches, spectacular mountains and volcanos. Other things that HI is famous for are the aloha spirit, Hawaiian print shirts, luaus, plumeria flowers, ukuleles, spam.
What We Noticed: the aloha spirit; beautiful scenery; warm weather; happy & beautiful people; love of fitness & healthy lifestyle; surfers; lots of Asian tourists (Japan, Korea); lots of Canadian snowbirds.
Interesting Facts: HI is the 50th and the most recent U.S. state to join the US in 1959, it is the 8th smallest state and the only one not located in North America. It is also the only state that grows coffee. President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Oahu. Hawaii alphabet consists of only twelve letters: A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P, W. The state fish of Hawaii is called humuhumunukunukuapua'a (try to say that out loud real quick). Lost series, Hawaii Five-0 series, Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Tropic Thunder, Forgetting Sarah Marshall were filmed in Hawaii.
We landed in Oahu at 9am and got picked up by our awesome friend Anita who Vlad once lived with back in Canada and who has been living in Hawaii for almost a decade. Even though I only had 45 min of sleep on the red eye flight, I did not care. I was wide awake (well, almost awake) and ready to see the island. First stop was a beautiful beach near Makapu'u lighthouse called Alan Davis beach. Happy to be breathing Hawaiian air again - with Anita (middle) and her friends. Diamond Head, a volcanic tuff cone, as seen from Waikiki Beach - both are icons of Oahu. Famous statue of Duke Kahanamoku who was an American competitive swimmer credited with spreading the sport of surfing. Isn't this a genius way of making money? The demand for $1 photos was high. Surfboards for rent on Waikiki Beach. Waikiki sunset. Every evening lots of people gather on Waikiki beach to watch the sunset. Surfers washing the salt of their bodies near the lagoon by Hilton Hawaiian Village. It's very common to see surfer boys and girls walking the streets of Waikiki, barefoot and in skimpy swimsuits. It looks something like this (iphone photos).
Royal Hawaiian (aka the Pink Palace of the Pacific), built in 1927 in Spanish/Moorish style is one of the oldest and most luxurious hotels in Waikiki. We walked around the spacious lobby and some shops. It's a very charming hotel. Their towels and umbrellas look a bit like from Victoria's Secret. Boats.
Fort Derussy Beach Park is a less touristy alternative to Waikiki beach. There is a large strip of grass in front of the beach. Beach strip here is very wide. Every day you can see at least one wedding or engagement photoshoot on the beach. Small lagoon near Hilton Hawaiian Village for those afraid of open waters. Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki is the equivalent of 5th Ave in NYC; there's lots of fancy designer stores. If you've got some money to burn, Kalakaua Avenue is your spot. Decoration inside the shopping center T-Galleria where tourist can do some duty free shopping. Cute hula girls. Colorful tourist trolley decorated with art by Heather Brown (whose art I really love). Guess what? The stereotype is true. Tourist and locals alike love the aloha shirt. Business casual in Hawaii means dress pants and a tasteful Aloha shirt. I really love that the tradition is still so widely embraced.
Lei is another beautiful tradition. Lei are usually presented upon arrival or departure or to express affection.
If you look down on the sidewalks in Waikiki you can learn some Hawaiian words.
Hawaiian quilt is a famous souvenir. The high quality pieces go for quite a penny. There is a lot of vintage style artwork in Hawaii; I especially like these old school postcards.
Pink Hibiscus is very common in Hawaii. So is the beautiful and fragrant plumeria. We went for a celebratory welcome dinner to Rum Fire at Sheraton where Vlad had this truffle burger. For breakfast we revisited the old school diner style Wailana Coffee House where I got this amazing cold oatmeal. Macadamia & banana pancakes with coconut syrup. Need I say more? I also tried green matcha latte at Kai Coffee Hawaii for the first and last time. It looked cute but tasted terrible. My replacement cortado coffee made up for it. (BTW, the headline in the newspaper relates to Australia.) Every Friday night at 7:45pm there are fireworks by the lagoon at Hilton Hawaiian Village. It's a festive way to start the weekend.
So that's just a few photos from our first days in Honolulu. Stay tuned as we explore the island and venture out to more remote spots. Mahalo for reading!
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