From one water view to another. I’ve just experienced the extremes of watery living; from the recent flood waters which assailed us from the end of November last year through to the New Year and the lulling ocean off Waikiki, Honolulu.

Visiting Honolulu, Hawaii for my brother’s wedding was an experience. It’s skyscraper city; noisy (the surf like noise is actually the roaring sound of numerous air-con units atop high rises), busy with tourists (picture weevils spilling from a wheat silo) and like most tourist spots, pricey. Food servings although overly plentiful are not good value when compared to Australian food in terms of quality and ingredients (we are definately spoilt), although alcohol is quite good value. Everything for purchase has a  tax placed on top of advertised prices  and of course tipping is derigour. On a number of occassions I was asked for a tip before I even opened my wallet, with 15-20% being the standard amount. Now I know how some of the bigger US companies have made their billions, everyone else is paying their staff! Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed my quick trip however it’s a good ten years since I was in the US of A and I’d forgotten the added extra’s that tend to creep up on travellers . On the plus side people including tourists of all ages and nationalities are mostly polite and happy. No barging into lifts on this island state and men still stand back and let women go before them. Yep, I’m old fashioned.

It’s a happy, friendly place. It was also winter over there. The days were a coolish 23-24 degrees with nights around 18 degrees and the sun was soft and welcoming. Of course you could pick the Australian’s a mile off. We were the ones down on the beach with hats, block out, zinc and rashies! I had the added bonus of the infamous bushie shorts and sock tan which took five days to dull down from an impressive baby white to a more respectable pale brown.

The first ancestors of todays Hawaiians followed the stars across the sea in outrigger canoes to Hawaii, the land they called ‘the land of raging fire’. The continually active volcano on the big island ‘Hawaii’, (we were on Oahu) rates a mention in the daily newspaper and our planned helicopter trip across the active crater was cancelled due to the unstable weather and poor visability from the volcanic ash. Early Hawaiian’s built temples, fishponds and aqueducts to irrigate taro plantations, with each island becoming a separate kingdom with royalty and ritual human sacrifices to appease the gods. This is the place where Captain Cook and four of his crew were speared and eaten in 1779. Some habits it seems are hard to give up. My tip, spend a few days in Waikiki and then jump islands to Maui. With half the population of Oahu it’s far more relaxing (so they tell me). If you do ever go I can definately recommend the lychee martini’s! Next week I’ve got some interesting pics of Pearl Harbour to share. Untill then… aloha.

Mum, brother John and the beaming bride.