I was only eight when my grandmother and I boarded the plane to Hawaii. My uncle was living there at the time and we were headed over summer vacation to visit. It was so long ago that my memories have faded, but a few things I remember very vividly. I can’t get to the scrapbook and photo album I still have of our trip, but I’ll see what I can dredge up from the depths of my memory and stock photos.
Before we landed in Hawaii, I remember looking out the window and seeing the runways. They appeared very small to me and I was contemplating what would happen if the plane kept going off the end and into the ocean. Before I could check to see where this “flotation device” the flight attendant was telling us about actually was, we were on the ground and exiting the plane. Outside of the airport, a beautiful smiling woman covered in flowers placed a lei around my neck.
We went on a dinner cruise one of our first days there. I remember people in hula skirts singing and dancing while we were eating a meal, but not much else. I wish I remembered what we ate. I bet it was yummy.
It was daylight when we left and we could see Diamond Head from the boat. I remember standing at the railing and watching for dolphins and sharks, but I never saw any.
The vivid memory I have of the boat is on the way back to shore. The sun was starting to set and it was an amazing sight. I don’t remember seeing a sunset that completely before. Just sky until it met the ocean, the ocean reflecting the setting sun and brilliant hues back at the sky. It was breathtaking even for an eight-year-old.
I know from pictures in my photo album that we visited the Dole plant. There are pictures of us standing in a huge field of pineapples, but I don’t remember anything about it.
The taste of the pineapples I remember. I’ve always loved pineapples, but the flavor was… more intense is the only way I can describe it.
My uncle had a mango tree in his back yard, so I tried mango for the first time. It was heavenly. I ate mangoes every day, sometimes several times a day. I’m surprised I didn’t pick the poor tree bare.
Mangoes are still one of my favorites. Mangoes from the store just aren’t as good as those backyard mangoes though.
I remember star fruit! I couldn’t get enough star fruit.
Star fruit is fairly juicy and I remember it being more sour than sweet.
I’ve only had star fruit once since then, that I can remember. I haven’t seen them in the store in years. I’m going to have to make sure to keep an eye out for them now so I can see if they taste like I remember.
I remember eating a lot of macadamia nuts, too. Plain, chocolate covered, dipped in honey, I think I tried them almost every way they were offered.
Other than being able to order a hamburger at McDonald’s with pineapple on it, I don’t remember anything else about the food. I wish I did.
We saw Waikiki Beach several times, but I don’t believe we actually did more than look. My uncle opted to stay away from the crowds and took us to a more secluded beach.
My uncle and grandmother were so concerned with making sure that I was constantly covered in suntan lotion, that I guess they forgot about themselves. They both had painful, peeling sunburns after our day on the beach and I was fine.
We went to Pearl Harbor, walked through a submarine, and watched a film at the memorial of the USS Arizona. I have a replica of the newspaper from 1941 . I don’t recall these things so much as I know we did them.
I do remember standing at the memorial and looking down into the water for a long time. I kept thinking, “There are people down there,” over and over. It was a somber place. Eerie.
I have a few photo like memories of twisted trees and exotic birds, but I think I’ve tapped my brain on our Hawaiian trip. I’d love to go back sometime and see it again with an adult eye.