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Hawaii. First impressions.

Paradise.

Enough said.

It’s like America, but not.

When we first arrived, we picked up our rental car, drove out of the airport and immediately stopped at a Costco. It was almost exactly the same layout as our Costco in Denver, and it had pretty much all the same things, including Kim Crawford wine (yes!) and White Cheddar Pirate’s Booty (for Adeline). On our drive to the hotel we saw Home Depot, Panda Express, a police car, all the normal road signs, and even a “Click It or Ticket” sign. It’s exactly like anywhere else in America you’ve ever been.  Except that it’s not.

Get outside of the airport radius and the resort bubble and instead of feeling like suburbia, it feels like Central America or the South Pacific. The roadside stands, the banyan trees, the narrow roads, the strange cars and buildings overtaken by vegetation. Various places on the island remind me of other parts of the country, but taken in sum, there’s nothing quite like it. The islands run on “Hawaii time” which is apparently much slower than normal American time. Except that the locals like to drive fast. Which brings me to my next impression.

Poor road planning.

We drove the road to Hana yesterday, which was amazing. More on that later. Right now I just want to say that whoever is preventing the construction of a road from the back side of the Hana road to the road along the South coast (where the resorts are) is evil. We were probably about a 10 minute drive from our hotel, but there’s no connecting road, so we had to drive all the way to the north side of the island and back down, about an hour and fifteen minute drive. Adeline was tired and cranky and what would have been annoying became infuriating. Build a road. For real.

Hawaii Time, Baby.

On the other hand, we’re going along with this whole, “Hawaii time” thing. It started on Saturday with our trip here. We had planned that we would board the plane and Adeline would nap for the first hour or two of the flight and then be happy and well-rested. I think it would have happened, except that we got her all strapped in to her seat and then one of the engines wouldn’t work so we ended up sitting on the runway for an hour. At that point, the nap was lost. The flight was ok – we dealt with one major meltdown and some serious crankiness towards the end, but we made it. With our elaborate plan for adjusting to the new time zone totally screwed, though, we figured night time might be a nightmare.

She fell asleep in the car on the way to the hotel, which was 4:30 Hawaii time, 8:30 Denver time. In other words, bedtime. But 4:30 Hawaii time was way too early to go to bed. So when we got to the hotel we woke her up. She definitely wasn’t happy at first, but she rallied. We went to the beach, got some dinner and kept her up as late as possible. She still woke up at 4:00 A.M. on Sunday morning (and yesterday morning), but we worked with it. We did Haleakala on Sunday and the road to Hana yesterday. She napped in the car at times that were totally “off schedule”. She even took little cat naps multiple times a day. She ate random things at odd times and went to bed late. But you know what? It’s all working out. It’s Hawaii, baby, relax.

And that’s what we’re doing right now. And I’m loving it.

(More pictures, etc to come. I’m busy doing nothing right now.)

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