My eighth-grade graduation was coming up, and my mom wanted her and me to go on a trip. She received settlement money from the motel selling as part of the separation from my dad. She wanted to splurge on something nice, even though she was blowing through the money like crazy. I told her I would have been content going to Mackinac Island in the upper Michigan peninsula.
Nope. Mom wanted to go big. She insisted that we should go to Hawaii. I wasn’t all that thrilled because my mind believed there were tarantulas and other poisonous what not on the islands. She pushed the issue not because it was what I wanted to do but what she wanted. There was no convincing her otherwise, so she planned the trip two weeks after I graduated.
It was my first long plane trip. I took plenty of plane rides between where I lived in Canada to Chicago which usually took approximately three hours total flying. Hawaii was eight hours from Chicago, and it was a nonstop flight. We arrived sometime in the afternoon Hawaiian time.
Mom set it up that we would tour three of the islands. The first island we visited was Oahu. One of our stops was to see Pearl Harbor. It is a somber sight. As we ferried towards the memorial, I had the sense of uneasiness. We disembarked off the boat and unto the memorial where no one said a word. I looked down the one side of the open area and could see the USS Arizona. I wanted to leave. I think the Asperger’s in me could sense the travesty. At one point, I felt as though I had to puke. I was relieved to leave and head back.
We got back to the hotel where we changed and headed to the beach. I felt relaxed sitting on the beach listening to the waves. I didn’t go out into the water very far due to my inability to swim. I enjoyed every moment of it. The bits and pieces I recall of Oahu were trips to pineapple farms, seeing gorgeous scenery, and a luau.
We left Oahu and headed to the next island to visit which was Kauai. The island had breathtaking views but not a lot of tour things to do. One of our adventures my mom paid for us to take our first helicopter ride. I thought I would experience the same uneasiness as Pearl Harbor, but it turned out to be fantastic. The pilot allowed me to ride next to him while my mom and five others on our tour sat in the back. I got the bird’s eye view. The pilot flew out towards the ocean a bit than swept back to the mountains. He flew us near waterfalls and over the endless forested area. I was in awe the entire flight.
My lasting memories of Kauai I had were the scenery, almost getting swept away by a riptide, eaten alive by mosquitoes and getting a second-degree sunburn. In spite of some of my body feeling miserable, I enjoyed every minute of it. Our time on Kauai came to an end.
Our last island to visit was Maui. The scenery was not as magnificent as Kauai but had more to offer as far as things to do. Mom and I got along fine on the entire trip. The trip was relaxing for us. Our tour guide mentioned how people go to Hawaii and leave less tensed.
The best part I liked about Maui was the tour we took called the Road to Hana. We left early in the morning and did not return until eight hours later. The trip consisted of our tour group and another one. Two vans drove us along a narrow road throughout the island. We made several stops to check out the local fare. It is a scenic drive. One minute we were driving in a lush tropical forest than a few miles it was desert.
The tour guide explained how the different areas got affected by rain or lack of it. The scariest part of the drive was the steep road climbing towards one of the mountain areas. The van had barely enough room to fit on the road, and one side was a hundred foot or more drop. The drivers knew what they were doing. Part of the tour was for the drivers to act like they didn’t know how to maneuver, and added the effect like we were going to plummet. We made it safely to the top and began the descent on the other side of the mountain.
We got back to the hotel in one piece. It was a long drive but well worth it. Again, I can’t recall the other things I had done in Maui. I know I waded in the ocean a few more times before having to pack up and head home. I grew to love the place even though I had been dead set on going. I almost didn’t want to return home. Perhaps I found peace while in Hawaii, something I hadn’t felt since I left Canada. I believe it was the surroundings of Hawaii and reminding me of nature. It is two completely different environments but none the less nature is nature. My body, mind, and spirit needed a reconnect.