Is Hawaii stolen land
The distant paradise
A gentle seduction for a really long journey: wonderful beaches, numerous natural spectacles and the unique aloha lifestyle beckon to Hawaii.
First we cross a stormy North Atlantic and the seemingly endless ice deserts of Greenland. The frozen Hudson Bay shows us that we are reaching Canada. We make a stopover in bitterly cold Chicago. With a new machine we conquer fly-over-country, the US Midwest, then the glaciers of the Rocky Mountains and the deserts of Nevada, finally penetrate into the blue universe of the Pacific.
When traveling westward across more than eleven time zones, the sun is usually nailed to the sky. The service routines on the plane are the last remaining change, when all the newspapers have been read, all conversations have been held and all films have been seen. But then, finally, deep under the United Airlines Boeing 777, dark green spots actually appear in the vastness of the ocean: a country born from the fire of volcanoes, only 25 to 40 million years old. So this is them, the islands of Hawaii.
The entrance to paradise can also look like a gate to hell. This is a bit unfair to Honolulu International Airport on the island of Oahu, which is an airport like many others in the States. The traffic jams on the roads to the world-famous Waikiki Beach with its luxury hotels are just as tough a reality. A little later, however, we are already sitting with a drink on the terrace of the "Under the Banyan Tree at the Moana" and enjoying a sunset of the highest kitsch class at exactly thirteen minutes after six o'clock. From the open-air stage a hundred meters further on, hula music can be heard over the sandy beach lined with palm trees, women and men with colorful leis, the famous wreaths of flowers, around their necks sway slowly to the beat. A gentle, warm tropical wind caresses the skin, which has been stressed by the dry air in the air, slowly the tension of the long journey falls away, we finally really arrive.
Pearl Harbor is also a place that actually has no place in paradise. Every child in the United States knows the events of December 7, 1941, the "day of shame" on which Japanese bombers destroyed the US Pacific fleet in the port of Honolulu. Today, more peaceful visitors are brought out in boats into the harbor, where the wreckage of the USS Arizona, which has sunk in the mud, is still a mass grave of over 1,000 sailors: A somewhat creepy history and memorial lesson, given by the predominantly American tourists with patriotic seriousness is celebrated. Colorful fish circle around the rusted remains of the battleship, from which oil is still leaking 75 years after its explosion - it mixes as a colored veil with the wreaths of flowers that are thrown into the water as a souvenir.
However, almost everything else that can be done on and around Waikiki Beach is just plain fun. How about watching baby humpback whales just offshore? Or a 40-minute helicopter tour to the highlights of the island? A tour on historical traces through old Honolulu is interesting. Hawaii has only been a US state since 1959. The life of the natives had changed forever on January 20th, 1778, when Captain James Cook discovered the islands by chance. Before, life here was actually a bit comparable to that in a fictional paradise: The climate was mild, the land was fertile and the sea was full of fish. After contact with modernity, Hawaii lost 90 percent of its population to epidemics within 100 years, and their culture was practically destroyed.
In the helicopter over Oahu
To find the modern South Seas paradise, however, you have to leave Oahu and Waikiki. Kauai, the oldest Hawaiian island, is such a beauty, a huge tropical garden that has served as a backdrop for countless film productions. The picture-book village of Hanapepe, for example, formed the stage for the "thorn birds". Large nature reserves like the one around Waimea Canyon are supposed to ensure that humans do not again step towards the destruction of paradise. The spectacular canyon was probably once created by a gigantic earthquake that split Kauai in half. Another fantastic excursion is a trip by tourist boat or kayak across the rainforest on the Wailua River.
Hawaiian or other airlines and the short flight times make island hopping a pleasure. Our next stop is the actual island of Hawaii, which everyone calls the Big Island. The world's most active volcano, Kilauea, ensures that you can look to Mother Nature while creating the world, so to speak. People like to stay to themselves here: fewer people live on the Big Island than in Linz. When the going gets tough, there is only one way they can react to the forces from inside the earth: by running away. The Big Island is also the cradle of Hawaiian royalty and the home of Kona coffee. During a 265-mile loop around the island, you can taste it at the first stop in the early morning. That gives us strength and stamina for a long, extremely interesting day, which Hilary, retired us marine, leads us through as a bus chauffeur and tour guide. Hilary talks like a waterfall, which we think is good because we learn a lot about life on the islands. For example about the meaning of the mighty word "Kapu", laws that are based on spirituality, meaningful interaction with nature and an orderly society. And we also pass the "Puuhonua o Honaunau" sanctuary: Nearby, Captain Cook was killed by locals in the course of the dispute over a stolen rowing boat.
The highlight, however, is a visit to the volcanic crater. Pele, the goddess of fire, is said to have come from a land at the far end of the sea in a canoe. Even today, people tell each other, she lives in a crater of Kilauea, the longest continuously active volcano in the world. Reality is no less exciting than this legend: the peak of the volcano, Mauna Loa, is 17 kilometers above the sea floor. If you are lucky, with the help of guides at Kilauea you can get very close to places where lava flows with a great roar into the Pacific.
The idea of paradise becomes reality during a trip to Hawaii on Maui. There are more beaches here than on any other island. There are beautiful hotels on palm-fringed beaches or cool places like Ho‘okipa, the place of pilgrimage for surfers. If 617 curves and 56 single-lane bridges are not put off, you can reach the remote town of Hana on a unique coastal road - across the tropical rainforest, in which freshwater pools tempt you to take a refreshing dip under a waterfall. And from the next vantage point, you can watch humpback whales make spectacular leaps. Now, February, is the high point of the whale season, which runs from December to May, when the Alaskan humpback whales come to warmer climes. The west coast is particularly suitable for whale watching. Excursions by boat, where you can get really close to the marine mammals, start, for example, from Lahaina Harbor in the city of the same name. On all islands, prices are around 20 percent higher than on the US mainland. And yet there are also regions on Maui like those around Kihei, where you can vacation at reasonably priced in wonderful surroundings. Wailea, on the other hand, is the territory of the rich and beautiful: Britney Spears, Tiger Woods, Clint Eastwood, all of them have their modest dwellings here. Getting married at sunset, Sunset Wedding, is the big event, even if not all ties to which "Yes!" breathed, always last a lifetime.
A young, peaceful, appreciative lifestyle is present everywhere on Maui. The "aloha" is not a "hello" in our sense of the word. It symbolizes charity, unanimity, kindness, humility and patience. When you return home from a trip to Hawaii with a little more of it, you have not only found distant paradise, but you are also one step closer to true happiness at home.
The ÖAMTC travel agency offers special trips to Hawaii. All information and bookings at the ÖAMTC travel agencies and on tel. 0810 120 120.
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