Is there anybody out there who has NOT dreamed about at least once going to Hawaii? The TV series “Hawaii 5-0” and many movies filmed on these beautiful islands with some of the highest mountains in the world (measured from the ocean bottom), the many waterfalls and, for the history buff, the books about Captain Cook and Pearl Harbour have inspired generations, and they still do. Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the highest waves attracting world class surfers, the infamous ‘Road to Hana’, the drive up to Haleakala to see the most incredible sunrise and the rare silver thistle growing up there in the cold, the active volcano Kilauea, the pineapple fields, the romantic music and the Hula dancers telling stories with their movements and hands attract thousands of visitors year round.
I just came back from a two-week holiday on Maui. After probably fifteen visits to the different Hawaiian Islands Maui has become a favourite and the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel our ‘home away from home.’ Why this hotel? Because the KBH is the most Hawaiian of all the Hawaiian hotels, employing Hawaiians with a team spirit that lets the visitor wonder who is actually in charge. You never notice it. The word ‘Aloha’ means many things: Love, compassion, affection, good wishes, hello, good bye and many more. The hugs you receive when coming back show you that you are part of the ‘Ohana’, – the Hawaiian family. At the end of your first holiday you receive a dark kukui nut lei (necklace), and each time you come back a pale beige kukui nut replaces a black one. Just count the beige nuts, add one year and you know how often a guest has been there. Since the employees wear these leis as well you wonder why so many have only light nuts around their neck. Those who do have been working there for 25 years and longer, no room anymore for black nuts…and everyone greets you with a big smile and ‘Aloha’, is happy and incredibly helpful. They truly make you welcome and feel like family.
The best thing about KBH along the famous Ka’anapali Beach with well-known hotels like the Westin, Hyatt, Sheraton, Marriott and many others is the very large green space with old trees, the privacy and choice you have to tan in the sun or rest in shade, unlike the other hotels where beach chairs are lined up side by side with no room to move. Free daily activities like pineapple cutting demonstrations, sand images, Hawaiian language instruction, cultural garden walks, lei making from flowers or leaves, leaf weaving, kiddies programs, ukulele lessons, singing, storytelling and last, but not least, hula dancing, which, next to the language lessons, is my favourite. Did you know that the Hawaiian language only has five vowels and 7 consonants in their alphabet? That’s why many words seem to be doubled up: “Humu humu nuku nuku apua’a” That’s the name of the Hawaiian Statefish! Naturally the grounds face onto the beach and the approximately two km long beach walk is the delight of all morning joggers and remains busy all day. If you see a group of people staring out to sea you know they are watching the whales playing, jumping, blowing and waving their tail greetings.
I needed a holiday. I was stressed out after my book “We Don’t Talk About That” came out in April 2014 and kept me very busy with lectures, book signings, book readings and mail from all over the world demanding or asking me for a second book, the continuation after a rather “abrupt” ending of my WWII memoir. Do you know what happened the second day?
You guessed it. A beautiful Hawaiian lady approached me asking if it would be possible to get together with several of her friends and her husband who had read my book and had questions…Another of my Hawaiian friends waited to have her book signed by me only to be asked by a guest from Minnesota who overheard our conversation to loan it to her to read on her trip home. With her ‘Aloha’ compassion she could not say “no”. She was promised that it would be sent back – I hope she receives it soon!
“Aloha”, my friends!
“We Don;t Talk About That” can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, Coles, iTunes, Kobo, FriesenPress