Hawaii – my personal paradise
As I already mentioned in my introduction I had the pleasure to work for a large tour operator in Germany and being in charge of the product of Hawaii. At times very challenging 5 years, but through this job I grew to really love the islands. And get some deep insight. Like probably for the most of you visiting Hawaii was one of my once in a lifetime dreams. In my imagination those islands were the closest you could get to paradise. Swaying palm trees, endless beaches and a tropical nature filled with flowers and enchanting smells. This is what it looked like in my head. Once I got there it got even better. Everything I dreamed of was there and more. Right after landing there was this guy greeting me with a friendly
Aloha! E komo mei!
and I instantly felt transported into another world. And that’s what this archipelago is. But you have to let it happen. I have seen a lot in my life and have put my foot on every continent of this planet. What can I say? The deepest impression left the people of Hawaii. Nowhere else have I met such friendly and affectionate people. The word Aloha stands not only for hello but has a much deeper meaning as it stands also for love, respect and friendship. Everybody here is ready to give you nothing less than this, but they also expect you to do the same in return. Of course they do have controversies here, but with some Aloha they can be solved easily. So if you ever come to Hawaii open up your heart and let the Aloha-spirit get to you, or even –as in my case- infect you.
Whenever I was visiting the islands I found the people that live here the most impressing. The tolerance they live should become a role model for all of us. Ever since Captain Cook as the first European landed here in 1778 there was a constant stream of people arriving from all over the world. It started with the Whalers that built staging posts in Lahaina and Honolulu to restock their provisions during their months long voyages. Then there were the missionaries from New England who brought the word of God to the “pagans”. But along with them came illnesses like the flu. Their children created plantations where they grew sugar cane and pineapple. Since they needed work force, they brought in people from China and Japan, but also from European countries like Portugal and others. They mingled and created a colorful mix in the population. Today most people still can tell you how much blood from which nation runs through their veins. This can sound like this: „ I am 30% Hawaiian, 30% Japanese, 20% Irish and 10% Chinese plus 10% German.” So when you have such detailed knowledge of your ancestry, you will find it hard to judge people just because of their origin. And you will learn to accept differences as completely normal. And this is something I find very impressive.
Anyone who comes to Hawaii for the first time, might be surprised to meet so many asian tourists. But if you consider the geographical situation of the islands, it is pretty obvious. Back in the old days, when Japan was doing economically extremely well, a lot of companies would go to universities to recruit new staff. And since work force was something rare, they would offer a trip to Hawaii including pocket money if their dream candidate would sign the contract. Well, those days are over and nowadays the Asian tourists are coming mostly from China and Korea. For those people the islands (and here mainly Waikiki on Oahu and Kaanapali on Maui) are a destination like Majorca or the Canary Islands for us Europeans. And actually I wonder sometimes, what an Asian tourist must think, when he comes to the “Schinkenstraße” in Palma de Mallorca, which is more of a German street than a street on a Spanish Island.
And if you then consider that there are several million visitors from Asia versus a few 100.000’s from Europe, you shouldn’t be surprised to find Miso soup on the breakfast buffet along with the usual eggs and bacon. This soup can be very tasty and if you are open to new things, you might want to try it.
Another important thing for those visitors from Europe. The Islands still are US-American soil. Even if you could forget that every once in a while, cause everything is different from the mainland. And obviously for economical reasons all hotels and suppliers will follow the taste of the majority in order to be successful. For a European this might seem a bit too much, like too Disney and fake. But hey if you are not ready for it, you don’t have to visit this paradise. Which brings us back to the tolerance theme.
Have you ever been ti Hawaii? Are you planning to go? Was this post helpful? I am looking forward to your comments.