America Through My Eyes

Hawaiian Islands – Part 1

Telugu Original : Dr K.Geeta 

English Translation: V.Vijaya Kumar

          Ever since coming to America, whenever there was a question of where we would go for this vacation, the first proposal that struck everyone at home was the Hawaiian Islands. 

          From California, which is on the west coast of America, the Hawaiian Islands can be reached by a five-six-hour flight to the west in the Pacific Ocean.

          Two things need to be taken into account to get there. Airfare for the entire family and two minimum week-long vacations. The first one is very important. No matter how many times we tried to get flight tickets for the children when we had a vacation, we had to give up as the fares were not less than seven to eight hundred dollars per person.

          Hawaii is a group of many islands. From San Francisco to any one of the Hawaiian Islands, round-trip tickets for four people cost up to four to five thousand, and from there to another island, it costs two or three hundred per person, altogether another thousand to twelve hundred dollars.

          Two days of travelling to and fro, and staying there for at least five days, hotels, car, meals, entrance tickets for sightseeing, and other expenses will cost another three to four thousand dollars and the gross comes to ten thousand dollars.

          If you calculate all these, it will be equal to going from America to India. So our journey is getting postponed every time.

          The children start talking about going for a week-long spring break vacation in April. No need to say what the proposal is!

          A month earlier, in March, we saw the details of the flight tickets to Hawaii as usual. At the last minute, we went to their travel website and saw that “Cast Co” had a “Hawaii deal”. We were surprised to see the deal.

          That’s a package for four people to visit two islands for around four thousand dollars. One of those two islands is the island of Oahu, where the capital city of Honolulu is located. Another is the “Big Island” or “Maui Island” or another island called “Hawaii Island”. The package includes round-trip fares from San Francisco, round-trip tickets from one island to another, hotel expenses for five days, and car rental included. Normally four thousand dollars is a big amount, but it is less than half of the usual ten thousand to go to Hawaii, so it is a very good deal.

          We booked without further delay. Although travelling with a baby like Siri who runs everywhere randomly is very difficult, we did not think anything before such a good deal.

          The Hawaiian Islands are a group of eight main islands, but a cluster of about 135 smaller islands. The first question that arises when you want to see Hawaii is which island to go first. In my opinion, the capital city Honolulu is the right option, regarding the other, we thought of deciding by looking at the package.

          One of the options in the Honolulu package is the Big Island, Maui Island is a must-see. The Big Island is famous for its volcanoes. It is home to the famous “Hawaiian Space Observatory”. Mavi is the key to natural beauty and is famous for hiking. The beauty of the sea coast in both places is worth seeing. Satya and Varu insist on seeing the volcanoes. The observatory is a must-see for me. So, in our package, Big Island and Honolulu joined. Children yearned to see the warm sea for years. It is too cold to dip feet in the sea in our area. Knowing that there is a warm sea in Hawaii, everyone has become highly enthusiastic.

          And while booking the package tour, there was another snag. We have to decide the number of days on which island we want to stay while booking online.

          In the two islands, we chose out of the five days we have, to spend 3 days in one place and 2 days in the other. After a glance at the information found online, we decided to spend 3 days on the Big Island where we would land first, and then 2 days on the other island. No matter what package you take, Honolulu is the main city. So we thought that we could see it thoroughly whenever we go next time.

          Along with the flight, a car was also booked. We put the option of an ordinary car that we found at that time tentatively. We thought that we could see it completely whenever we went next time.

          Once the booking was done, the next task was to pack everything for the trip. That’s always my job. swimming suits, a car seat for Siri etc.

          I heard it rains in the Hawaiian Islands in April, so I prefer only clothes that dry easily even if they get wet.

          It is usual to keep on preparing until the day of travel even if I do a little bit of packing every day. That’s why I reserved it 2 days before our departure as I was very busy with my work.

          Everyone is more excited than any trip we have done so far.

          Our package had non-direct flights with more stops and no side-by-side seats. We didn’t pay attention to that issue until we boarded. On the day of departure, we started from San Francisco and flew to Los Angeles, about 400 miles south from there we took a flight to Hawaii.

          A direct flight from the West Coast is five and a half hours. As it was a roundabout journey including waiting, our journey was delayed that day.

          We reached San Jose Airport for the noon flight in the afternoon. We boarded the flight to reach Kona International Airport on the Big Island after a two-hour wait at the Los Angeles airport.

          In our five to six-hour journey, seats were allotted in different places. Siri can’t bear her daddy’s absence. If both of them sit somewhere, when she needs a bathroom, I or Varu should need to help. So, before boarding the flight, I managed the counter to get the seats next to each other and changed every time throughout our journey.

          I didn’t travel this much ever before except when I came to India and New York. They were engrossed in watching movies in the seats including Siri for all those hours. I spent almost all of my time clinging to the window until the plane passed through the fog, looking at the beautiful scenery in the sky, watching the flight route live on my screen, and writing my serial episodes to Kaumudi.

          We landed at Kona International Airport that night. We laughed at the sight of the airport imagining the airports seen everywhere in America.

          The plane had steps to get down. We grabbed our luggage and entered the airport. It reminded me of the Begumpet I saw for the first time as a child and like a large bus stop in open-air sheds.

          When we got down there it was nine o’clock, in San Francisco, it was noon in the night. So we felt sleepy and lethargic. The children were almost exhausted! 


(to be continued)

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