Over the past few decades, Hawaii has become one of the most coveted tourist destinations of the world due to its tropical weather and its thriving culture. With a rich history and a major city that is one of the remotest in the world (Honolulu), it has become a cultural icon of relaxation, recreation and blowing off steam. Yet before you dive into the Hawaii experience, let us share with you our list of the top six things to know about the tropical paradise.
This is an interesting way to kick off the list as even people who have already been to Hawaii sometimes manage to mistake Hawaiians for locals. So, to straighten this out, know that the Hawaiians are the people who have Hawaiian ancestry while the locals can be anything from Caucasians to Asians. In fact, the demographic statistics look like this: 50% Asian, 25% Caucasian, 15% mixed, 10% Hawaiian. For this particular reason, you are officially entering a melting pot of cultures and of customs.
For those of you who do not know, Hawaii is officially a US state. What this means is that English will get you by without problems. Yet in spite of that, Hawaiian is also an official language and words like “aloha” (meaning “hello” or “love”), mahalo (meaning “thank you”) or humuhumunukunukuapua’a might help you out a lot. Alright, that last one is just a joke-addition but for culture’s sake, know that it is a fish. Though most people will tell you only the aforementioned two meanings of “aloha”, it is in fact packed with a wide range of meanings pertaining to numerous aspects of life. It is almost an all-encompassing spiritual greeting that does not have a beginning or an end – it is omniscient in nature and very intangible. This is when the film “Arrival” comes into mind, for to truly come to understand a language means to have fully converted to its thought-patterns (even if it means stepping out of linear time). Do watch that movie and understand how deep a word like “aloha” can go!
3. Climate zones:
Hawaii is truly a fascinating place when it comes to weather for it possesses 8 different climate zones within its bounds. What this means is that you can go from stretching out on the beach to snowboarding in a single day. Does this sound exciting? Of course it does because sometimes, it is best to keep things rolling in a diverse fashion.
Yes, this is an aspect that most people do not talk about in detail. Kapu sites are traditional Hawaiian burial sites and they should be respected as such. For this particular reason, we recommend that you do not leave garbage there, do not step on the grounds and stay respectful. Do not be fooled by the natural environment and the rocks for they are tremendously important to the locals – they are, in fact, considered sacred sites.
Despite the fact that Honolulu, for example, is considered a major city, driving there is extremely calm and humble. People do not whizz past the sound barrier as if there was no tomorrow; they drive safely and patiently. If you happen to be stuck in a situation where you witness a great deal of frustration, you can safely assume that what you are looking at is a tourist in a rented car. Disregard them and go by the rules of Hawaii, for you are not going to regret the tranquil and serene attitude. Oh, and you can always walk around, if you have the time, because the local vistas are just phenomenal!
6. The code of the island:
While we have to bring it to you right away that Island Time actually exists, this is not what we are trying to get at. What we meant by that subtitle is that each island is different and its people will manifest diversity even more vividly. This is a beautiful thing to observe and from the people on the beaches of O’ahu to the dwellers of the valleys of Maui, you will see different facets of life all beaming with grandeur. Always ask about their local traditions (as in, on each island) and try to learn from their ways for they are truly inspiring. Oh, and if you happen to be a poet, a musician or any kind of artist, you will see that each island will grant you a different realm of inspiration. Feel free to take those sacred breaths from the generous islands and weave their wisdom into your magnum opuses.
Did you enjoy our list? What experiences have you had in Hawaii and how have they shaped your stay there? Tell us all about it in the comment section below and be sure to check back for some exciting updates! Happy island-hopping (wink)!