This is a guest post by Nazeli K. Kyuregyan
Heavenly beaches and orchid leis, aloha-shirted tourists and film-star mansions, handsome surfers and hula dancers are just a few of the most common Hawaiian stereotypes.
But, as with most stereotypes, they only depict a tiny part of the truth. Some essential Hawaiian vocabulary will help you discover the genuine Hawaii!
The famous greeting, also meaning ‘love’, characterizes the friendly Hawaiians. This melting pot of Polynesians, Asians, Europeans, and Americans is best represented at Oahu Island – the meeting point of tradition and progress.
If you are not attracted by Honolulu’s five-star man-made wonders, hike to the top of the extinct Diamond Head volcano. If the famous Waikiki beach is not to your taste, picnic at the shy Kailua Beach. Have a cultural expedition to the Hawaii State Art Museum, the magnificent Polynesian Art Centre and the Valley of the Temples.
Spoil your palate at any of the restaurants serving the Hawaii Regional Cuisine or get yourself a heaping plate of fresh jumbo prawns from one of the shrimp trucks on the road to the North Shore.
The Shore is the top surfing destination where, if somehow the 9-meter waves fail to induce you to your very first surfing lesson, you can al least sit on the golden sands and observe the surfing aces.
Feel the mana, see the anuenu…
Hawaii or the Big Island is a true adventure island. All but two of the world’s climatic zones are present on the biggest member of the Hawaiian Archipelago: from endless beaches to rain forests, majestic volcanoes and snow-capped peaks, dried-lava deserts and hidden waterfalls.
Travel through the rainforest down the Saddle Road that divides two impressive mountains. The Manua Kea, with its 10,000 m, is the highest sea mountain on Earth and the ideal stargazing location.
Have some perfumed Kona-grown coffee on Hamakua’s black beaches and prepare for an extraordinary experience: the tête à tête with Kilauea – the most active volcano on the planet.
At the Volcano National Park, you will walk inside craters, see hot lava pour into the ocean, travel down the Thurston Lava Tube and feel the great mana or spiritual power.
Ancient spirits are also present at Puukohola Heiau – the human sacrifice temple built in honor of god Ku. In the meantime, nurture your own spirit with a panoramic walk at the orchid-invaded town of Hila and go somewhere over the anuenu (or rainbow) at Rainbow Falls.
It’s all about holoholo, malama aina and haupia!
Holoholo, or a walk for travel and fun is what you’ll enjoy on the other four Hawaiian Islands.
Kauai’s malama aina (or caring for the land) attitude makes it a perfect eco-destination. Zip lining and mountain tubing will help you explore its tropical forests, lakes and Walmea Canyon. Kayak amid dolphins and sea turtles and watch out for the endangered Hawaiian monk seals.
In Maui, stand on top of the “house of the sun”, the Haleakala volcano, to meet the magenta sunrise. The humpback whales – huge and very easy to spot, proudly represent Maui’s sea life.
Swim next to eccentric fish and giant manta rays while snorkeling or scuba diving in the transparent waters around Lamai Island.
Get off the beaten path to see the small villages of Molokai – the most traditional Hawaiian island where no building is higher than a coconut tree. Have a mule ride in its picturesque wilderness and bonus yourself with plenty of haupia or coconut pudding.
A moeuhane come true
You will soon realize Hawaii is a true moeuhane, a dream. A few days after you step foot here you will somehow feel at home, the Hawaiian language won’t sound as strange to your ear and you will actually pronounce Kuka’ilimoku and Humuhumunukunukuapua’a like a local!
About the Author:
Nazeli K. Kyuregyan is currently studying Publishing and Journalism at the University of Verona in Italy. Her multicultural background and passion for traveling have convinced her that the discovery of new cultures is an essential key to understanding ourselves.
Images provided by the author.
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