This is an ordinary picture I took a few years ago with my ordinary camera. I was near Kaneohe on Oahu and I found this particular spot was almost magical with the tall palms and the clear water streaming down from the Koolau mountains.
I happened to see a piece in the Sunday newspaper that said Parade Magazine was looking for pictures from which they would select the 100 most beautiful spots in the United States, so I sent off a picture very much like this one.. I forgot about it, but weeks later I had a letter from Parade Magazine saying my picture was chosen one of the 100 . . and they sent me $100.
Beautiful pictures are everywhere you look on these islands, although I must tell you a typical story.
One day I walked down to the beach in Waikiki and sat outside a sandwich shop for lunch. I was joined by a tourist couple who had just arrived, and were busy looking up and down the busy street and nearby beach scene. They had just come from the busy airport and driven through the busy city. The freeway and the city streets were filled with people going home from work.
“This is not what I expected,” she said.
I supposed she might have expected to see girls hula dancing outside bamboo huts.
“Remember,” I said, “you are in a city.”
Others have told me they thought Honolulu had become too “commercialized.” And I had an answer for that, which I now told to my lunch-mates.
The islands of Hawaii are among the most beautiful in the world. Everyone would like to go there, and great numbers do make at least one visit. Many return time after time. So, where will they sleep? Where will they eat? If you think about it, this helps explain the Honolulu skyline. Also, almost 1 1/2 million people live in Honolulu, and great numbers of people drive in from outer island to work.
The lunchers had rented a car and I volunteered to show them a different scene. The next day we drove around Diamond Head and began a breath-taking tour, driving close to the ocean, following it’s curves and turns. We stopped to see the blowhole, to see the surfers at wild Sandy Beach, We went through quiet villages, where you might stop for local food, for shave-ice, or for beautiful seashells. We visited the Valley of the Temples, a place so full of peace and beauty you feel it and take it with you.
Now we were following the twists and curves of the shoreline, looking out on every possible shade of aqua and emerald green with touches of white foam. To our left we began to see the mountains, high with sharp ridges. And always along the roadways were lush green shrubs and trees of every kind, every shade of green, and many flush with flowers (plumeria, African tulip). I left some of the best parts . . like the north shore, with it’s monster surf . . for these nice tourists’ later ventures. Your best memories are of the places you discovered by yourself.
We did stop, however, at the very spot where I took the above picture. The beauty of this area is the kind that gives you chills.
But, back to the city. they would be surprised, I knew, at the marvelous things to discover and to see . . like the Iolani Palace, the only palace in the USA and the ancient Hawaiian church where the missionaries are buried in the cemetery close by . Music . . music . . music. Hawaiians are natural singers and they have danced since childhood. Wonderful museums. And, of course, Pearl Harbor. This sort of thing, of course, after swimming and sunning on the traditional beaches of Waikiki. All beaches are public here, so you can enjoy any stretch of sand in front of the most elegant hotels.
I’m sorry. I do get carried away and go on and on about precious subjects. I shall stop now and go to my lanai, watching for whales at sunset.