Graffiti, rundown buildings, and lunar landscape engulfed my eyes as I ventured along the islands. I was not expecting to see any of those features at all! My family and I traveled to Hawaii in July of 2012. Not having been there before, we were expecting a lush, green place everywhere. As we flew to Phoenix and then to Hawaii on U.S. Airways, the land I was picturing on the roughly eleven hour flight was drastically different.
On Oahu, we stayed in Waikiki. The hotel was located right across from a Cheesecake Factory, which we took advantage of, of course! However, my sister and I were still baffled about the whole atmosphere of Hawaii.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Everyone says it is the best, most gorgeous place on the planet, but we were in a city with hotels and buildings around and we passed many old buildings on the highway to get here. Where were the tropical plants and birds? Where was all the green foliage? Many lawns were browning and other than the friendliness of the birds and a few neat plants, where was the diversity of that? Do not get me wrong. Oahu was very beautiful! The water was clear, although not as much as I expected, and the sky was a pretty blue. As we walked down the streets of Waikiki, I grew to like it more. I love city life, and I much prefer a diverse group of people, which is definitely what is in Hawaii! The whole Oahu experience made me realize that what one hears and sees is not always true. People embellish stories and photos can be enhanced and distorted with programs such as Photoshop. At the end of our stay at Oahu, I did not want to part with the beautiful island. I learned beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
After my visit to Oahu, I took off for Maui on a Hawaiian Airlines flight. I was in shock by how much different this island was! There was definitely less commercial areas and less people all around. I took the meandering road to Hana, where I almost got sick! Hana had very few people living there, but it amazed me that anyone even lived there! It would take forever to get home or go out. Despite that downing fact, Hana has bamboo forests, rain forests, and the tropical vegetation that was missing on Oahu. It was stunning! I learned to appreciate my surroundings more and also to understand people a little better and their motives to want to live in such an isolated place.
The last part that stunned me about Hawaii was the view at the top of Haleakala! This site was yet again difficult to get to. It took a few hours from our Wailea Beach Marriott to the top of the volcano on roads that wrapped back and forth. These were much less severe than the road to Hana though, so my family could handle it easily this time. After some sleep and picture taking, we arrived at the top of Haleakala. It was so unique! It looked as we just landed our car on the moon! I was above the clouds looking down at craters on lunar landscape. It was spectacular! I never envisioned seeing something this breathtaking on an island I thought was extremely lush even to the top of the volcano! This trip has inspired me to continue traveling and exploring. Even when someone thinks they know what an area is like, each tourist has a unique experience that sometimes cannot be described!
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