Monday, June 19, 2023


As part of my journal entry for my 2014 trip to Germany, I wrote about the January 2012 trip my family took to Hawaii. This is presented (mostly) as it appears in the book.

Photos can be found on Flickr.


I flew out of Philadelphia and my parents and brother flew out of Pittsburgh. As it turned out, we had a shared layover in Phoenix before we were to depart for San Diego on separate planes. To make a mildly interesting story short, after some pleas that fell on deaf ears, my plane had mechanical trouble and I was moved to my parent’s plane anyway.

We arrived in San Diego, briefly caught up with one of my father’s friends over beer and fried fish, and spent the night. Next stop: Oahu!

All went well and we were greeted with leas at the airport. My timeline is a bit fuzzy, so I’ll just detail what we did on the island, even if it happened after visiting Kawaii or the Big Island.

We traipsed about the tourist city for a bit, visiting beaches, shops, and, in a brotherly bonding moment, an IHOP. At some point, we caught a bus and visited the Capitol Building (it’s in the shape of a volcano) and the other palaces. I believe we also had some Loco Moco at this point. We visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial and we were impressed.

At some point - and I’m fairly certain this happened after the excursions to the other islands - we took a road trip which circumnavigated Oahu, stopping at several beaches and tourist traps along the way. I can officially say I’ve swam in the Pacific and had “Hawaiian Shaved Ice” in Hawaii. We hung out with another of my father’s friends and his wife, and we went to Wal-Mart. I met eyes with a girl who was taking a piss in a parking lot 100 yards away from a bathroom and 250 yards away from the ocean. Oahu had a lot to offer.

In Kawaii, we roamed north to see the trails where Jurassic Park was filmed (and saw some whales while trekking them). We also roamed south to see some geologic formations. Kawaii, in one word, consisted of chickens. Holy shit, so many chickens. Also there were a lot of Hawaiian Independence Flags flying on this island.

On the Big Island, we did touristy things in the northern tourist city. We took a helicopter trip to view some lava flows and the like. We also took an amphibious boat tour to see the coast and some other lava flows. Sadly, we didn't see any whales, despite the attempt.

Finally, we made a couple trips up the volcanoes / mountains. In the first, we visited the Park Service stuff related to the volcano, which had, at that time, just opened a new caldera. Quite a unique experience staring over at an active volcano. The other trip was up to the Mauna Kea Observatory, or, at least, its tourist outpost.

In all, it was a great trip, despite the usual family tensions. While I doubt I’ll ever get back that way it has set the stage for a hopeful trip to Alaska. Someday!

[2023 update: it turns out I did go to Hawaii and Alaska]