We headed up to Waimea Valley after that encounter with nature and hiked up the mountain to Waimea Falls. Our guide, Jenny (pictured above with Aren), told the kids traditional Hawaiian stories that explain how this place came to be.
Hawaiian folklore features plenty of war, fire and angry deities to keep the kids attention, although in complete fairness, it is considerably more peaceful than the Greek and Norse mythology that Kari and I were raised with.
We had an argument all the way back to our hotel about which gods would win if there were a war — the Greek or Norse gods? — and the Norse gods won. Now you know what travel writers talk about when they’re off the clock.
Waimea is enchanting. When we got up to the waterfalls, they were just finishing a free Hula lesson for visitors. Then the instructors got a chance to cut loose and dance their Hula, and they looked like they were having a blast.
So what do I think of Hawaii? I’m smitten.
We have loved every minute of this visit. The real Hawaiians I’ve met have been welcoming, friendly and endlessly patient with our questions. They’ve been genuinely hospitable to our three Keikis — that’s Hawaiian for “kids” — even when they weren’t on their best behavior.
I have lived everywhere, but have never felt quite at home until I visited Hawaii. We will definitely be back.