Four years is a long time to wait for something. On the other hand, when you wait for something that long, the prize is so much better. Trust me, I know. That's how long I have been waiting for my coveted Hawaii trip.
In the summer of 2006, my family decided we were going to go to Hawaii in the summer of 2010. Four years seemed like an absolute eternity to my brother and me. How were we supposed to wait all that time? Still we did wait, and save up and finally, our trip was upon us!
We spent our vacation on the island of Oahu. One of the things I liked best about Oahu was the diversity. On the south side of the island is the city with Waikiki, Honolulu, etc. It is the ultimate city life, complete with tall buildings, numerous hotels and shopping. On the North Shore it is pure country. There are countless beaches and countryside. It is extremely nice to go to the city, then return to the quieter, more relaxed side of the island.
One place we visited was Pearl Harbor. The week before, I watched the movie "Pearl Harbor" for the first time and although it is the "Hollywood version," it gave me a better idea of what really happened there. It was such a reminder of what this country stands for and how much our precious freedom costs.
At Pearl Harbor, we took a boat out to the USS Arizona Memorial. The USS Arizona was one of the main battleships and was one of the first to be attacked by the Japanese. 1,177 men who served on the Arizona were killed. Many of those sailors never escaped the ship and were entombed inside when the ship sank. The memorial rests on top of the grave. Due to the shallow water, you can see the ship below, and some portions of the battleship are above the surface.
The events of Dec. 7, 1941, command reverence and respect.
I am grateful that I was able to visit Pearl Harbor and pay tribute to those who died that day.
Another attraction we visited was the Polynesian Cultural Center, which has exhibits on eight of the Polynesian islands with the history of their tribes and their culture. The center was originally set up to provide jobs for students of nearby BYU Hawaii and the majority of employees are students now as well.
The people there had such a passion for their culture that it left me in awe. They are fiercely proud of their traditions and are enthusiastic and willing to share them with others.
The swap meet was another great adventure. Located at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, the swap reminds me of a flea market; there are stalls and vendors that sell pretty much everything -- clothes, swimsuits, dishes, towels, books, etc., and all at a good price. It's a great place to find a cute beach towel or bag, which is what I did, along with many other things.
Another thing that was very important to do was ... the BEACH! We went to the beach every day and it never grew old.
The water was so unbelievably blue and clear and snorkeling was amazing. Now, I will admit I was scared, well actually I was petrified. You see, I have this highly irrational fear of sharks. That really isn't a problem in Utah, however, in Hawaii there is an ocean and in an ocean there are sharks. I have seen way too many Shark Weeks on Discovery Channel and have unfortunately given my imagination free reign. I am proud to say that I was able to overcome my fear and enjoy the gorgeous snorkeling. Nonetheless, I am secretly glad I do not live by an ocean ... where there are sharks.
Now as great as vacations always are, we all know what the worst part is -- going home! I did not want to come back to the mainland. I loved saying "Aloha!" to complete strangers and hearing a genuine reply back, I loved going to the beach every day, I loved the people, I loved the laid-back vibe that existed everywhere I went. In essence, I loved Hawaii.
Lynette Randall is a junior at Clearfield High School. She loves river rafting, rock climbing, wave running and reading. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.