Aloha, Hey There, and Hola!
Every year in the fall I attempt to go on vacationâ€”two weeks, if possible. (For those of you who remember my last heyday of constant travel from 1998-2003, try hard not to snicker.) These past two years of rocket-powered growth leading the Big Island Hawaii Life team has proven that for this busy Broker-in-Charge, vacation is an absolute imperative for my sanity, and helps restore some equilibrium and balance to my life.
When preparing to leave Hawaii to vacation elsewhere, the question comes up repeatedly, “where do you go on vacation when you live in Hawaii?” Like last year, my answer is…Island Vacation Life, Baby!
Okay, so Las Vegas may technically be attached to the continent called “North America,” but in the mind and hearts of Hawaii residents, Vegas is the “9th Island.” We are all well aware of the conventional thinking behind this nickname, but after living the city of lights life for a week I found other similarities fascinating.
This “island” also subsistsâ€”and mostly existsâ€”because of tourism. Our friends own a condo right on the Strip across the street from the Wynn Hotel, and when the economy crashed, they literally sat on their lanai and counted the cars driving up and down the strip. One by one. Gulp.
Happily, the traffic has returned to the Stripâ€”andÂ I promise to never complain about the traffic on the Queen K again.
Speaking of happy, next came the technically-an-island part of our vacation…Aruba! Yes, we went to the Caribbean for our slice of Island Vacation Life this year. They call it “One Happy Island.” I’m not kiddingâ€”it says so right on their license plates.
Located about 15 miles off the shore of Venezuela, Aruba is out of the “hurricane zone,” is mostly dry and arid, and is part of the Netherlands. The oil company built a desalinization plant, so everyone can drink water right out of the faucet. Merchants all take U.S. currency, and you can even go through customs inside the Aruba airport, before boarding your plane back to the U.S. It’s like going to another country, but really staying in “America.” Huh. Sounds a bit like my own island home.
Now, I’ve come back with an idea about how palapas on the public beach can help solve some of our county tax/budget issues…
Speaking of customs, the immigration officer asked us suspiciously while checking our passports, “Why did you come all the way to Aruba for vacation when you live in Hawaii?” It’s a popular question.