How is it when on holidays you feel the need to do everything, climb mountains, find the best vintage shop, stand on a surfboard, navigate an island, all on the first day? One benefit of doing all the ‘must-dos’ first, is that by the end of the trip I have whittled the list right down to just one thing – hang out on the beach.
Paloma’s pram is laden with beach toys, woven mats, towels, a blow-up beach ring, small bottles of Malibu, everything a gal needs for some fun in the Hawaiian sun. My penchant for pom decorated sombreros, psychedelic maxis, and daily glam doesn’t exactly make one inconspicuous. A man rushes over from the other side of the street to tell me I look like ‘Lady Gaga but with a baby!’ It’s hard to know what to do with a comment like that.
Waikiki Beach provides hours of people-watching pleasure. They watch you, you watch them, and only occasionally does anyone spare a glance at the horizon. There are some whacky fashions getting around on the beach every day. Pint-sized Japanese girls in lurid bikinis and gold glitter high heels, trying to walk through the sand. One woman with DDDD boob job, lip job and whatever else job mincing along the shoreline stopping tourists each hour asking them to take her picture. We see her every day like we see the frogman with yellow headphones and metal detector combing the sand and shallows for treasure. Ben and I get obsessed watching a couple we have diagnosed with OCD, arrange their space-age beach mats to the millimeter, standing for hours parallel to one another, pivoting slightly on the spot at angels to the sun, quietly reading airport thrillers. One day I overheard the husband chastising his wife for laying down at the wrong time and for kicking a little bit of sand on his mat. I actually saw that he fell asleep and scared himself awake and blamed his wife for it. People are fascinating creatures to behold.
Not one to shy away from strangers, Paloma delights the adults and terrorizes the little kids on the beach. Trying to be friendly she babbles away with a little Japanese girl only to get over-excited and squeal in her ear and make the little girl burst into tears and runoff. Paloma stands dumbfounded but all the parents are hysterical with laughter. While Ben is at work we spend hours hanging out here, swimming, looking for fishies and drinking pina Coladas, trying to pretend we have longer than a few days left.
In the afternoons, when Ben is with us again, we watch the sunset as Paloma is serenaded by ukelele players under Waikiki coconut palms.
Later in the week, we meet up with Don Tiki and his wife, king of new exotica whose album ‘South of the Boudoir’ has just been released, for a Mai Tai or two.
Celebrating our Hawaiian honeymoon we spend one of our final nights at the famous Royal Hawaiian enjoying their fabulous luau. One of the original hotels on Waikiki Beach, the Royal Hawaiian is built in a Spanish style and painted the perfect pink, with archways and broad verandahs and lush tropical gardens.
The immaculate lawns level out to the beach and uninterrupted view of Diamond Head. It is our second home! Getting in the spirit of things we dress for a 1960s luau and are pleasantly surprised to find the experience has completely retained the feel of that era when Hawaiian holidays were all the rage.
The band looks like they have stepped off the sleeve of a Hawaiian LP, the sensually swaying hula girls, the savage fire dancers and crazy ukelele players, and a charming MC with countless costume changes.