Hawaii is a collection of 8 islands in the North Pacific, around 2,500 miles away from Los Angeles on the West coast of the USA. Our visit was to Maui, the Valley Isle. It's hard to believe that Hawaii is a state, the 50th of the union, being so far away from the continental US. Yet despite being remote there are familiar names - Walmart, K-mart, Macy's, etc. So, in some ways it feels American, in other ways it feels a very different place.
The first hint of it being somewhere special, aside from the envious comments of the LAX immigration staff, was the air of excitement in the departure lounge of LAX from people waiting for their flights. The flight attendants all wore flowers behind their ears, emphasising this was a leisure flight and not just an ordinary business domestic flight. LAX to Kahului on Maui is a five and a half hour flight, coming on top of our transatlantic flight meant we would be spending over 16 hours in the air and a total of around 21 hours travelling since leaving London. But all of the journey was well worthwhile.
The thing about arriving somewhere new in the dark is the wonderful surprise you get when you wake on your first morning to an unexpectedly breathtaking view. Maui did not disappoint. There was nothing better in the world than having breakfast on the terrace of the Royal Lahaina hotel with a view of a deep blue sea and the islands of Lanai and Molokai just off-shore.
We combined relaxation; just enjoying the atmosphere and peace of the island; with some sightseeing. Two must-see things are : Haleakala, the volcano that forms one of the two peaks on the island, the flat lush valley between this and the West Maui mountains giving the island its name of The Valley Isle. The second is the Road to Hana, a coastal road that winds its way along the rocky volcanic coast of North East Maui.