When I arrived in Honolulu in December 1992, little did I know that just a couple of months earlier I had met my future husband (although I prefer “ski buddy”), and that we would return to Hawaii as a family. Some things were same, lots of things were different!

Already in 1992, I took an instant liking to the crazy excess of Waikiki (it was all so MUCH)! 24 years later Waikiki still has the same overwhelming, mind-blowing Las Vegas feel and although almost nauseatingly over-the-top, I still can’t help liking it. Like  a “Amerikaner” at Tivoli in Copenhagen (four scoops of ice-cream, whipped cream, strawberry sauce and a chocolate covered marshmallow treat to round it off).  Like the name – American!

Waikiki Surf by Night
Stunning view of Waikiki Beach from our hotel room
Waikiki by Night
I have never been in Vegas but Waikiki by Night looks pretty darn good

The hotels in Waikiki compete with each other in being taller, bigger, more glittering than the next. The welcome smiles are broader, the free cocktail more exotic and the leis more beautiful. The surfers are hunkier, more free-spirited and deeper bronzed than elsewhere. Summarized: just more! Yes, it’s touristy, crowded and artificial but it still somehow does it for me, don’t ask me why! I guess it’s one of those romantic memory things…

Max at Waikiki Beach
Max “the surfer”, grounded due to a cold. He was NOT happy…
View of Waikiki Beach
Watching the Early Birds from our hotel room

What I don’t remember, however, is the traffic. 6-laned bumper-to-bumper grinding traffic to reach our rented apartment at Makaha Valley on the west coast. Not much Aloha-spirit in sitting in a commuter jam…

The traffic jam to reach the North Shore was admittedly more scenic with beach houses that must reach well into the million-dollar bracket and quirky little beach/surfer spots, but no less annoying when all you want to do is submerge yourself in crystal clear water and soak up some sun. And don’t even ask about the approximately 3 million “are we there soon”… But just like all those years ago, the North Shore blows me away. I remember sitting on the Sunset Beach watching crazy Big Wave surfers competing thinking “wow” with a capital W. This was pure paradise!

Sunset Beach
In December 1992 the beach was crowded with fans watching the Bravest of the Brave take on the Biggest of the Big

The Hawaiian Islands are, without a doubt, breathtakingly beautiful, the beaches are stunning and the water a turquoise colour you think must have been photoshoped. Even in Oahu you can find almost empty beaches (Yokohama, Makaha) where the local kids frolic on their bodyboards while their parents cook up a bbq in the shade. Now that’s Aloha! Shaka, brah! (Daniel disagrees, of course. This is, after all America! The country that might vote Donald Trump as President…)