I have been to Paradise, and am sadly home.

Sketching at Waimea Bay

Just off Kamehameha Highway, about a half mile from Haleiwa, is a little dirt road.  If you take this dirt road you will find a two story home with more windows than walls.  We spent the past eight days renting the bottom floor, picking papaya, passion fruit, and doing our best to husk and open uncooperative coconuts.  We nearly burned through a full bag of charcoal and soaked through nearly every one of the 20 or so beach towels they provided.  All hail Tripadvisor.com and my wife’s addiction to it.

Search for "Secret Garden" on Craigslist. One of the owners has great stories about driving the camera boat for the filming of LOST.

To know how it was could be explained most simply by the fact that while typing this, I am also browsing for jobs in Hawaii.

I'm pretty sure this is Heaven. I'm positive it's not Iowa.

 Myself and those with me, arrived on the island with a list of the top things we wanted to see and do while there.  Mine had written, somewhere just below surfing, a visit to the royal palace. 

I had recently read up on the somewhat underhanded way in which paradise became state and wanted to walk in the footsteps of those who played a role.  One trip to the beach and I forgot all those plans.  Then I remembered them, and chose to go to the beach once again, and again, and again once more.

New York and Tokyo had a sign, Philly did not.

 Haleiwa is above all else, a surf town.  When I married, my earthly possessions consisted of; a pickup, a mtn. bike, a snowboard, SCUBA gear, rugby cleats, a backpack and sleeping bag.  I would have traded them all for a surfboard.  Of course I had never surfed at the time, a hole in my resume that has persisted; till now.  Why did I wait so long?

Haleiwa version of an art gallery.

 I swallowed my pride, scheduled a lesson, rented the biggest board imaginable, and stood up on a wave.  My instructor was twice my age, had skin like leather, and a pair of shoulders like bowling balls.  I wanted to be her.  I’m now editing my job search to ensure plenty of time-off.

Best wall of vintage skateboards I have ever seen. Strong Current Surf Shop.

Mine was not the only list.  One of the true joys of Hawaii is that there in nothing to do that could be considered miserable.  No life sized cartoon characters or spinning tea-cups, no teenagers asking if you purchased a beach tag, and everyone took my money with a smile and “mahalo”.  Littlehammas 1.0 rode a horse, Littlehammas 2.0 saw a turtle, and Mrs.hammas snorkled, kayaked, saw a sunset, and went to the locale that is her namesake.  We  shopped, strolled Waikiki, did the hula, and even went to the Hukilau.  We went native and embraced our hauliness… or at least my hauliness?

Littlehammas 1.0 and Scarlet.


Turtles trying to get a tan.
LAdies and gentlemen, this is what happy looks like.
Mrs.hammas owns this place.


Mrs.hammas has had many brilliant ideas in her time, like looking for lodging on Craigslist, but her most Nobel worthy idea was inviting the Grandhammases along.  Now some may shirk at the idea of in-laws but these ones, freshly returned from 18 months in Samoa, are not the normal grey hairs.  Sure they babysat and helped wash dishes like most would, but they also snorkeled with a monk seal, hiked to waterfall, and kayaked.  They had been to the islands before but took it easy for our sake; skipping the parasailing and shark diving they did on previous trips.

The Grandhammases doing what they do.


The Mrs. and her Mother-in-law.


Opa holding court at sunset.

I have been known to suffer from an incurable wanderlust and inability to be satisfied with just one hobby.  Perhaps I have found the cure.

Waimea Bay and crazy women.
What was once the Hukilau, is now the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Strangely enough, seeing this made me want to scrum and fai kava.
1.0's version of the haka.
All we have left are sweet dreams.

5 thoughts on “I have been to Paradise, and am sadly home.

  1. Man…
    I used to stay at the home of a girl from school in Haleiwa back in the day.
    The house was on the beach and if I woke up early I’d be wet from the spray from the waves crashing below, if I woke up late I’d be covered in dried salt.

    Haleiwa is in Hawaii but they had a GREAT Mexican restaurant. The hottest salsa I’d ever tasted. Burned blisters on the tongues of foolish guys trying to impress girls by eating a lot of it. (The girls were NOT impressed with the guys who had to drink only milk for the three days it took for their tongues to heal.)

    -“Surfing” on a long board is cheating.
    -Your wife looks like Linda Evangelista in that photo at the PCC.
    -Great pics.

  2. When you weigh what I do, and the waves are small… you cheat. Everyone needs a couple runs on the bunny slope before they attempt the black diamonds.

    If only that little school on the north shore had a grad school.

  3. Next time, you should totally invite sishammas to go on vacation w/ you. We could share babysitting duties and I could be in HI! That would be the best part, me in HI.

  4. Awww, that last pic is incredibly cute. That’s the kind of pic you save and show them when they are 21.

    Sounds like you had a holiday of a lifetime.

    “My instructor was twice my age, had skin like leather, and a pair of shoulders like bowling balls. I wanted to be her…”


  5. Love your review. My favorite picture is of the grandhammas in their snorkeling gear. We are going to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary – 2012. We’ll have to remember Craig’s List & the Secret Garden. Way cool. I think K is one of the most classically beautiful women I have ever known. For real.

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