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.