Stop and smell the plumeria

ry=400-4Experts say that the sense of smell is closely tied to memory. One of my favorite scents in Hawaii is plumeria. When you step off the plane after a long flight, the smell of flowers is one the most welcoming things about the Aloha State.

You will find plumeria in yellow, pink and other colors. The yellow plumeria flowers are my favorite and they seem to make some of the most fragrant leis. If you find one at a local farmers’ market, you will not regret buying it.

In March, we found a yellow plumeria lei at the Farmers’ Market on Ali’i Drive in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. The man who sold it to us had just made it. It was, perhaps, the best $7 I had spent all winter. Even after it had dried, it still smelled wonderful.

The Hawaiian people love their flowers. Many Hawaiians wear flowers in their hair. This may be one reason why Hawaii was ranked the happiest state in the country in a recent article in The Atlantic.


Hula lessons

hulaWe stumbled upon this scene while touring the Hulihee Palace in historic Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. The Hulihee Palace was a summer vacation home for Hawaiian royalty at one time and it is definitely worth a visit if you find some extra time on Ali’i Drive. Today, it is a museum run by an organization called the Daughters of Hawaii and it showcases some interesting artwork, artifacts and furnishings.

These darling youngsters were getting an early start on hula lessons.  I love that the Hawaiians have preserved and carried on this art form. It’s one of the first things that a mainlander is introduced to when they learn about Hawaii. And when you visit, you really do see that the hula is part of the Hawaiian culture and spirit of aloha. The sight of young children starting hula lessons at an early age made us smile. The hula has become an iconic symbol for all things Hawaii. It’s one more thing to love about Hawaii.

The long and winding road

Big Island 2012 037

This path is one of my favorite morning walks on the Big Island. The colors, the flowers, the beautiful sounds of the sea, it combines so many things I love about Hawaii.

Today, in the Midwest we are expecting rain and possibly snow. It’s April. I can’t complain, as there are so many things we love about living here, but I am desperate for color and signs of spring. The weather forecast for where we live shows a bright sun now and 27 degrees, turning to mostly cloudy by this afternoon with a high of 44 degrees, followed by rain later this evening and all day tomorrow.  April showers bring May flowers, I know. But still, it’s been a long, snowy, cold winter and I’m done with it. I just want to take a walk without gloves, a jacket and mittens in April. Is that too much to ask?

In Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, the temperature right now is 71 degrees at 3 a.m. with a forecast of 83 and sunny for Friday. Saturday’s forecast is for 84 and mostly sunny and Sunday’s calls for 82 and sunny.

There are parts of the Big Island and other islands of Hawaii where it rains constantly. Even if you are visiting, you really don’t mind since the rain makes for a gorgeous lush landscape and there is almost always a rainbow to discover somewhere in that rain. A hike in the rain with 78 degree weather is still magnificent, rain or shine.

Ah, paradise.