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It's A Great Life: 97 - Hawaii

...Our apartment was on the ground floor and it was no more than 100 yards to the beach through the hotel gardens. In no time we were in our holiday clothes and walking along the sand, the sea lapping gently at our feet...

Jack Merewood holidayed in Hawaii.

In 1984 I was sixty-five and we decided to celebrate with a holiday in Hawaii. We booked the holiday for the four of us, but then Anne, having only just taken the position in London with the BBC, felt she couldn't straightaway ask for a month off. We were very disappointed at her missing such a holiday. It was a difficult decision to have to make, but we left it to her and she decided to stay with her work. We had paid a deposit on the holiday and it meant forfeiting the amount we had paid for Anne, but that wasn't important so long as she was happy and had made the right decision.

So in September Sheila, Stuart and I flew from Leeds/Bradford airport to Amsterdam, from there to Edmonton in Canada and from Edmonton to our destination, the islands of Oahu, Maui and Kauai. We came down on the island of Oahu and were driven to a hotel in Honolulu where we were met by a young Hawaiian couple who garlanded us with leis, and we had our photographs taken with them. (All part of the service - but of course you'd want to buy the photos -which we did!) Our hotel room was comfortable and had a balcony which overlooked the town and the sea, but we were only there for one night. We went out to explore the town but hadn't time to see much of Honolulu. What we did see we found to be pretty busy and commercialised.

Jessie and Dean had been to Hawaii a number of times and said we should have our breakfast at the pink restaurant of the Sheraton hotel right on Wakiki Beach. We did so. It was served by a cheerful Hawaiian boy and on the side of the plate of bacon and eggs was an orchid. We spent some time on the beach. The sea was warm, the weather sunny. But then it was back to the airport where we boarded a small inter-island plane to Maui, the islands below a picture in the clear blue sea. A young Hawaiian driver was waiting at the airport with a limousine for just the three of us. He said he was born in Hawaii and would never dream of living anywhere else. The temperature was in the mid 70s and he told us that this was about the average temperature all the year round.

We were impressed by the Kanapali Shores Hotel, in the centre of the foyer was a waterfall surrounded by tropical greenery. Our apartment was on the ground floor and it was no more than 100 yards to the beach through the hotel gardens. In no time we were in our holiday clothes and walking along the sand, the sea lapping gently at our feet. This was what we had expected of Hawaii, and this was perfectly up to our expectations.

We needed to hire a car and had been advised to wait until we were at the hotel as there was keen competition between car hire companies. There was a telephone in our apartment which we could use free of charge, but I soon began to realise I had a problem. I should have taken my brother-in-law's advice, which was to be sure to have a credit card when we went to Hawaii. Credit cards weren't so much used in those days, nothing like they are today, and each time I phoned I was asked for my Visa number. When I said I didn't have one, that was the end of the conversation. However, after several fruitless calls and when I was beginning to despair, I got a company who hired out second-hand cars. The girl at the other end of the phone was English, and helpful, and we finally hired a car - on condition we paid in advance.

The hotel ran a bus service into the capital Lahaina, so we took this and went to collect the car. Naturally we had to produce our driving licences and when Stuart presented his the girl couldn't believe that the expiry date was May 2035. The licence was passed around the office and examined by everyone to further expressions of disbelief! We collected a car, second hand, a little beaten up and a little embarrassing to look at, but at least it was in good running order.


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