Hang Loose

Hawaiians are quiet, gentle, courteous, laid-back people. These qualities were evident in the women’s lovely lull-you-to-sleep, rhythmic hula dances. But the men’s evening performances of ancient war dances highlight a very war-like culture of fierce fighters. They held menacing spears and heavy clubs as they bellowed their war cries and stomped aggressively around the stage. In a real battle their fierceness would surely have caused a platoon of hardened soldiers to flee in terror. This is in such marked contrast to today’s Hawaiian people.

Tourists are quick to notice how gracious these island people really are to each other, and to strangers. As vehicle drivers, they are exceptionally polite, and never seem to be in a hurry. Horn honking or speeding does not seem to enter their minds. Unfailingly courteous to pedestrians, especially the hordes of gawking tourists, they defer to them no matter where the strangers attempt to cross the streets.  Our group leader stated that newcomer settlers from elsewhere hate the swarms of tourists, but natives love them. Why not? They are now the Hawaiians’ bread and butter.

We cherished the leisure days on our itinerary for the chance they gave us to explore on our own, or to just “hang loose”. The ocean-side beaches were irresistible for sunbathing or swimming. The outdoor beach bars, especially in elegant, upscale hotels, were our favourite haunts to people-watch while sipping fancy, expensive, usually mild Hawaiian drinks.

Too soon we left our dream holiday and departed from Kona, on the Big Island (Hawaii) to return home. Because it is a distant and expensive destination, I shall not return to Hawaii. But should I once again decide to “hang loose” and return to this Polynesian paradise I shall be content to hunker down for a spell, not in the bustling, lovely tourist Mecca of Honolulu, but in the quiet, relaxing, sleepy, town of Kona. However, no matter which island destination one chooses, every Canadian should experience Hawaii at least once.



Dr. James F. McDonald is a retired elementary school principal who lives in Dundas, ON.
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