When Sona’s mother asks me if I have ever been to Hawaii, my instinctive reaction is to scoff like a pretentious backpacker. Granted, it isn’t with the same level of incredulity as the time we axed our adventurous Greece trip in favor of the dreaded thing that cannot be uttered for our Baby Moon. That thing where you pay one time and it includes everything: transportation, food, alcohol, fancy room.
So, I scoff. A definitive, No.
Unfortunately, my backpacker pretentiousness either needs work, or it is promptly ignored. “Navdeep said he has never been to Hawaii either,” is what my mother-in-law took from our exchange, and before I know it, me and Sona are in charge of organizing a big ole family winter trip to Hawaii for Christmas.
I don’t have anything against pretty places, or even of lounging about and having a relaxing holiday without the burden of exploring a place or eating the local cuisine. Who am I kidding. Yes, I do. Besides, it is a slippery slope between vacationing and cannibalism. Just ask Odysseus what happened to his fellow travelers in Aiaia (spoiler: they’re turned into pigs and about to be eaten had it not been for Odysseus’s treachery).
Hawaii is not a place I would go on my own volition. To put this in perspective: tickets to Hawaii cost about the same as a ticket to any country in Asia or Africa (right now prices are in the $1,000 range), prices for pretty much anything in Hawaii are going to be expensive, and you need a car to get around. So, yes, I would much rather be going to China or Japan or Zimbabwe for Christmas.
Perhaps my impression of Hawaii is skewed: it’s almost all based on cheesy commercials for romantic holidays, and middle-age American tourists wearing loud Hawaiian shirts, with garlands around their necks.
But, at the same time, this is the perfect opportunity to go to Hawaii. Kavya will be in good hands with both sets of grandparents, her massi (Sona’s sister) and possibly mamu (Sona’s brother), who keeps dawdling about whether he’s going or not. While we’ve traveled with Kavya since she was under 3 months old, most of the longer trips have usually been in familliar settings, such as with my parents in California. Last year, we took her to San Diego for about four days – just the three of us,– which was lots of bus travel and a nominal amount of roughing it. Our Hawaii trip will be a couple of weeks long and Kavya is much more mobile now.
It’s also going to be interesting traveling with so many people because our traveling styles are completely different, and there are a whole range of personalities that drama is probably going to be inevitable. Unfortunately, beach camping will probably not be an option because nobody in Sona’s family, is exactly a beach person. Or a camping person. Or the sorts of people to rough it on purpose. This is also the first trip where me and Sona don’t have the option to wing it. We actually have to read our Lonely Planet and travel blogs before we get there, pre-book places, and most importantly, make sure nobody is going to be a grumpy plonker because they don’t like the activities in a particular place. Alright, that last bit is probably going to be inevitable, but hey, that’s what a family holiday is all about: Being grumpy. Not being grumpy. Then remembering the trip years later with fondness.
Enough faffing about, I have some reading to do!