Day 5: Just hang loose. Just have fun.

I love the spirit that people have here. I know that a lot of the people we’ve interacted with are in the service industry and it’s their job to greet us with a warm and meaningful “Aloha” but I really think it’s genuine. And I can relate to it in ways I don’t get to on a daily basis.

Where I come from, people are groggy in the morning. Half of them don’t even make eye contact until a second cup of coffee or a meeting scheduled for mid-morning. A lot of people, myself included, get into the hum-drum “another day, another dollar” mantra as if we’re zombies getting ready to work ourselves into the ground.

It’s different here though. And I love it.

If I really think about it, everywhere I’ve traveled to seems to be like this. So is it us, the office job peeps that can’t hang loose? Or is it our location? Maybe where I really need to settle down is a destination/tourist location. Or somewhere with more sunshine.

We arrived at Pier 8 this morning for an early bird whale watch excursion. Spoiler Alert: While we saw a handful of blows (wet air expelled through the blowhole), we only spotted one instance of fluking (tail above water as it begins a deep dive). But you know what? That’s still really fricking cool.

My mom has been asking to go whale watching since before we went to Ireland and I was finally able to deliver. The Star of Honolulu brought us out to sea this morning. I was expecting a 50 passenger medium sized boat today, something similar to the cruises I’ve been on while visiting Duluth but this behemoth was four floors tall and held up to 1500 passengers. WUT.

The ride was smooth and the ocean was as beautiful as ever. I hope I’ll get the chance to search for whales again someday but until then, I’ll always remember the tail at a distance that I did get a glimpse of.

This evening was filled with another first; a luau! Our tour guide turned luau dude introduced himself as Cousin Greg. He is a humorous man and a proud Hawaiian filled with tales of tradition and heritage. Cousin Greg taught us a handful of Hawaiian words like “malahini” and “ohana” on our 15-minute aka 65-minute drive to Germaine’s Luau.

It probably goes without saying but attending a luau is a must on your priority list if you’re visiting Hawaii. Even if you’ve been to one before, it’s a repeat adventure that’ll never get old.

We watched Cousin Greg and another man pull the Kalua pig out of the imu, an underground oven. They make a ceremony out of each part of the luau and it’s just mesmerizing.

After hoisting the pig out following it’s 10+ hour cook-time, we were invited to indulge in signature cocktails while dinner was prepared featuring Hawaiian staples like poi and fensi. We were seated in rows of picnic tables vertically facing the stage and the event was just as picturesque as everything else I’ve encountered in my time here. The venue is perfectly placed on a white sand beach with draping palm trees and we enjoyed the sunset as the hosts began MC’ing the show.

The staff and hospitality was superb, the experience was authentic, and the food was ono (delicious)! While I feel like I have to see much more of the world before I return to places I’ve already been to, I really cannot wait until I make it back to Hawaii and more specifically, Germaine’s.

On the way home, Cousin Greg taught us his favorite Hawaiian song, “Just Hang Loose.” I’ve linked it here for those of you needing a little sunshine in song form this fine February evening.