Aloha! This is Katherine Satrom with Travel Explorations. I’ve just returned from Hawaii. Oahu is our radio destination today, home of Honolulu, Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor. Next time on New Year’s Eve, we’ll visit the island of Maui.

Visiting Hawaii near Christmas time is unique! Music in hotels and malls and on the car radio herald “white Christmases,” “dashing through the snow,” and reindeer, while one prepares to go to the beach or purchases a bathing suit! A ukulele band plays “Jingle Bells” at a shopping center, its student members in matching bright Hawaiian shirts.

For a “prairie chicken,” as my Mom used to call me, it’s pretty incongruous and hugely enjoyable!

There’s something incredibly relaxing about Hawaiian music . . . it matches the natural environment and laid-back feel of Hawaii.

Here’s a state built on lava rock, broken into several islands. It is the only state that was once ruled by royalty, and a visit to the ‘Iolani Palace is fascinating. King Kamehameha the First united the islands in 1810, through warfare and later diplomacy. We visited Pali Lookout where the final battle was waged. For many years Hawaiians were forbidden to speak their native language in schools. Now the state has come full circle, encouraging the preservation and use of the native tongue. Missionaries recorded a written version of the language. Until then, storytellers shared history verbally from generation to generation. The lyrical language has only seven consonants and five vowels. The great majority of city and street names are Hawaiian.

Oahu is almost 600 square miles with a length of 44 miles, a width of 30 miles, and more than 112 miles of coastline.

The famous mountain, Diamond Head, rises 770 feet above sea level. The sparkling mineral peradite gives Diamond Head its name. Hanauma and Waimea Bays provide postcard scenes for photographers. Sugar cane and pineapple fields abound.

Waikiki Beach is a very active place with hotels like the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. The Outrigger is a chain with properties on four islands under a variety of names. A one-week MLT Vacations package in January at the Outrigger Reef including air from Bismarck is $1400 per person.

The historic and luxury property the Royal Hawaiian is also on Waikiki Beach. It is so elegant and attractive. I don’t know when I’ve seen such beautifully decorated Christmas trees as at the Royal Hawaiian. A one week package in January, air and hotel, at the Royal Hawaiian from Minneapolis or Bismarck is just under $2200 per person.

The mega property known as the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach is $1400 per person for a hotel and air package from Bismarck.

Some other properties may be as low as $1025 per person.

MLT Vacations arranged for a group of us to tour the Battleship Missouri, at the Pearl Harbor Historic Site, and have breakfast in a huge tent on deck. Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial are Hawaii’s number one tourist destination. It was a fascinating experience to see the place on the ship where the treaty ending World War II was signed. Photos show representatives of each of the major powers on both sides signing the document. Our visit was just three days before the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, December 7, which made it especially meaningful.

Hawaii is a bit pricey in terms of food, but no more than New York City. When one realizes that so much of the state’s supplies are shipped in from elsewhere, it is easy to see why this is the case … and in a way, it’s a wonder things aren’t even more expensive. Hotel packages can be very reasonable.

Balance food prices against the convenience of being in a tropical paradise within United States borders with gracious and friendly people, and cost-effective lodging, and you will likely decide a trip to Hawaii is well worth the investment.

Like me, after a charming sojourn on Oahu, you’ll want to say thank you! Mahalo!

Katherine Satrom



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