Hello Friends and Family,

1982 - HI, O’ahu

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Friends suggested that I check out the Kahala neighborhood during my limited time on O’ahu. If you access Wikipedia now, it says "Kāhala, is a neighborhood in Honolulu, Hawaii. Kahala contains a large concentration of expensive real estate and beachfront properties, which include some of the most expensive in the entire state. Kahala consists of approximately 1,200 homes. The neighborhood is considered a “Cinderella story” because it went from farmland to one of the nicest neighborhoods on Oahu."

By the way, if you are a fan of any of the Hawai’i-based TV shows (such as 'Hawaii Five-0", "Magnum, P.I.", or "NCIS: Hawai’i") and the action is in a posh neighborhood with large estates, they are probably filming in Kahala.

Since I did not have an invitation to one of those expensive and exclusive properties, I had to settle with visiting the Kahala Hilton Hotel (now the Kahala Hotel & Resort).

At the time of my visit, the hotel was lavishly decorated — just look at that chandelier! And the furnishings. It's like visiting Buckingham Palace. I expect that has probably not changed other than to get even finer.

One of the trademarks of the fancy hotels in Hawai’i is the extravagant use of tropical flowers such as this huge spray of orchids...

...and this orchid wall. So nice.

The hotel property impressed me greatly because of the water-scape — water almost touching the buildings. People staying in the ground-level units could step through their sliding glass doors and would be ready to dip their feet into the water.

But the big surprise was that the ponds was shared by dolphins! They were trained to entertain the guests with regular performances.

Both then and now, guests could sign up to swim with the dolphins. Now an independent company (not the hotel) handles that operation (I'm guessing the potential liability of guest injuries prompted the change). Note that if you would like to meet a dolphin up close and personal, be prepared to shell out $329 for 35 minutes of that fun.

In addition to dolphins, they had penguins waddling as penguins do.

But also, there were huge green sea turtles in the lagoon. Did you know that Green Sea Turtles were once a food source for Native Hawaiians. The meat, viscera, and eggs supplemented the more common food sources like fish, birds, shellfish, coconuts, breadfruit and taro. Native Hawaiians valued the adult female turtle as a delicacy because of its high amount of green body fat. The turtles are now protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The water-scaping extended to some cute little waterfalls. I would guess they are still around.

The beach area for the hotel is incredible. Today, I discovered that barges of sand from Moloka’i were shipped over to create the beach. Small peninsulas were added on each end to minimize sand erosion. These lucky folks seemed to have the resulting bay to themselves.

In case you're interested, you too could stay in a room with a lanai overlooking the Dolphin Lagoon for only $902 per night for two people — includes breakfast.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com