Subject: Re: Revisiting Kona After 20 Years(a long lament)
Hi Beth,

I had not been to Hawaii since 1969 when we traveled there in 1995. My fears were the same as yours and I had much apprehension. However, if anything, Honolulu has become more cosmopolitan with many high rise buildings, but the surrounding areas as well as the remainder of Oahu have remained about the same with a few exceptions. I was not disappointed in the least and would return there in a heartbeat. IMHO, the changes in Honolulu only serve to underscore the diversity of the Islands and how they can appeal to most every person's vacation desire whether it be solitude or plenty of activity. I'll add that Islands like Kauai remain pretty much untouched due to the terrain making it all but impossible for development of any kind. The Napali Coast is still as gorgeous and preserved as always as are the canyons. The volcanic activity is stunning by night and the lava flows on Hawaii are such a breathtaking experience that I have no regrets whatsoever. Those things cannot change - except, of course, for the course of the flows redesigning the landscape. It's quite remarkable to travel down a road that ends with a dead end created by the giant lava flow.

Please journey back and enjoy the changes.

One thing that has changed very much since '69 is Pearl Harbor. When first there, it was inaccessible by land, so to speak. The Arizona Monument had just been completed - the building over the Arizona, not the entire monument. It was so emotional for everyone. Today, it is very developed - complete with a gift shop, documentary film theater, and tour busses. We found the level of respect to have lessened dramatically. People were talking and flashing pictures no matter how many times the Park Ranger/tour guides requested silence and respect. In the midst of that, it was so moving to see the huge bronze plaque inside the pristine white building over the Arizona that lists each and every name of the serviceman that was lost on the Arizona. People still come and toss leis into the water over the exposed gun turrets of the ship - which, by the way, are much less exposed due to rust. I think you would find that the most dramatic difference of all.

Yes, all in all, Beth, I would encourage you to return to Hawaii. The sunsets remain untouched, the waves are just as awesome on the North Shore, and the atmosphere is still friendly and welcoming.

Sara Corpus Christi, Texas