Posted by: HOUCV | 08/28/2013

A Good Book = The Best Travel Guide


Earlier this month, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit a place like no other. I can safely say that it was the most amazing vacation of my life, and it was full of experiences I’ll never forget. And what sort of place can hold such value while still being a part of the U.S.? Why Hawaii, of course!

Now, before I delve too far into my tropical vacation, I’ve got to mention that I had one of the best guides a girl could ask for: a good library book. Months before boarding our 9780307929273flight to the islands, I requested Fodor’s 2013 Hawai’i from a participating PINES library, and let me tell you, I’m sure glad I did! It led me to some of the most exciting things to do and see during our 5-day adventure.

Although this book covers a wide array of activities, accommodations, and restaurants available at each island, I focused on the offerings in Oahu, where we stayed. One of the first eye-catching things mentioned in the book was hiking to a waterfall – we chose Manoa falls. 6 public transport busses and 1 short cab ride later (don’t ask…), we finally made it to the site of several Jurassic Park scenes and filming of the show Lost. Oh, and not to mention one of the tallest waterfalls in the world! It was a treacherous hike up there, but it was totally worth it.

Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls

The book also covers basic words and dialect you may encounter while in Hawaii, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for the real thing. Honestly, they pretty much speak a different language. Their linguistics are rooted in Polynesian, so most of them speak both English as well as their more “native” tongue (although English is considered official).   I became very acquainted with aloha (which means “hello” or “sending love”) and mahalo (“thank you”).  I also learned that Pua’a means “pig” (thanks to the luau we had the good fortune of attending). And I don’t know what Kamehameha means (go ahead, take your time with that one), but it’s the name of the road where the Dole Plantation is located. The trip was worth it for that place….seriously. That pineapple ice cream is better than anything we can get our hands on here on the mainland!

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Hawaiian Sweet Potatoe

Speaking of food, everything there was…well, different. Sweet potatoes look funny, but taste amazing. Dragon fruits are exotic, and petty yummy. And, of course, the pineapples are out of this world. Less acidic + Hawaiian grown = the perfect recipe for pineapple perfection! The Fodor’s guide also recommended several popular restaurants made famous by the Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. We visited one such restaurant – Nico’s Pier 38 – and it was a wonderful experience!  But of course, not everything was nice to my buds. For example, there’s “poi” which is a Polynesian staple food made from ground taro root. Think baby food… ‘cause that’s what it looks and tastes like, folks. Yuck!

And I could go on and on (and on…) about what we saw and experienced while there. I could mention scuba diving with sea turtles and wading on the

Polynesian poi

Polynesian poi

Wakiki beach, but I just don’t have enough blog space for that. I could digress on each and every shopping experience and all the exotic seaweeds featured at the Hawaiian farmer’s market, but I just don’t have the space here. This vacation has made me so much more appreciative of my library and how a good book can be one of the best tour guides!

So tell us – have you ever checked out one of our library’s travel books? Did it help you plan your vacation?


  1. I love this post! And yes, when I go somewhere out of my comfort zone, a book about that area is a must.

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