It seems as if I’ve just arrived, just adjusted myself to a warm, slower and less hectic environment, and now–Wednesday–I go back to my beloved San Francisco and embrace the cold and the stress and the bustle all over again.
I’m not complaining–Noir City is my physical and spiritual home–but let’s just say I understand the allure and hospitality of the Big Island–and I plan to return with my family for a vacation.
It’s been a wonderful, wonderful conference–and I thought I’d share my top ten reasons why Hawaii makes for a really special LCC conference destination …
1. It’s warm, but not too warm. Yesterday the sun fully embraced us, and it was magnificent. The humidity isn’t overbearing, the sunshine gentle, and the mountains in the distance still have snow.
2. Relaxation. I’m not actually sure if I’ve ever relaxed at a conference before this one … at least without alcoholic help … and a constant state of motion and excitement is its own fun (Thrillerfest in New York, for example). But it’s wonderful to be able to relax without falling asleep!
3. Nature. Conferences tend to be held in urban centers, from New York to Chicago to San Francisco. The only kind of wild kingdom we usually get to see is the kind we write about in crime novels. To catch a glimpse of a mongoose in a parking lot–fish slipping between rocks and darting out of holes in ancient fish ponds–multi-colored birds flitting from fronds or to wake up to the myna birds outside your lanai–you instantly feel more connected to the Earth. And that’s a good thing. You may even see wild goats and donkeys on the road between Kona and Waikoloa … instead of the familiar deer silouette on the highway warning sign, you’ll notice longer ears and shorter legs.
4. Culture. It doesn’t take long–maybe two minutes?–to immediately feel the unique and special cultural heritage of Hawaii, and its genuine, welcoming spirit.
5. Waikoloa Marriott. A fabulous, open resort hotel, with a good restaurant and beautiful grounds.
6. Fresh papaya and passion fruit juice. Where else can you get served exotic fruit for your continental breakfast? Where else can you where fragrant flowers around your neck?
7. Diversity. In culture, nature, and things to do … you can venture up a volcano, go horseback riding on a ranch, bird watch, take a sub tour, and get up close and personal with whales.
8. Luaus. On Sunday night we saw dancers, fire throwers/eaters, drummers, and enjoyed a veritable feast. If it’s not in Hawaii, it’s not a luau–it’s just Grease II.
9. Cocktails. All those fruity drinks with the paper umbrellas actually belong here. I enjoyed a Blue Hawaii last night in honor of Elvis.
10. When you wake up, you’re in Hawaii! And that’s enough.
I’ll blog tomorrow after I recover from the red-eye and share a wrap-up of my final day today … but right now, I’m going out on the lanai and listen to the myna birds.