Whether it’s a final day breakfast at an American Roadside Diner in Paris, a frappe from the first Starbucks you’ve seen in two weeks in Athens, a bagel in Tokyo, a desperate dinner from McDonalds in Italy. I’ve found that sometimes you just need a small taste of home while away no matter how disgusting. I am pretty confident all travelers have been guilty of this at least once. (Ahem…right you guys? Right??) In Hawaii this need to have some aspects of home took on a different form.
You see, Hawaii is expensive. It’s expensive to vacation here and it’s expensive to live here. At least while on vacation you can fight the sting a bit.
We rented an apartment while on the Big Island that came with a full kitchen. We took advantage of this by planning out our meals to cook in while here. What we glossed over was the fact that we would have to visit the most mundane of places while on vacation.
Literally our first stop after the airport was to a flippin’ Costco in paradise.
Anywhere America – you know, those places and things that can be found literally anywhere and are devoid of anything culturally special? You’d think Costco would have been enough. We didn’t stop there. Oh no. No tour of Anywhere America is complete without also stopping at a Target and then a Safeway when you realize that seeing all those palm trees, and the smell of salt water robbed you of your senses along with that specially prepared shopping list.
It was most embarrassing when, checking out at Target, the cashier asks “where are your bags?” and I respond with “Oh, are y’all doing a no plastic bags thing now?” and he looks at me like I’m an alien and says “Try several years”.
I was flattered that maybe I looked enough like a local girl that he was astounded I didn’t know the policy…which was immediately overshadowed by the embarrassment I felt when I told him we were visitors…visitors who had to stop at a Target.
I guess we get a pass, after all we were still in the U.S., but something about it just felt silly. The lesson here: Anywhere America occurs everywhere…even in Paradise.