COMMENT by HELEN VAN BERKEL:
Mike Hosking's disdain for his Hawaiian holiday spewed forth like red-hot lava from one of the islands' famous erupting volcanoes.
He claims the hotels are old, the place is expensive and that the service is now crap.
Anything that doesn't seem to match his "world class" expectations is disdainfully dismissed as "crap".
Well, I can't compare today's Hawaii to the Hawaii he visited 30 years ago but I can say that I wonder if we actually holidayed in the same place. And I can positively guarantee my holiday budget was considerably less than his.
When I visited earlier this year our hotel (not new, to be fair) was more than serviceable for the price, offering the usual requirements of free wi-fi, a pool and even a selection of DVDs for evenings after an exhausting day of touristing. Not only that: we knew the price before we booked.
And everything worked; it was within walking distance of downtown Honolulu's shops and the surf of Waikiki and a broad selection of eateries kept us well fed, if somewhat over-sugared. Not only that, the staff - from the iHop next door, to Duke's on the main drag to the poke joint on the corner - were smiling, helpful and even remembered us the next time we wandered past.
Expensive? Well, that's a matter of perspective for someone earning far less than Hosking, but I can say I gave my daughter a holiday to remember. She stretched her baggage allowance to the limit, splashing her summer waitressing cash at Sephora, Ross, and Victoria's Secret. So thrilled was she with her bargains, she has decided she wants to be buried at Ross, declaring "I have never been so happy in my life".
We went sharkdiving, we shopped, we dined out, we hired a car to circumnavigate the island - Googling first to find the best deal - and we went to the beach. We went to Pearl Harbour, Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in the Punchbowl Crater, Diamond Head, Iolani Palace, Moanalua shopping centre – and we took the public bus, along with the other supposedly "deadbeat" tourists. How penny-pinching does a radio announcer have to be to find a $5 day ticket expensive?
And the single occasion we were ripped off – do NOT book an Ohaha Transit shuttle to the airport - I too threw a tantie and stamped my foot. How dare the driver leave us stressed and looking like idiots in our matching Hawaiian shirts that seemed so hilarious only an hour before? (The refund arrived last week, thanks for asking.)
Hawaii is riding a "fantastic wave": flights to the islands are cheaper than ever and more Kiwis than ever are winging across the Pacific.
It's a state that doesn't need excoriating by a New Zealand broadcaster as a punter's market - how many tourists were turned away because Big Island's Kilauea volcano woke up and starting throwing lava about the place?
My advice to anyone considering a Hawaiian holiday is to go for it. Joy isn't too far away.