I looked out the window of the Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina Chapel as the sun began to set over the Pacific. I’d already had a few glasses of wine and been lei’d a few times. The day was winding down. And that’s when I discovered the best bite of food I’ve ever had in my life: coconut sorbet with berries. It was sheer and utter bliss, savored while a pseudo-Jason Mraz played “Here Comes the Sun” on acoustic guitar.
Each bite was full of… well, the flavors are sort of implied — creamy coconut sweetness and fresh, bright berry tartness. “This,” I thought, “is my actual definition of paradise.”
I was elbow-deep in sorbet when the guy sitting next to me asked where I was from. I looked up at his smiling face and very shaved head (which he later told me was an homage to Mr. Clean), and responded, “Los Angeles.” Two words were all I could be bothered to say between bites. Dave was from New York and had been updating the table on the tribulations of his love life. He’d recently broken up with a 24-year-old Italian guy — making his trip to Hawaii for Honolulu Pride, while newly single, feel like timely escapism.
I was also in Oahu for Pride, though not necessarily for the flirting. I was simply eager to experience Pride in someplace other than my home of Los Angeles. If that place happened to be an island paradise where the coconut sorbet flowed freely, so be it.
Earlier in the dinner, I’d learned that the popularity of Honolulu Pride has surged over the past few years, largely thanks to the efforts of its young organizers. I also learned that the Hawaiian Supreme Court was the first state judiciary to declare that making same-sex marriage illegal was inherently unconstitutional, though same-sex marriage wasn’t made legal until 2013. Those elements — plus Hawaii’s particular mix of Indigenous and colonial influences — create a fascinating melting pot that I was just beginning to learn about.
By the end of the meal, I was eager to dive in. Even if I wasn’t feeling as flirt-happy as Dave.
I would only spend until noon the next day at the Four Seasons Oahu before jumping into Pride week, but it was plenty of time to remind me that luxury living is freaking awesome. I started my day with morning yoga down at the cove, which was idyllic — not just because of the setting, but also because it was held at sunrise and I have seldom done exercise at dawn. The three hour time change that West Coasters enjoy when visiting Hawaii was a nice little arrival gift.