It’s a quick flight to Lanai from Oahu. Maybe 20 minutes in the air, tops. Our shuttle driver on Lanai is waiting for us, and even our bags beat us to the baggage claim area. It’s already a great vacation. We wait a little bit for the next flight and possible additional passengers to arrive, but it turns out we are the only ones on the shuttle for the Lodge, one of the three hotels on the island. Our driver is from Maui. He came to Lanai for vacation one year, liked it so much that he stayed. “It’s peaceful,” he tells us. “No stoplights. No traffic jams.” It’s true, Lanai has no stoplights and a traffic jam is when more than two cars meet at an intersection. The shuttle driver waves to everyone he passes, everyone waves back. The friendliness is nearly overwhelming. We are caught up on the town news since our last visit – drought, the monk seals, Axis deer coming down from the mountains and into town, the wild turkeys, the price of fried rice at the Blue Ginger. Then, we are at the Lodge and greeted with a glass of pineapple-lemonade and a cool towel. A minute later and we are checked in, shown to our room where our bags are already waiting for us. The hard part now is deciding what to do first. Swimming? Beach? Town? Town wins out. We walk the half mile into town and head straight for the Blue Ginger: chicken teriyaki plate with one scoop mac salad and two scoops rice. Everyone smiles at us, says hello and where you from? There are maybe 2500-3000 permanent residents here, about the same number as a large public high school back home. Everyone knows everyone else. It’s kind of a Hawaiian Mayberry.
It’s a Small Town