Music to my ears

Memories of my favorite travel places are often triggered by sound. Sounds both melodic and cacophonic.

One my very favorite places for relaxation is the Moana Hotel in Honolulu; relaxing under the historic banyan tree listening to an authentic Ukulele group, MaiTai in hand with the sounds of the surf in the background.   If I ever make it back to Hawaii, I will make a dash to the Moana, and never move until I’m packing to come back home.

My first introduction to Hawaii music came in 1942 when a Naval couple moved into across the street from us.  They had been stationed in Hawaii before WWII, and then transferred to El Toro, the LTA station (that’s lighter than air, as in dirigibles).  They often had late evening parties, and the music easily crossed the street from their house to ours. (Navy people party a lot!) My parents became very close friends, and their younger sister my best friend.  We shared the same birthday and met when she was 8 and I 10.

Anyway, my love of the romantic and authentic Hawaiian music has never ended.  If you’ve never heard the old suggestive recording of Hilo Hattie “The Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai”, you’d better check it out on U-Tube.

Years ago when I made my first (and only) visited to Jerusalem and Morocco, the sounds of the mostly recorded religious callings were both eerie and exotic.  This was before the major ethnic problems arose (at least to the extent we were aware here in the United States.)  Prayers were called out from the minarets five times a day, sometimes heard simultaneously from several different locations.  They added so much to the atmosphere of these countries, and accentuated the cultural and religeous differences of visiting vacationers.  I’m not so sure they inspire a longing to return right now, but they do bring back exciting memories.

The church bells in the ancient churches of Mexico are often old, as in really, really old. Cracked and non-melodic, it is more “clank, clank, clank” than the resounding “riiiiing”, but nevertheless a fine way to wake in the morning, along with a great mug of Mexican hot chocolate.

Next time you travel, take in the sounds as well as the sights!