Six Months in HawaiiPosted: 2012/05/10
Bird, Isabella. Six Months in Hawaii. London: KPI, 1986.
This book has several different titles. The one I was supposed to read is called Six Months in the Sandwich Islands: Among Hawaii’s Palm Groves, Coral Reefs and Volcanoes. I couldn’t find that edition so I had to settle on the one simply called Six Months in Hawaii. They appear to be one in the same. There’s another called Hawaiian Archipelago. I couldn’t find that one either. Granted, I didn’t look that hard either.
The thing I love about Isabella Bird’s writing is that she is humorous as well as descriptively thorough in her observations. She has a certain playfulness to her otherwise didactic travelogue. The thing I love about Isabella Bird the person is that she is adventurous to the core. To read about her crossing a swollen river like it was a walk in the park is astounding. Her horse nearly drowns but she keeps her cool. According to the introduction to Six Months in Hawaii by Pat Barr Isabella Bird was 41 years old when she first visited the islands of Hawaii. Around my age. Traveling by herself at a time when women were not supposed to be unaccompanied at any age. Fearless.
Examples of her humor: “Miss Karpe, my travelling companion, and two agreeable ladies, were already in their berths very sick, but I did not get into mine because a cockroach, looking as large as a mouse, occupied the pillow, and a companion not much smaller was roaming over the quilt without any definite purpose” (p 45), and “…my beast stopped without consulting my wishes, only a desperate grasp of mane and tethering rope saved me from going over his head” (p 70).
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “Lady Travelers” (p 142). Also from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Hawaii: memoirs” (p 94).