Mother-daughter duo explores Hawaii


Florie Cleaves stared at the clock. It was 3 a.m., and try as she might, she couldn’t persuade her body to fall asleep.

Florie had never been to Hawaii before and wanted to take her daughter, Darling Cordero, on a special mother-daughter vacation.  Squinting her eyes closed, she lay there, listening to the crash of waves just outside her window. “This is real,” she thought. “We’re in Hawaii!”

Over the next fourteen days, Florie and Darling had the opportunity to explore the islands of Honolulu, Kona, Maui and Kauai—a trip masterfully planned and organized by Darling’s online travel agency, First Choice Travel Deals.

“It’s a family business that I’ve been running for about a year now,” says Darling. “We’re always serving other people, but I wanted to try out Globus—one of our suppliers—for myself and see how they’d handle our trip.”

As it turned out, “They took great care of us,” says Darling. “We didn’t even have to worry about carrying our bags.”

The vacation began with a day trip to the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Oahu. “We took a ferry to get to the memorial site,” says Darling. “It was breathtaking, seeing all the names [of fallen soldiers].”

“Each island was so different,” Darling recalls. In Kona, Florie and Darling participated in a luau—a traditional Hawaiian party that included a feast of fish, lobster, pork, fresh fruit, and poi. While there, Florie tried hula dancing with a large outdoor class.

“My favorite part of the trip would have to be Kawai, Garden Island,” says Darling, “After a tour of Hanalei Canyon, we were taken to the exclusive North Shore of Kauai.” Darling remembers how everyone on the bus fell silent when they pulled into the luxurious St. Regis Princeville Resort property.

“None of us were dressed for it,” says Darling. “Everyone was whispering like we didn’t want to be loud or draw attention to ourselves because it was so beautiful— overlooking cottages, villas, statuesque waterfalls, and a majestic backdrop of the Makana Mountain and the Pacific Ocean. . . . The locals told us it is George Clooney’s favorite place when he comes to Kauai.”

“Yes,” agrees Florie. “Everything was so beautiful. I loved everything. The people were lovely—nice and kind and loving.” She grins mischievously, “And the guys there were very muscular and sexy! . . . I wouldn’t mind living there.”

By Rachel Brownlow
Photos Provided by Florie Cleaves

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