i grew up a sesame street kid…. back in the day before they had sesame avenue or whatever it is now with fancy rowhouses. one little sketch was a cartoon of a blond-haired girl. she had some kind of accent like long island, new jersey, boston combined (long-jersian maybe?) it was very simple. she said, “ha-WHY-y is an island, surrounded by wah-ter. in ha-WHY-y they say aLOha. it means hello and goodbye. aLOha!” and just like that they were on to cookie monster or the letter of the day or something…. but that little, funny accent girl telling the young viewers about hawaii has always cracked me up. for christian’s spring break i finally got to visit… but no one had that long-jersian accent.
upon our arrival we were greeted by the curious use of the word cousin. we soon found out that in hawaii, everyone becomes family… therefore everyone is your cousin. hawaiian humor was like nothing i had encountered before. all of our tour guides must have had the same cheat sheet for jokes. it was a very dry, quick humor that you almost missed if you were too busy looking at your surroundings. one joke was telling us about the three interstates on o’ahu (and how funny it was that they are “interstates” when there isn’t another state they run to). they have H1, H2 and H3… but no more or they’d have H20… another favorite was when they’d explain how expensive it was to live in hawaii… they said everyone has to work two jobs. following this would be an explanation of their “night” job where they drive big moving trucks and move things out of people’s homes while they are sleeping….
speaking of expensive… we thought we’d save some money and booked a hotel room with a little kitchenette… little did we know that was a bad idea. everything was insanely expensive… a gallon of milk was $8.15!!! even though you are in the u.s. it’s almost like you are in another country… so i had to laugh when some “classy” restaurants were featured in all of the tourism material. such as: the cheesecake factory, tony roma’s (a place for ribs), sizzler not to mention all the coupons for jack in the box, mcdonald’s, burger king and subway. i couldn’t believe it…. but then i thought maybe these served as adventurous overseas dining to other patrons of the islands.
transportation was easy enough with free trolleys… although i felt like the biggest nerd on them (and christian nearly lost his head by not ducking under bar on one) but the japanese tourists seemed to love them! we did not have a chance to take the bus. however i think it’s pretty awesome that it gets to be THE bus. we hopped on a free trolley to visit the flagship store of hilo hattie. we bought a pineapple scented candle that has now permeated our entire apartment with its sicky sweet smell. at one point we snuck away from the tourist frenzy and walked a few blocks up to a kmart that we had spotted. that’s where we did our fine chocolate macadamia nut shopping!
an event i’d been looking forward to since before i can remember was visiting pearl harbor.
what’s hawaii without some surf adventures? i don’t mean to imply that i hit the waves…. but christian rented a board for an hour… i tried to keep track of him for as i long as i could but then i lost him out there. he returned sooner than i would have thought with some bloody, cut-up feet… the manly explanation is that he wrestled a stingray, shark and electric eel all at once. the real explanation is that he could stand on the bottom of the ocean and there were a lot of sharp rocks… i just patiently waited for him to get back wearing spf 50… i didn’t burn. but i did stay the same color, which was essentially no color.
on our second to last day we went to the equivalant of polynesian disneyworld. it is the polynesian cultural center run by the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints in conjunction with brigham young university-hawaii. it is amazing… it is split into seven different “islands” or areas of polynesia… our favorite was probably somoa. christian got picked to help drink coconut milk and i had to hula with a bunch of kids. the majority of the workers at the center, either performers, dancers, tourguides, etc are from the polynesian islands and are students at byu-hawaii. we snuck away for a little bit to see the byuh grounds and to see the laie, hawaii temple. that night we got to enjoy a real hawaiian luau and watch an amazing performance showcasing the dances of polynesia! (the previous somoan man with christian was the star performer… he danced on, with and through fire!) it was pretty spectacular .
our shuttle to the airport was anything but spectacular… but i don’t have the energy to get into what happened exactly. let’s just say an old woman, an old man and an old blind man thought they were leaving on thursday because that is what their hotel told them (?) and they were at breakfast when our (and their) shuttle came to get them for the airport wednesday morning. our shuttle made two stops at their hotel and then waited more 30 minutes for them… christian made a point of sighing pretty loud… i made a point of helping buckle in blind old man… when we got to the airport with barely any time to spare christian pushed his way to the back of the van, threw it open and pulled out our luggage – that pretty much pissed off the driver. needless to say we made our flight, and they made our flight too…