Written by Eric from Aiea on 09 Nov, 2010
It is a funny thing how so many people go to Oahu and really do not get much further than the canal that surrounds Waikiki other than going to Aloha Tower and Ala Moana Mall. Waikiki is full of things to do, and many just…Read More
It is a funny thing how so many people go to Oahu and really do not get much further than the canal that surrounds Waikiki other than going to Aloha Tower and Ala Moana Mall. Waikiki is full of things to do, and many just spend what time they have on island enjoying the beaches and the shopping there. However, Oahu is a gem in itself that offers some great things far past the moat that is the canal. One of the big travelers’ questions is always if you should or should not get a rental car. Car rentals on Oahu are actually very reasonable in price due to competition. Many do not get a rental car because the price of parking is so high. It’s just one of those factors that is difficult to beat unless you are staying down at the end of the strip towards Diamond Head where there actually is parking towards the park. Those who are military or veterans have a huge advantage in the parking game by using the FT Derussy parking garage. The advantage comes in that if you are going to stay for a couple of days, you can go to the office and pay about 8 dollars a day for a swipe pass. It is a significant savings event by doing so and a huge savings for 4 or 5 days on island.Though Diamond Head is one of those things that many know about or see – few actually take the coast side road that runs above the ocean and see the view from there. To get there is rather easy, you just continue on past the park at the end of the Waikiki strip. It is a great hike or run, and even easier just to hop in the car and drive it. There are plenty of places to stop and park and take in the view of the rocky beaches and the windsurfers. If you are driving and continue on – you will soon be in Kahala and pass by the mall there and can get on H1 going East.H1 East is the route to Hawaii Kai. H1 becomes a roadway after Kahala, with plenty of traffic lights. The best time to take the drive out this way is from 8am until about 3pm --- in between Oahu’s traffic cycles. If you know the flows of the traffic – then you can work any trip out past that time – but to be stuck in a paradise traffic jam is the same as being stuck in pone anywhere else. You might want to stop off at Kawaikui Beach park near Hawaii Kai, or at the beaches close to Hawaii Kai that are on Maunalua Bay. These are not the best beaches – but you do get some spectacular views from here and they are very good ones for a picnic.If you might just happen to want to get something to eat, you can stop off at the Hawaii Kai shopping center on the Koko Head side of the causeway. The Greek Marina there is a great stop for gyros – or just to get the awesome fries they have. Yummy Korean Barbecue is the other quick eat spot there. For a more laid back time – would say try lunch at Kona Brewery there on the lagoon. The shopping center is also where you can find soft serve mango flavored ice cream.The road out of Hawaii Kai goes up hill, though actually its more up the volcano. The next couple of miles are some of the most beautiful driving sites on island as you hug the coastal lava rocks above the ocean and have one incredible view after another as you pass by H Bay and come up to the Blow Hole parking lot. To the right of the parking lot at the bottom of the ravine is a small inlet beach that is one of the most beautiful on island. To get there is a walk down the large rocks at a point near the road. Its lava rock – so don’t think you can go down it barefoot, but it is a great hidden beach.Driving to the beach visible from the Blow Hole lookout takes you to Sandy Beach. Sandy is by far the best shore break beach on island – and you will see a lot of local boogy boarders in the water there. The beach has really soft sand and best of all – a lot of parking. There is a shower and a bathroom there as well. This is one of the best places in the Fall to see some very good wave riders and surfers in action. One thing about Sandy though is that in the Winter months and the rougher waves coming in – there is a lot of drag in the water behind a wave – and don’t lose your swimming trunks by not expecting it. Sandy is a beach that is just outside of the tourist rage – and most of the folks you will see are locals from Oahu who are out enjoying the water and the sun. Normally waves here will run at about 3-5 feet, growing larger with passing swells and storms.The area form Sandy Beach to the pass is more a desert than a tropical island. There are plenty of hiking trails around in this area as well. As you approach the pass – there is a pull off to the right and a small parking lot. From that lava rock walled lookout you can see several of the smaller islands off the other side of Oahu and some spectacular views, as well as seeing para-gliders suiting up and flying from the cliffs. There is always a great breeze there in the day and it is one of the best places to get some spectacular photos. You can not see the light house that is too your right – it is on the other side of the mountain and is visible from the beaches that are down on the other side of the pass. Close
Written by Eric from Aiea on 05 Nov, 2010
My first Halloween in Oahu came about when I flew up to Honolulu from Pago Pago for a meeting that happened to coincide with Halloween. Having just left ST Louis before moving to American Samoa, I had no clue about how Halloween was done out…Read More
My first Halloween in Oahu came about when I flew up to Honolulu from Pago Pago for a meeting that happened to coincide with Halloween. Having just left ST Louis before moving to American Samoa, I had no clue about how Halloween was done out in the islands and thought it might just be a few clubs throwing costume parties. What I found was that when it comes to Halloween, you are not likely to find many places that celebrate it as big as Honolulu does. Years later, I am still going back to celebrate Halloween, and thought I would offer a few tips for those traveling to Hawaii or for those who are new living on island on the fun things that are offered and where to go. When Halloween falls on a weekend – expect for there to be so much going on that you can miss somethings. The best bet is to pack your own costume and bring it with you to island. If you were thinking you can find a costume in a store the day before, then you probably underestimated just how many locals and tourists are coming out in costume. The Japanese tourist will likely have gotten everything in walking distance of Waikiki – so if you need a costume – you might want to go to Hawaii Kai, where in the shopping center on the Cocohead side of the lagoon is a department store with lots of Men and Women’s costumes to be found and decent prices. It is a great stop if your on your way to see the Blowhole or to Sandy beach. Both Walmart and Kmart nearest to Waikiki may have a few items left – but last minute choices will be limited because a lot of people will have the same idea to go there.Prior to Halloween night, you will find that Oahu has a haunted plantation (Hawaii's Plantation Village Indoor-Outdoor Museum in Waipahu) a haunted warehouse (on Ala Moana), and a haunted lagoon if you want to go to a fun scare place. Of those, the haunted lagoon is one that really is a unique island expereince. This is different in that you are taking a night time canoe ride at the Polynesian Cultural Center’s lagoon in seach of the Laie Lady. There are usually two versions, one family-friendly and the other that is not family oriented. The canoe rides were held each Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 6:30 to 9 p.m throughout the month leading up to Halloween. There are also several ghost tours of the island, to a few places that most consider to be haunted.One of the best pre-Halloween parties has been at Club Paparazzi at the Ward Warehouse. The pre-party there is usually done so that it is not in running with the bigger clubs and it gets a pretty good draw of people from both the local and tourists on island. It is a dance club with very good DJs and usually offers a discounted admission if early and in costume. You are likely to find a pre-Halloween party at Aloha Tower at well, but expect to have an admission charge. The upside is that usually it is also a large costumed crowd that shows up.For Halloween Day, expect to find two huge block parties going on that you will want to go to. The biggest problem, as always – is parking. If you can take a shuttle or a taxi – that is the best way to get around on Halloween night. Traffic in both downtown and in Honolulu will be heavy – and just is an item that you have to adjust too. If you are staying in Waikiki – get back to Waikiki by 5pm and you are ok for traffic and parking. There are plenty of places to eat in Waikiki and surrounding it, so just plan ahead and know that the whole island is about to come join you for Halloween.Honolulu Hallowbaloo Music Arts Festival is the huge block party that starts downtown in Chinatown and is centered on Nuuanu Ave, with about seven blocks being closed down to traffic and entrance points to walk in from about 5:30 to 1130pm. This year was the 3d year, and it has grown bigger and better each year in putting on a real music showcase with some great bands and showing off a unique aspect of Honolulu’s culture. Hallowbaloo is a massive street festival and pub crawl drawing 10-20,000 costumed revelers and features about 10 bands and 15 DJs on different stages set up at the ends of the blocked area. This year also included a mechanical bull – set up in the center of a street. There are plenty of food and beer stands, plus all the pubs and restaraunts are open. First place in the costume contest this year was $750, and you can expect to see some wild and some unique costumes. You can stop off at any of the bars here when the barriers come down and the street party is over and finish Halloween here. But chances are that you wont. The cars will fill the streets heading to Waikiki as the tropical sun begins to set. The stretches of Kuhio and Kalakaua will soon be covered with people in the Halloween costumed best. I found the best time to actually go out and join the fun is to start abput 7:30-8pm. I recommend the Yard House as the best place to start off with a few drinks before wandring into the crowds. In Waikiki along the strip, costumed partygoers stroll down the coconut-palm-lined sidewalks of Kalakaua Avenue past its high end stores and malls. On both sides of the street you will find tens of thousands of people in costume with camera in hand getting pictures with some of the best adult themed costumed characters you may see anywhere. You wont want to miss this, and all the bars surrounding Wakiki will be packed. The crowds rally start getting heavy about 8pm and will stay that way until usually about 1am. Do make sure your camera batteries are fully charged be fore you go though! Wearing a great costume is one thing, making sure you got shoes or boots that are comfortable to walk a mile or two in is a whole nother thing. There are actually plenty of places to stop and take a seat at and rest up for a few minutes, the best being down on the grass area by the statue of Duke.To close out the night means heading over to one of the night spots. My favorite for Halloween is Restaurant Row and the Row Bar/Oceans Halloween party. Expect to find a thousand folks there in costume and some great music and about a $15 cover charge. The fun goes until 2 or 3 in the morning. When it is all done – you wonder just how many folks wont be getting up early for work the next morning. Having been lucky enough to be one of those that did not make it in early for work a few times– can say there are quite a few – and that all the fun is definitely worth it. There really is not much like Halloween in Paradise - and if you get a chance to experience it - GO! Close
Written by virgoleanne on 02 Mar, 2002
Since I am a Green Bay Packers fan and my boyfriend is a San Francisco 49ers fan we decided to go to the Pro Bowl. The NFL Pro Bowl is a meeting of the top players from the NFC (National Football Conference) and the AFC…Read More
Since I am a Green Bay Packers fan and my boyfriend is a San Francisco 49ers fan we decided to go to the Pro Bowl. The NFL Pro Bowl is a meeting of the top players from the NFC (National Football Conference) and the AFC (American Football Conference) teams to play an exibition game and be honored for their athletic skills. It allows the fans who normally would not be able to see their favorite players the ability to see them all at once. Since Oahu has tons of hotel space available, its a prime spot to hold a major event. Hawaii does not have a professional football team and the Pro Bowl gives its residents a chance to attend a game.
The Pro Bowl takes place the weekend after the NFL Superbowl. It is held in the Aloha Stadium where the University of Hawaii college games are played. Our tickets were $90.00 each and we were seated on the lower level toward the end zone. We purchased our tickets on line through gotickets.com. I do not recommend using this company since they were unable to provide us with two tickets sitting together and we were not told this until the day before the game. They also had to send the tickets to the hotel we were staying in Oahu even though we ordered weeks in advance.
I would recommend going to the Pro Bowl and checking out the Topps NFL Experience if you enjoy sports. The Topps NFL Experience is set up on Kuroda Field in Fort DeRussy right at the entrance to Waikiki during the weekend the Pro Bowl is held. Football fans can enjoy games, activities, prizes, food, NFL merchandise, a ferris wheel, Hall of Quarterbacks display, NFL Films Theatre, the Topps Card Show, free autographs from past and present NFL stars (be prepared for long lines).Admission ranges from $2.00 to $5.00. We paid $4.00 for adult admission because it was later in the day. At the end of the last day of the NFL Experience, the licensed Pro Bowl souveneirs get knocked down 25%. You can't beat the NFL Experience, if not for the admission price.
Written by kimca on 21 Oct, 2004
We decided to get out of the city and see a bit more of what Honolulu had to offer. Our first recommendation is to get a good map - not one of those huge ones, but one that has details and highlights listed so you…Read More
We decided to get out of the city and see a bit more of what Honolulu had to offer. Our first recommendation is to get a good map - not one of those huge ones, but one that has details and highlights listed so you know where to stop along your drive. We got a good one at the local ABC store.
The North Shore If you are looking for beaches that are less crowded, this is definitely the way to go. In the winter, the beaches on the North Shore can be crowded due to those watching surfing competitions, but in the summer, there is plenty of room. It's interesting to see these beaches that are shown all time on TV for their huges waves when the waters are totally flat and calm.
Our favorite of these was probably Waimea Beach, which was uncrowded and unspoiled with a beautiful setting.
I recommend stopping for lunch at a great Mexican food place, Cholo's Homestyle Mexican. It's located at 66-250 Kamehameha Highway in the Northshore Marketplace in Haleiwa. Delicious. Haleiwai is a cute little town in itself to check out if you have extra time.
Make sure to look for the roadside stands along the North Shore selling pineapple, mango, coconut, and a variety of other things. The one we stopped at had fruit already cut up and they gave us spoons to eat it with - delicious!
Written by Truly Malin on 12 Nov, 2001
For every friend or relative who would love nothing more than if you would bring back one of those wiggling hula girl dashboard ornaments as a souvenir, there is another whose discriminating taste makes shopping for souvenirs a nightmare. Here are some suggestions to help…Read More
For every friend or relative who would love nothing more than if you would bring back one of those wiggling hula girl dashboard ornaments as a souvenir, there is another whose discriminating taste makes shopping for souvenirs a nightmare. Here are some suggestions to help you find the perfect gift for each and every person on your list.
Repeat after me. Hilo Hattie is not your friend. I know the ads look tempting, with their free shuttle buses, complimentary puka bead necklaces, and kona coffee samples at the door. Look if you must, but don't succumb to that tourist temptation! You can do a lot better elsewhere, either on price or quality, for just about every category of gift.
The place to buy candy, coffee, and macadamia nuts is Long's Drugstore. There's one in the Ala Moana mall - I'm sure your concierge can help you find another. They have the same Hawaiian Host chocolate-coated macadamia nuts as the ABC stores and the gift shops at 2/3 the cost. Their coffee is less than half the price of the identical coffee at Hilo Hatties. They also have cute, cheap little doodads, like post-it notes in the shape of Hawaiian shirts.
What is it about Kona Coffee?
Kona Coffee really does have a unique, identifiable taste that is unlike any other coffee I've ever tasted. I hope my husband will forgive me for admitting publicly that I am hopelessly in love with it. Interestingly, though, it actually tastes better when blended with the regular stuff. One brand I really enjoyed is Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee Co. Their "Kona Classic" blend comes in regular and decaf, and is reasonably priced. I wouldn't bother with their flavored coffees. The very thought is heresy to my ears! If you are buying gifts for a really discriminating coffee drinker, you could bring home the pure stuff, but expect to pay 3-4 times as much for the same 10oz. bag. The really good stuff is Kona Peaberry, so named for a growing phenomenon in which only one bean forms in the coffee "cherry" instead of the usual two. The lone bean is thus twice as flavorful, and so is the coffee.
Stuff You can Wear
There aren't many wearable bargains to be had in Honolulu, so you may as well splurge and get something really nice. Tommy Bahama sells expensive but well-made items, specializing in silks. We picked up a necktie with a very small, subtle hula dancer pattern and a gorgeous silk scarf with a palm and floral motif there. They also sell clothing, sandals, and bathing suits galore. (one location is the Hilton Hawaiian Village shopping center).
Perhaps my favorite store in all Hawaii is Crazy Shirts. Their stores can be found in every city and major shopping mall on the islands. They're not cheap, but the shirts are very good quality and absolutely bursting with creative, interesting, stylish designs. Each store has a slightly different sub-set of their vast inventory. Many designs will include the name of the island somewhere, so you can get one for each island you visit on your trip! I really loved Crazy Shirts because of their womens' section, where you can find cute, feminine tank tops and "mini crews": shorter t-shirts that fit snugger and have thinner hems and collars than their male counterparts. (sample locations: Hilton Hawaiian Village shopping center, Ala Moana mall, Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki).
Music to Go
As I mentioned in my Pearl Harbor journal, the gift shop there has wonderful CDs of 40's era music for sale. They weren't cheap, but the money went to a good cause. You could also stop by the Ala Moana mall and pick up a copy of Keali'i Reichel's Kawaipunahele, an immensely popular collection of both traditional and contemporary songs. If you can get past his predilection for wearing loincloths on his album covers, you'll enjoy his hauntingly beautiful voice - at least when he's not singing in English. Trust me, just hit the "skip" button if you happen to recognize an English word. You won't regret it. Also available on Amazon.com if you can't be bothered to hit a record store during your vacation! (I bought mine in the airport.)
The musician in your life might appreciate the gift of a ukelele. There are some really beautiful ones in a shop in the lobby of the Hilton Hawaiian Village's brand new Kalia Tower. And what's more, the staff actually know the difference between the $50 ukelele and the $300 one, and can help you decide which one to buy. The Aloha Tower Marketplace also has a ukelele store, but it's not as nice.
Pineapples and More
A really fun place to shop for souvenirs is the Dole Pineapple Plantation. It's quite a ways out of town, but if you're heading toward Haleiwa (remind me to add a link to that entry when I write my Oahu journal), it's a great place to stop, cool off, and shop till you drop. They have a vast collection of nostalgic designs on everything from golf towels to postcards to baseball caps. Many are based on old Hawaiian postcards - others feature old Dole logos and can labels from years gone by. You can also have pineapples shipped just about anywhere. While you're there, there's a wonderful (but crowded!) snack counter, where you can taste just about any combination of pineapple, sugar, and macadamia ever invented by the human mind. My favorite is Dole Whip, a creamy fat-free non-dairy soft frozen yogurt which literally melts in your mouth. Delicious!
Written by smmmarti guide on 06 Sep, 2003
Reading Lili`uokalani's desperate plea to President Harrison, I pictured a hologram of a princess sending a message to Obi Wan Kanobi. "Help me! You are my only hope," it seemed to cry. A distant captive princess, a land under attack, its people in jeopardy; what…Read More
Reading Lili`uokalani's desperate plea to President Harrison, I pictured a hologram of a princess sending a message to Obi Wan Kanobi. "Help me! You are my only hope," it seemed to cry. A distant captive princess, a land under attack, its people in jeopardy; what this story needed was a hero.
A long time ago in a land far, far away called Hawaii, ancient Polynesians discovered the archipelago after making their way across vast expanses of sea in outrigger canoes guided only by wisdom and instinct that evades modern-day scholars still. For centuries (400-1778) Hawaiians lived following a strict social code called kapu tempered by aloha. Kapu maintained order and abundance and Aloha ensured happiness and peace.
Not long after Cook’s arrival in the islands (1778), King Kamehameha successful bid for unification created a central government and era of prosperity. Hawaii became a center for fur and sandalwood trade routes and later whaling broke out as a major industry. Whaler’s, sailors, and traders were lured to the area’s promise of plenty, and exotic, sensuous culture and foreign entrepreneurs competed for the King’s favor and the islands’ potential. Soon, missionaries were sent by to temper the vice flourishing amid the rediscovered paradise.
The natives were not the missionaries’ greatest challenge, for Hawaiians easily adapted to the concepts of Christianity, having been guided for a thousand years by the spirit of love and Aloha. After Kamehameha I died, his widow, Ka`ahumanu, converted and served as regent during the reign of her children. Kamehamaha II first broke kapu without the feared dire consequences which launched the end of an era. Kamehamaha III went on to establish a constitutional monarchy with a representative legislature that gave male citizens the vote. Kanaka Maoli, a principle long accepted by islanders whereby they shared their land with everyone, gave way to the Western concept of single land ownership. The "Great Mahele" gave foreigners ownership rights to segments of land.
By 1843 France, England and the United States had recognized Hawaii as an independent nation. Within decades after the missionaries created a written Hawaiian language, (before that time all information was passed down in oral history) Hawaiians had the highest literacy rate in the country. The first preparatory school west of the Rocky Mountains was established in Lahaina, Hawaii.
But the monarchy was feeling the negative effects of rapid change. Disease, brought by the outsiders against which the islanders had no immunities, wrecked havoc. Within a few generations the number of native subjects was reduced dramatically. Meanwhile, descendents of the missionaries and other outsiders, many who were brought to Hawaii to work the plantations, were establishing strong entrepreneurial outlets and outnumbering the aboriginal Hawaiians.
Times were nevertheless prosperous and Kamehameha V further improved Hawaii’s balance of trade during his reign. He attempted to marry lovely Bernice Pauahi, the last descendent of Kamehameha, but she married a white man, Charles Bishop instead. Failing in his attempt to marry and lacking an heir, Kamehameha V tried to convince Bernice to ascend the throne following him, but she refused. A new king, a distant relative of Kamehameha I, was elected but soon died of consumption, one of only many suspicious royal deaths during the era. (Some accounts suggest poison gave assistance to snuffing out the era of ali’I, but nothing has been proven.)
The royal lineage was left without an heir apparent. The legislature elected David Kalakaua, descended from a cousin of Kamehameha the Great. Many people had wanted dowager Queen Emma, married to a former King and Bernice Pauahi’s aunt, to become rightful queen. So much so that the British Marines were called in to squelch a riot following the election of David. Clearly, trouble was brewing in paradise and all the events mentioned so far play a role in the outcome.
During David’s reign, a group of powerful businessmen instituted a "Bayonet Constitution" pressuring the King that unless he sign the document and follow their orders, the group, calling themselves the Committee of Safety, would take more drastic action. Under the new constitution, voting rights were extended only to those with high property ownership and income levels, but denied to Asians regardless of their status.
With a bayonnet at his back, David complied. His actual powers being diminished, he sought instead to prove his position by appealing to the Western world, circumnavigating the globe, and building the `Iolani Palace where he hosted and wooed dignitaries and heads of State.
When King David died, his throne went to his sister and regent, Lili`uokalani. She attempted to restore some power to the authentic monarchy and hoped to replace the Bayonnet Constitution. As a result, the Committee of Safety, headed up by Lorrin Thurston took control of the palace, the queen and the Kingdom in conspiracy with the U.S. Foreign Minister, John Stevens.
Essentially, the group had Mr. Stevens, an annexationist, back their claim that the U.S. Marines aboard the USS Boston stationed in Honolulu were needed to squelch another riot. But the Marines marched to the Palace and found nothing but a group of businessmen intimidating a Queen into submission.
On Jan. 17, 1893, rather than risk bloodshed, and certain that the United States would restore her rightful position once the matter was revealed, the eloquent Queen wrote the following letter of surrender:
"I, Lili`uokalani, by the grace of God and under the constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the constitutional government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom. That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America, ... to avoid any collision of armed forces and perhaps loss of life, I do, ... yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon the facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representative and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands."
Then Queen LILI`UOKALANI, wrote to U. S. President Benjamin Harrison on January 18,1893.
His Excellency BENJAMIN HARRISON, President of the United States:
MY GREAT AND GOOD FRIEND: It is with deep regret that I address you on this occasion. Some of my subjects, aided by aliens, have renounced their loyalty and revolted against the constitutional government of my Kingdom. They have attempted to depose me and to establish a provisional government, in direct conflict with the organic law of this Kingdom….I pray you, therefore, my good friend, that you will not allow any conclusions to be reached by you until my envoy arrives. I beg to assure you of the continuance of my highest consideration.
HONOLULU, January 18,1893.
Help was not swiftly forthcoming. The revolutionaries established their own government with Sanford Dole as president of the new Republic. When supporters of the queen, lead by Robert Wilcox, a half-Hawaiian, half-white subject, attempted to overthrow the new government, the queen was charged with treason and the plotters were sentenced to death.
The matter garnered Washington’s further attention when the Queen’s niece, the fair Princess Kaiulani , entreated her kingdom’s case before President Cleveland. A series of investigations followed and the President addressed Congress vehemently denouncing the activities in Hawaii, supporting the Queen and her right to rule her Kingdom. He then put the matter of congressional hearings in the hands of John Morgan, an annexationist, who eventually found no fault with the uprising. Yet, members of Congress were shrewd enough to depose the former U. S. Minister, John Stevens, and pass a resolution opposing the annexation of Hawaii.
Nothing more was done. Cleveland left office, Sanford Dole (of pineapple fame) became Governor of the new Republic, and the Queen was held under armed guard in her own Palace for eight months. The new U. S. President, William McKinley, was busy urging the country out of depression with a 100 Day War against the Spanish, and annexation, despite protests, moved forward. In 1898, the U.S. annexed Hawaii along with Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. As to the Hawaiian incident, former President Cleveland wrote, "I am ashamed of the whole affair."
In 1993, the anniversary of the take-over in Hawaii, `Iolani Palace was draped in black, and President Clinton signed an apology resolution regarding the series of activities that determined the end of Hawaii’s monarchy. Although the past isn’t easily undone, it is important to educate ourselves about it. Visiting Hawaii armed with a bit of history, one can‘t help but ponder the past and question the future, seeing things in a broader-minded light.
Hawaii’s sovereignty was lost, but Aloha lives on. In it, the spirit of the Ali’I still thrive, ensuring that Hawaii to this day, is like no place else on earth.
Written by ricardo on 30 Jun, 2000
You need the BIG box of crayolas to draw the reef fish of Hawaii. So, if all you do while vacationing in the islands is look at the surface of the water, if you don’t actually stick your face in the briney and literally immerse…Read More
You need the BIG box of crayolas to draw the reef fish of Hawaii. So, if all you do while vacationing in the islands is look at the surface of the water, if you don’t actually stick your face in the briney and literally immerse yourself in the Hawaiian ocean, you’re cheating yourself out of one of the great pleasures of life!
Every person I know who has lived a land-locked existence and then, on the spur of the moment, decided to try snorkeling has the same story to tell. Yelling "WOW!" into the snorkel pipe. Breathing hard. Eyeballs squirting out into the mask. Absolute astonishment at the color, beauty, frenzy, and complexity of the shallow water world. You don’t have to be a water baby. You don’t have to be a strong swimmer. If your ancestors came from Africa, then your muscle density is greater than that of white or Asian people and you may have trouble swimming. If so, just put on a floatation device. If you’re overweight and reluctant to appear in public in a bathing suit, stop worrying. This is America. We’re all overweight. If you have small kids and you fear for their safety in the water, give them water wings. Just don’t miss this opportunity to do something you cannot do at home! If you’re afraid of water, you’ll still love snorkeling (see next journal entry). If you do one thing on your Hawaiian vacation, get a mask and pipe and put your face in the water. It may be as close as you’ll get to discovering life on another planet.
Hanauma Bay is a great place to start. It’s right down the street from Waikiki, a five minute drive, nestled in a volcanic crater once used as a set for an Elvis movie. The water is shallow far out from the beach. The fish life is abundant. The goober life is also abundant, so you may get finned in the face by someone not watching what they’re doing. But it’s worth it. Needlefish, wahoos, yellow and convict tangs, blue surgeons, orange unicornfish, stoplight parrots, triggerfish, snowflake eels, schools of blue trevallies, every color from ultraviolet to infrared. No coral though. At least not close in. All volcanic hard bottom. So, if you’re used to Bonaire or the Bay Islands off Honduras or the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll have to re-set your expectations. But it’s a perfect place to try snorkeling for the first time. The local biologists are conducting tests on whether fish feeding by tourists disrupts the life cycles of reef fish, so feeding the fish may be banned when you visit. If it isn’t, you can buy packets of fish food at a concession stand.
Another great spot for first timers is on the Big Island: Kanoe’ele Cove, part of Honaunau Bay right beside the City Of Refuge. It’s just up the road from Kealakekua Bay where Captain Cook was killed by native Hawaiians. You can park in the lot for the Refuge and walk over to the right to where you see kids swimming. (Don’t leave your sneakers or towels on the Refuge property.) Occasional skiffs come in to the boat launch, so keep your wits about you. But what you’re more likely to see than boats are turtles munching on the raspberry sea lettuce that grows on the bottom of the cove. Thermal vents open into the bay so you’ll be swimming over the coraline algae and suddenly the water will wrinkle up the way air wrinkles over a hot asphalt road in the summer. You’ll suddenly be bathed in warm water. Then you’ll pass over it and you’ll be cold again. The day we went, the cove was full of turtles. You can’t see then from the surface unless you watch for bobbing heads, but it’s hard not to bump into them below the surface.
If you’re driving by and you see people snorkeling, stop and jump in. Guide books don’t list all the best spots. Sometimes you just stumble on them. Look for quiet coves with no waves and burned floating backs in the water.
You’re thinking pineapples, right? Yes, there are lots of pineapples in Hawaii. But there are also foods you’re less likely to find in your local supermarket. Poi is one of them. It’s either the most vile and wretched glutinous gooey glop you’ve put in your…Read More
You’re thinking pineapples, right? Yes, there are lots of pineapples in Hawaii. But there are also foods you’re less likely to find in your local supermarket. Poi is one of them. It’s either the most vile and wretched glutinous gooey glop you’ve put in your mouth since you were six months old and didn’t know that a rancid puddle of chewed dog kibble soaked in Rover’s drool wasn’t edible. Or it’s a unique taste sensation, a delightful sparkling palate cleanser with subtle and varied hues, a light and savory island gustatory experience not to be missed. I like the stuff, but I also understand why some people believe it should only be fed to pigs. It’s made by cooking and mashing taro root into a sour mush/paste that you eat with your hands as if you’re eating finger paint. It has a consistency somewhere between thick yogurt and an old banana. Definitely an acquired taste.
Haupia, however, a kind of coconut pudding, is quite scrumptious. It looks like an opaque white jello, but it’s very sweet. It’s often served as a wiggly cube for desert. Another great desert is coconut cream poured into a half papaya. I’ve never seen it served anywhere. It’s something you make for yourself on a picnic. But a cousin is kulolo, a taro and coconut cream pudding that you can sometimes find in restaurants.
Loco moco is pidgin food, a mixture of cuisines. It comes in different forms, but one version is a plate of rice with a hamburger patty on it and a fried egg on top of that, all covered with a soy sauce gravy. It’s often served to school kids and you can find it at roadside joints.
Another pidgin food is shave ice (like a giant snow cone, what we call in Boston a slush). Flavors include Blue Hawaii (vanilla coconut in a disturbingly swimming-pool-plastic blue), lilikoi (passionfruit), lihing mui (a tropical nut) and that famous ancient Hawaiian variety: bubblegum. The best way to get shave ice is with cream, sometimes coconut cream, poured into it and a lump of red bean paste at the bottom (which tastes like yokan if you’re familiar with Japanese deserts).
Laulau (lau means leaf) is food steamed in leaves – usually taro leaves. It often contains a lump of pork. And I’ve even see this method used to cook spam. (The highest consumption of Spam in the world is by Hawaiians.) Sometimes the leaves alone are cooked in seawater, tastes like swiss chard boiled in a hot ocean.
When we travelled to Hawaii as a family, we figured we could spend $250 a night to sleep in beds - just like the ones at home - in a room with a TV - just like the one at home - and carpeted floors…Read More
When we travelled to Hawaii as a family, we figured we could spend $250 a night to sleep in beds - just like the ones at home - in a room with a TV - just like the one at home - and carpeted floors – just like the ones at home. And to let us know that we weren’t actually at home, we’d find chocolate mints on our pillows in the afternoon.
For $0 a night we could sleep in a tent on the soft sand beside the sparkling beach, surrounded by coconut palms, laughing at the jungle chickens and Brazilian cardinals around us – in an environment completely unlike home. Then with the money we’d saved from that one night, we could buy 46 pounds of chocolate mints and put them on our own pillows everyday for ten years. So, that’s what we did.
And anyone else can do the same because camping in Hawaiian state parks is free. You call ahead to reserve a spot. The park officials send you a tag to put on your tent. And that’s it. On the Big Island, you can camp under the ironwood trees at the MacKenzie Recreation Area. On Molokai you can camp at Pala'au. Oahu has campsites at Sand Island (close to the city – not really a wilderness experience), Kahana (full of fruit trees), Kea'iwa (temple remnants), and Malaekahana (beside the beach at Kalanai Point). On Maui there’s the volcanic coastline at Wai'anapanapa near the winding Road To Hana, or the Kula Forest at Polipoli Springs. On Kauai, Koke'e features a site near Waimea Canyon ("the Grand Canyon of the Pacific"), Na Pali offers primitive camping if you’re hiking the wild and scenic coast, and Polihale is for anyone who wants to camp near the dunes in a spot that feels like the end of the world.
What’s it like camping in a Hawaiian state park? Well, it depends on the park. When we slept at Malaekahana on Oahu, the only other people there were a family with seven kids (which explains why they weren’t staying in a hotel) and a Hawaiian couple with a six month old baby. We had the entire yellow-sand beach to ourselves and spent the day recovering from jet lag playing in the waves until a tropical shower passed overhead and sent us into the tent for an hour. I then spent the first night cringing at what I thought were the maniacal screams of tortured animals miles away, only to find out the next morning that I’d been listening to the courtship caterwauling of mongooses (brought to the islands to eat rats in the cane fields, but instead preying on the native birds). After a chuckle, I started to relax and fit in a little more with the natural world around me.
At Wai'anapanapa on Maui, the other campers included an ecstatic 40 year old East German who had dreamt of the South Pacific during his childhood in dreary East Berlin, and four couples from California (who fit in perfectly on Maui since pretty much every human being on the island came from California). My wife spent part of the morning trying to WILL papayas down from a papaya tree (note: staring at the fruit – even staring HARD at it with SINISTER intent – doesn’t work). And we all hiked along the black volcanic sand beach under the ironwood trees down into a lava cave that met the ocean.
The parks we’ve stayed in have always been quiet at night. One of the reasons the state parks don’t fill up with party-till-dawn techno-dancing ravers is because the gates close at dusk, which means you can’t get your vehicle in or out after dark. So this is not a good option for people who want to drink all night and stagger in during the wee hours. It is a great option, though, for nature lovers who like watching the sunset from the beach or the sunrise from the top of a nearby hill – people who want to become part of the natural environment.
There is no camping in Oahu state parks on Wednesday or Thursday nights (I have no idea why). And you cannot reserve a spot on Oahu more than 30 days before your first date of camping. (This rule is not flexible.) But there are inexpensive private campgrounds on Oahu if you'll be staying over on nights when the parks are closed. And the parks on the other islands are open seven days a week, and allow you to reserve a spot up to a year ahead of your visit.
Tent camping is free as long as you have the necessary permit, but some state parks also have cabins that can be rented for a fee - usually $20 to $60. (Up in the mountains where the temperature can drop, especially in a place like Koke’e or foggy chilly Polipoli, cabins are often a warmer alternative.) To reserve a free tent site or a fee-cabin you'll need to call for a reservation with the name of the park and the dates on which you'll be arriving and leaving. So, studying the available park locations on a map is essential before calling for the permit forms. You can find lists of the various state parks at:
The phone numbers to call (remember time zone differences) to arrange camping permits are:
Maui: (808) 984-8109
Kauai: (808) 274-3444
Oahu: (808) 587-0300
The Big Island: (808) 974-6200
Addresses to write to and other useful information concerning parks, camping, and cabins are at:
Before arriving in Honolulu, I had read about the Aloha Festival and was looking forward to it as it seemed like it would be alot of fun - and it was!While we weren't going to be there for the main Waikiki Ho'olaule'a (street festival), we…Read More
Before arriving in Honolulu, I had read about the Aloha Festival and was looking forward to it as it seemed like it would be alot of fun - and it was!
While we weren't going to be there for the main Waikiki Ho'olaule'a (street festival), we did get to go to the downtown Ho'olaule'a, located in the business districk of Honolulu.
They closed down Bishop Street, and the street came alive with bands playing on stages, food stalls, and general entertainment. I was sorry we had already eaten, as the food smelled delicious.
There were various stages set up along the street for music and different bands were scheduled at different times. Towards one end of Bishop Street, there was a kids area with mini-rides and fun activies.
Another event we were lucky to be there for was the Floral Parade. It snaked its way from Ala Moana Park to Kapiolani Park and came down right by the Hilton where were staying, which was perfect. The floral floats were beautiful and there were many marching bands and other participants. The Aloha Island Princesses on horseback were stunning in their detailed costumes.
There are various events on all the islands going on during Aloha Days. Close