The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Mahalo Hawai'i

When K and I arrived in Honolulu, we were actually quite surprised at the lack of stereotypical Hawai'i. No one met us at the airport with leis. No beautiful women were hula dancing. In fact, since we arrived so late on Wednesday, we had dinner at a pizza place as we watched hookers mulling around in front of us. I felt as if I could do that in D.C. Apparently, Waikiki has a bad prostitution problem. Interestingly, in speaking with locals, we found out the hookers are not native, rather they come from Ohio and other mid-western states. I guess if you are going to leave home to become a hooker, Hawai'i is the place to do it.

With a bit of jet-lag setting in, we woke up on Thursday and were on the beach by 8am. Even at that early hour, the place was packed. Fighting through the Japanese tourists, we were able to secure some spots for much needed lounging. The water was so clear that standing neck deep, I could see my toes. And the fish. The fish were everywhere and would swim right up to you as long as you stood still. Pretty awesome.

After a day of tanning and some shopping we adorned ourselves in fresh flower leis and headed to the Paradise Cove Luau. There, we found the "Hawai'i" we were searching for. We were greeted with mai tais and shell necklaces. We made our own bracelets, we watched natives climb trees and pull in the fishing nets, we got Hawai'ian oil tattoos, drank more fruity drinks and watched the ceremonial un-earthing of the pig before sitting down to a Hawai'ian feast. The luau concluded with a Polynesian dance show which can only be described as amazing. The costumes, the dancing, the fire-twirling, the 1/2 nekkid Hawai'ians. Truly amazing!

On Friday, K had to deal with some luggage issues so I spent the day by myself on the beach. My $7 investment in an innertube proved well worth it as I spent my time floating out in the crystal clear waters with the fish and surfers. I met back up with K to buy some Malibu Rum and pineapple juice so we could sip it on the balcony while blaring Jimmy Buffet on the Ipod speakers. We had dinner at Duke's then joined the crowds on the beach to watch the sunset as the sky released a misty rain that felt great on our tanned skin. For the most part, that marked the end of our time in Hawai'i.

Hawai'is "most notable": The people! The natives were so friendly and welcoming. Obviously, tourism is huge in Hawai'i, but they go beyond that. It's as if they want you to truly understand and get to know their culture. "After all, cousin" they say "you are family."