Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hawaii: Waikiki/Honolulu

Just got back from a week in Hawaii (Waikiki). It was raining about half the time we were there, so I spent several days checking out Honolulu instead of trying to swim or sunbathe. It isn’t the most exciting city in the world, but it’s different from any other city I’ve ever seen. It works fine as a Plan B if you go to Waikiki and it’s raining.

I don’t think Honolulu gets many tourists, so you’re seeing the city as it really is and not just a theme park that was set up for tourists. Most tourists just stay in Waikiki or go to other parts of Oahu or to the other islands. Most of Honolulu’s population is Japanese. (For that matter, Waikiki must be about 90% Japanese. This wasn’t true four years ago when we were last there.)

So you have an ultra-modern tropical city, pan-Asian, pan-Pacific. Japanese are the largest ethnic group by far, but there are lots of Chinese, Koreans, Southeast Asians, Filipinos, Hawaiians and other Polynesians. But the city didn’t remind me at all of Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines or Samoa (places I went in the Navy a long time ago).

The usual fast food franchises are everywhere, but outside of them most of the restaurants are Japanese/Korean/Chinese/Vietnamese.

With so many different ethnic groups, English seems to be everybody’s second language. I couldn’t believe how many conversations I heard in broken English, with everyone speaking their own version of Pidgin English.

So if you go to Waikiki and get rained out, don’t just sit and fume in your hotel room, or hang around the bars in Waikiki guzzling $10 Mai Tais. Take a half hour bus ride to downtown Honolulu. It’s different.


Blogger PoliShifter said...

Glad to have you back! Glad you took a nice vacation too!

East, Relax, and Sleep for tommorow Bush will shove his head up his ass on National TV. Bound to be enough fodder to clog the internets and YouTubes for weeks.

January 9, 2007 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

PoliShifter: Thanks. Yeah, Bush's TV speech should be good for zillions of posts and YouTube videos.

January 9, 2007 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Hearing people speak to each other in broken english of various types is always fun. I once translated English to English for a guy from S. Korea in a Greek gyros shop.

Some times I speak Czech with the local Chinese population. That usually gets some stares from the Czechs.

January 10, 2007 at 3:58 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Prague Twin: English to English, LOL. That makes sense, though. Some accents are pretty hard to decipher. It works the other way too. When I was in India (a long time ago) I had a hell of a time making myself understood in Hindi. I'd mimic their accent as closely as I could but they'd just stare at me like I was from Mars or something.

January 10, 2007 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Mags said...

Totally jealous. There are few places where I feel completely at home, and Hawai'i is one of them.

I don't get out there as often as I'd like!

January 10, 2007 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mags: Yeah, it's a great place. I usually avoid places that are too touristy, and I don't even like tropical places anyway. But Hawai'i just has a certain magic and uniqueness.

January 10, 2007 at 7:01 PM  

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