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Hawaii, part 2: The island

November 18th, 2011

(Part 2 of a multi-part look at the Hawaii leg of the trip. Start at the beginning.)

Hawaii itself was as beautiful as the photos have always shown it to be.

I rented a Toyota Corolla for the five days I was there, and while Lola didn’t have the refinement or power of Sam, she dutifully transported me all around the perimeter of Oahu.

I experienced the surprisingly hectic “relaxation” of Waikiki.  I lounged on deserted beaches on the windward (east) shore.  I watched surfers on the north shore.  I drank 100% Kona coffee, the water from a fresh coconut, and a mai tai with a festive pineapple slice.  I saw the decadent luxury of the rich in the south and the abject squalor of the poor squatters in the west.

Looking out to sea on the north shore of Oahu

I also picked up some Hawaiian during my stay:

  • Aloha — Traditionally, means something like “love,” but more recently has become a salutation or, to a lesser extent, a farewell.
  • Mahalo — “Thank you”
  • APEC — “Traffic jam”

The ramifications of APEC hadn’t been clear when I booked my condo in Waikiki.  It turned out that the conference was a major draw for political leaders and business executives from all around the Pacific rim.  It also brought President Obama to town.  The presence of those VIPs led to security checkpoints and slow going throughout the weekend.  It took me two and a half hours to reach my condo the first time I drove from the airport. Yuck.

I wasn’t sure what the Hawaiian word for “ice” might have been.  I wasn’t even sure if there was a Hawaiian word at all for “hockey,” but I did know that Hawaii’s single ice sheet was located in a strip mall northwest of Honolulu.  And so, I got in Lola and set out for the rink.

(to be continued)

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