tripatlas.com/new proudly features Cloudia Charters’ unique “Walking in Waikiki” column from a column from Waikiki News that takes you through the streets of Waikiki and paints a picture of what’s up-and-coming the neighbourhood of Honolulu in Oahu, Hawaii. Read past Walking in Waikiki Articles on tripatlas.com/new.
I love little Young Street in Waikiki’s neighboring Makiki district. A one-time ‘carriage lane’ it is the quiet back street between urgent King Street and stately, rushed Beretania. Here, away from the main-stream are small, long-time businesses, the back side of office buildings, garages, small apartment buildings, and the occasional tiny, perfect Hawaii bungalow with mynah birds and doves singing in a front yard plumeria tree. On Young street you can hear your thoughts.
Young Barry (Barack) Obama, whose childhood apartment is adjacent to Young street, must have walked the lane many times to collect his thoughts while growing up. And there he was again, during his most recent visit with the ailing Tutu (grandmother) he so often speaks of. No Michelle, no Sasha & Malia giggling this time; just a guy coming home, perhaps for the last time, to the rooms he grew up in, and the accomplished woman from Kansas who, he says, made him what he is today.
One afternoon, the presidential candidate strolled down Young Street with the Secret Service at a respectable distance. The young guy with the basketball is now a family man with much more important contests to win, but the passing of an age, of those we love, puts things into perspective doesn’t it? He must have been enjoying the perspective of Young Street till the cameras found him. Pensively he rejoined the caravan. It’s a shame that his privacy was broached, but I am grateful for the few moments’ tape of him walking alone. A local guy walking down the back street, with miles yet to go. . .
And speaking of local pride! My childhood Phillies have won the World Series with the help of local hero, Maui Boy, the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” Shane Victorino! In his ballpark locker, Shane has a news article headlined: “Hawaii Wins Little League World Series 08.” Our keiki (kids) inspire us, and now the Big League Bruddah is returning the favor.
These tiny specks of island also produced the Beijing Olympics’ “greatest athlete,” decathlon gold medallist, Bryan Clay, soccer golden girl Natasha Kai (I know I’m forgetting others!) plus NFL players like kicker Jason Elam, and Washington quarterback Colt Brennan of last season’s WAC champion, yep, UH . . . (and let’s not forget Jack Johnson)
But enough boasting! The Hilton’s Luau on the Lagoon looks to be getting very popular. You can now save yourself a bus ride far out of Waikiki (though Paradise Cove is a great place) while still enjoying torches, hula, games, and too much good food in a lovely setting . . . Jimmy Buffet is opening a huge-mungous restaurant at the Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel early next year. Don Ho’s old showroom was right there, so the atmosphere and acoustics should be right for a little pickin’ & singin’ eh Mr. Margaritaville?
Swanning about: Four black swans mysteriously appeared recently at Ala Moana Beach Park. Sunday park goers were astonished at the sight; old-timers (and we get some OOOOLD-timahs) had never seen the like. Stately, poised and grand, the red-billed beauties glided in formation while swimmers kept a respectful distance. They seemed calm and tolerant of humans – though no one knows WHERE they came from! All the nearby Hilton’s wildlife was accounted for. (I mean, hey, would YOU leave free lifetime digs at a destination resort?) And then, as mysteriously as they had appeared . . . they were . . .gone. . .
Mauna Kea, the Big Island’s ‘white mountain’ is once again tipped with snow. The far off white peak, set against a blue tropic sky and wreathed in green swaying palms is one of the eternal images of Hawaii. Where else can you sled in the morning, ride a fine horse over the high, open range of cowboy Waimea in the afternoon, and surf Kohala’s gold-coast at Pau Hana (happy hour!) time?
Watching Oscar winner Chloris Leachman gamely dancing on TV got me thinking. It was sort of jarring to see a mature woman being thrown around like that. I started musing about all the times I have seen very old, or very heavy women (and men!) dance hula in public. They moved gracefully (or funny – Uncle!) and have never looked anything less than dignified and beautiful. Sorry for the clichés, but they fit this time. Our mature adults are graceful. They don’t try to copy the moves of the young. They express their Aloha, and have learned the timeless choreography that hula shares with nature: swaying, reaching, and embracing. In Hawaii, everyone is beautiful; and it has zero to do with make-up, a perfect outfit, or conventional “beauty.” Our tropic sun melts all pretension. Here, your posture, grooming, Aloha, and facial expression are your essential wardrobe. So come over sometime, and watch Tutu dance. . .
Diamond Head summit, that famous and rewarding hike, will be closed until November 20th. I really should make it up there someday, but it’s been a busy 20 years in Waikiki! Don’t worry: I’ll remember da camera 😉 . . . analog TV will be switched ‘off’ a bit early in the Islands (January 15th) out of respect for the `Ua`u bird (Hawaiian Petrel) which breeds up on the mountain tops in February, and might be disturbed by the dismantling of analog power equipment in those wild places.
Good News: a new study has determined that our “deep seven” bottomfish species (Ehu, Gindai, Hapu`upu`u, Kalekale, Lehi, Onaga, and famous Opakapaka) remain more plentiful than previously feared! This means bigger limits for fishermen when the season opens November 15th. The fishery was “closed” last April when the standing ‘catch limit’ was met . . .
In 1904 an abandoned Hale Pili (grass shack) from Kauai was shipped to Oahu. The popular Bishop Museum exhibit is being refurbished with now-rare Island Naio, Kauila, Uhiuhi, and Lama woods. So if you ‘wanna go back to a little grass shack’ pay a visit to the museum, which is a world center of Polynesian Studies and a fun place to spend an afternoon.
Shout out: Big mahalos to Kaye-Lani and Mr. Wing Chan at Hawaiian Telcom who efficiently swapped my dead computer modem for a lively one with professionalism and aloha. Thanks folks, you made it almost fun! Winter Tip: If you suffer from dry skin, or even a skin condition, do as the Hawaiians have long done: try soothing Kukui oil! www.oilsofaloha.com. . .
The other day I was putting coins in the meter at Kapiolani Park when a car pulled up in the adjacent spot. As the driver approached, digging in his pockets, I put a nickel in his meter and smiled. He looked pleasantly surprised and thanked me simply as I walked away. The best investment I’ve made in a while! There’s little market risk in paying it forward . . . when you’re walking in Waikiki . . .ALOHA!
Photo courtesy of Ted Trimmer.
This article was originally published October 31, 2008 in Waikiki News and was reproduced with permission.
Want to enjoy more Waikiki “street” life with Cloudia? Check out her Hawaii “Taxi Cab” Novel: “Aloha Where You Like Go?” at Amazon.com or local bookstores.