Honolulu Part One

We had to get up at 4:45 am to make our  8 am plane, so we were bleery-eyed and tired on the flight. I only managed to write four pages of my MONK book before I gave up and read a few chapters of a Shell Scott novel. The flight was comfortable though — in fact, the coach seat on American Airlines was more comfortable, and the service was far more friendly, than First Class on Continental (but no Academy Award nominees sat next to me. There was a development exec two rows over, though, reading scripts and ignoring her crying baby).

I’ve been to Oahu dozens of times…but I’ve only stepped outside of the Honolulu airport to take the Wiki Wiki shuttle to Inter-island terminal on my way to Kauai, Maui or the Big Island. So this is my first real visit to Oahu.

On our first day, we didn’t get outside of Waikiki, where there are two ABC Markets on every block. It doesn’t matter how upscale or downscale the block is, ABC is there. And if the ABCs are spaced too far apart, there’s a Whalers Market tucked in-between for good measure. The Hawaiians or the hordes of Japanese tourists must have a pathological need for over-priced groceries (we felt like we were visiting a beachside resort in Tokyo). 

Our hotel, the Outrigger on the Beach, is nice, the room is spacious, and you can’t beat the location for walking around Waikiki. In a moment, we’re hopping in the car to head out to my signing at Barnes & Noble, some sight-seeing, and then my first library talk of the week.

More later…

5 thoughts on “Honolulu Part One”

  1. Aloha, and welcome,
    Waikiki is another world, even for those of us living here–part Tokyo, part Fifth Ave., with a hint of Venice beach. Coming from the Big Island, it always feels extremely urban and cosmopolitan.
    ABC stores are purely there for the tourists and you won’t find Hawaiians living in Waikiki–they commute in to work as service personnel.
    Important to remember not to offend anyone at your talks: Hawaiians are only ethnic Hawaiians, not residents of the state. All residents of the state of Hawaii are not Hawaiians. If fact, most aren’t.
    Locals are everyone born here except haoles. Haoles born and raised here are Kama’aina. Some think you can become kama’aina after living here many, many years, but those us of who have, know it’s not entirely true–best you can hope for is hapa (half-breed) kama’aina if there is such a thing. And Portugese are considered people of color–don’t ask–has something to do with the plantation heritage.
    Got it?
    Have fun!!!

  2. Lee, get the hell out of Waikiki as soon as possible. You’ll find better beaches, better scenery, better food and wonderful people.
    Waikiki is a tourist trap that should be avoided for everything but the lodgings. And your first stop should be Rainbow Drive-in on the very outskirts of Waikiki in Kapahulu.
    Any questions, just ask. I grew up on Oahu.

  3. Lee, you’re making me homesick for the islands! I used to live up on Waialae Nui ridge, above Kahala. I almost never ventured into Waikiki because the traffic is so awful, as you’re now finding out. My favorite beaches (if you have time to get to them) are Kailua or Waimanalo — sugary sand and shade trees.
    Waikiki’s a different world. Kinda like Vegas.


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