Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Arriving in Paradise on the Anniversary of Pearl Harbor
We're on a nice, long working vacay, one where we're apparently being stalked by President Obama in a few days, though he has yet to call for a tete-a-tete.
There are many things to recommend the Aloha State, but sometimes you've got to wonder if the aloha attitude is one of them. We flew in at midnight, eager to jump in our rental car and settle in. Thrilled to see there was no line at the car counter, we presented our reservation...and the easy-going clerk began his fulminations that for some reason lasted a half-hour, while he laboriously completed forms by hand. This after our arranging it all online.
That slow, methodical, take-it-easy happy lumbering shows up a lot, sometimes for the good. We arrived famished and so went to the ubiquitous ABC Store near our accommodations in Waikiki. In case you have yet to enjoy a Hawaiian vacation, anyone who's cruised Waikiki knows this chain is better called the "every 50 feet store" because that's how far between them. They're pretty much identical, with the same excellent selection of tourist souvenirs, travel necessities, and foods. Waikiki may be sunny but it's definitely not a "food desert," as every ABC store stocks fruits and veggies and peanut butter and bread along with fifty kinds of suntan lotion.
So we grabbed a few high-priced comestibles and milk, and as we're checking out, the clerk, dressed in a muu muu and looking the stereotype of the Hawaiian auntie, plumeria jauntily poked behind one ear, takes a look at my husband and then me: "She your girlfrien'?" Yeah..."Can I call you Mikey?" Yeah...funny, friendly, silly...aloha.
Casual, informal, assuming, sometimes slightly nervy...can't wait to spend some time exploring the concept. I have a friend here in Honolulu who says locals can get pretty uppity if you're not one of them. She grew up here and has to start talking pidgin to get respect sometimes. It's not polite to discuss, but she reports a strange kind of suspicion for "haoles," Caucasians, even for the kanamina, the ones who grew up here.