Wherever we went, there would be someone giving us a Hang Loose/Shaka sign with there hand.
It was really nice to see and receive. It's like giving the thumbs up or waving really. Hawaiians use the shaka as a sign of friendship and solidarity.
When someone put their arm out of the car window to us using the shaka, it was kind of like, thank you for getting out of the way, or hi welcome to Hawaii.
I know it sounds silly, but you kind of felt a connection with the person for a second or two.
When I was a surfer in Australia and even when I surfed down in Cornwall England, the sign was used a lot by surfers as Hang Loose. And maybe as surfing and Hawaii go hand in hand, this is where is came from to start with, the first surfers in Hawaii, maybe!
This is one of the Filipino custom in Hawaii. If you attended parties, it is okay to bring home food. The family of the celebrant usually prepares a lot of food- usually double the attendees. This way, the attendees can bring home (take out) food!
The practice, however, is to bring home food after all the guests have eaten and there are still left over food. Make sure that when you bring home food, you gave money gift (more than what was expected) to the celebrant.
It is customary to give money in an envelope instead of gift boxes when you attend birthdays, baptismals, weddings in Hawaii. The custom and tradition are to give enough money to pay for what you had eaten! If the parties were held in the house, the average money given is $20 per person but when the parties are held in hotels, it is best to give a minimum of $50.00 You can also give $30 to pay for your food. Thus custom is to help the family of the celebrant pay for what they spent in the hotel!
The envelope is then inserted in the box made by the family of the celebrant. The box looks like a ballot box! (Smile!)
The great thing about this custom is the attendee is allowed to bring home left-over from the party.
Eighty five percent of the population of Hawaii are Filipinos. So, of course, you will find thousands of Filipinos living in all the islands of Hawaii. You can hear them speaking in Ilocano, Visayan or Tagalog.
There are many Filipino restaurants in the island but I love mostly the homecooked meals! When I go to Hawaii, I attend parties and eat all the Filipino food I want!
There are many Filipino vegetables in the islands, too- brought by the Filipinos who immigrated years ago.
There are so many flowers in Hawaii and they string them into leis and given to tourists and visitors, to friends and relatives on graduations, birthdays, weddings, retirement parties, conferences, conventions, meetings, funerals, etc.
Most of the leis are made of plumerias and orchids (pikakis). Some are made of the buds of sweet smelling Dendrobium orchids tied in Ti leaves.
There are also some Hawaiian flowers that last a long time and are sent from Hawaii to the Mainland United States for special occasions like those that are found up in the mountains of Hawaii.
These Hawaiian flowers are truly beautiful.
Spam is bizarrely popular in Hawaii... according to the Waikiki Spam Jam website it is the Spam capital of the USA. Something to do with the War and the fact that it keeps well apparently. Sadly I was not there for the Waikiki Spam Jam event.
Special occasions like birthdays, weddings, etc., the locals tend to dress up with their nice Aloha shirts and Mumu dresses with matching leis!
The leis are made of Pikaki flowers and these are very expensive. They smell so good, too!
The cheaper leis are made from plumeria.
There are many flower stores in Hawaii that sells this leis and can be shipped anywhere in the world!
The men usually wear those necklaces made of nutshells, black in color.
Leis are also worn on graduation time. They give these to the graduates as gifts. The leis are sometimes made of wrapped candies and even made for dollar bills!
Most of the locals wear slippers even when they go downtown. It is a very casual thing to do. The residents don't bother to put on their shoes. They just slip on their slippahs and off they go!
This is nice because the locals don't have to deal with the change of seasons! Most of the residents don't have foot problems either!
Most of the local women dress in Mumu - a very comfortable dress. Most of the designs of the dresses are the hibiscus flowers, palm trees, puka shells, sea turtles, etc.
The dress is long with short sleeves. It is an easy cut dress that keeps the person cool the whole day long!
Most locals speak the Pidgin English so don't be surprise to hear those while you are taking the bus. There are many cultures and ethnic groups living in Hawaii and they surely changed the English language.
Here are some of the words you might like to know:
1. Where you went? (It means where are you going?)
2. Brahdahs and sistahs -means brothers and sisters
3. Pau Hana - Finished for the day
4. Da kine - referring to something
5. tita - referring to a female sister
6. haole- Caucasian.
7. No can- unable to
8. Stink eye- Dirty eye
7. try - means Please Example: Try wait?
8. slippah - slippers
9. no moa - no more
10. Like beef? - You like to fight with me?
11. Da cute - precious. Example: Oh her child is da cute!
12. Howzit? - How are you?
(P.S. My brain froze. I will add more later!)
While walking down the Aloha Tower, a breadfruit just fell down in front of us! I was so glad the fruit didn't fall on my daughter's head. Sierra gladly picked up the fruit!
Anyway, the breadfruit tree has huge leaves and has huge fruits. The local people gather them to eat. The riped fruits get bigger. The fruit is boiled and the meat of the fruit is eaten. We dipped the boiled fruit in sugar! It is high in calories and good carbohydrates.
Relax. Slow down. Take your time. Get into local time by slowing down. Walk slower. Drive slower. This might not sound like much in the way of advise, but it's something that's hard for a lot of us mainlanders to do. In order to really see Hawaii with your eyes, ears, nose, taste and touch you have to take the time to do it.
Visit the Hawaii Shrine at to see more.
Photo by Karen Byerly.
Every syllable ends with a vowel. Every consonant is separated by a vowel.
Only 13 letters in their alphabet:
A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P, W, and ‘
That last character is considered by linguists to be a consonant in the Hawai‘ian language. It is the ‘okina and not just a punctuation mark. View all pictures for more Hawai‘ian grammar information.
The ‘okina, or glottal stop, looks like a backwards apostrophe or an open quote that separates only vowels in words like Hawai‘i or comes at the beginning in words like ‘Ohe‘o. To produce the sound represented by the ‘okina, just say the expression uh-oh in American English. It is the guttural utterance in the middle of uh-oh that you also produce for the ‘okina in Hawai‘ian.
Where there are multiple vowels together in a word and there is no ‘okina separating them, you need to remember these rising dipthongs: ei, eu, oi, ou, ai, ae, ao, and au.. And then there is the even dipthong: iu. A rising dipthong produces a single-syllable-like vowel where stress is applied on the first letter and an off-glide is applied to the second while producing a fluid pronunciation of each vowel flowing smoothly and quickly into the next. An even dipthong applies equal stress to each vowel. End result: Sounds almost like a single vowel.
Say: Hawai‘i. The W is pronounced as a V. The A+I are a rising dipthong (see above) and the I after the ‘okina produces the 'ee' sound (as in feet). Remember to emphasize the guttural sound of the ‘okina at the beginning of the last syllable. Some purists also believe the H to be silent.
What is the importance of the ‘okina? Here it is inserted correctly in two island names often mispronounced:
Lanai / Lana‘i (lah-nah-ee)
Molokai / Moloka‘i (moh-loh-kah-ee)
These pronunciations may be considerably different from what you may have become accustomed to hearing.
Spam is a very common food item in the Hawaiian diet. They consume more of it per capita than any other state in our great union. Since it is such a highly prized commodity, according to a show I saw on the Travel Channel, the State has a secret warehouse full of it to prevent any public panic in the rare event of a national shortage.
Why not try the Spam, Sam I AM? Just try it and you will see. Try the Spam, Sam I Am. You will like it. I guarantee.
I will not try it. Just let me be. I will not eat it! Can't you see?
On our first trip there in 1993, I found these little cakes of rice with a slice of meat all wrapped in nori (paper-thin dried seaweed) sitting on the counter by the register of a convenience store. When I inquired as to what they were, they said it was called musubi. I thought it was interesting when the cashier said the locals eat them all the time. It's just a simple snack made with Spam. So, while totally disgusting my wife and the other couple we traveled there with, I ate it. I actually enjoyed it very much. Every trip since then, I've eagerly sought them out.
You'll find musubi at many convenience stores on the islands. And as for Spam on a menu, it'll be there, too. Just look for it. Heck, you may even find it on some very well-to-do restaurant menus.... seriously. All I can say is to try the musubi. It will make for a good introduction. My wife finally did... and she likes them now, too.
Okay! Okay! I'll try just one. Just a tiny bite and then I'm done!
I like it! I like it! Are there anymore? I'll eat it! I'll eat it! I'll complain no more.
Return to my main Hawai`i page.
ABC stores is THE chain of convenience stores in Hawaii. They pretty much have anything you could possibly want on earth that weighs less than 10 lbs. And they are everywhere, at least in the more urban areas of the islands. If for some odd reason you can't find that special Hawaiian souvenir, of that particular kind of soda, of that brand of sun block at one ABC store, chances are there will be another one right down the street, if not right across the street. This is the place to go if you need that small certain something in a hurry. Well, or the other one 1 block over! :)
Upon arrival to the Halekulani you are greeted at the desk and assigned a staff member to tour you...more
The hotel room I had, had a balcony. When I looked to the right, I had a view to the ocean.more
2417 Prince Edward Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, United States
Good for: Business