Monday, September 21, 2015

Hawaii - general thoughts part 2

Some more general thoughts and observations about our holiday in Hawaii.

Generally the weather was hot with maximums of more than 30 and minimum temperatures generally in the mid 20s. However it was the extremely high humidity that was the real challenge. According to the locals this was unusual weather for this time of the year and the Lonely Planet Discover Honolulu, Waikiki & O'ahu confirms this. Four cyclones had been circulating in the region for two weeks and this affected the weather. Parts of Honolulu were flooded a few days before we arrived and the park where the cricket pitch was located had been too wet to have the grass cut making it necessary to delay starting the cricket carnival. It rained most nights with one and a half inches recorded one night. There was also often rain on and off during the day. As it was so hot you usually soon dried off if caught in the rain. Walking in warm light drizzle was fine but being outside in a tropical downpour was a bit more of a challenge. During the second week the trade winds arrived and one day it was too windy to play cricket. An earthquake in Chile triggered a tsunami alert but the effects were minimal on the islands. When we couldn't play cricket we easily found something else to do. We had been told that the sunsets on the beach were worth viewing but once again the weather meant that there was little to see most nights though we did witness a pink tinge one evening.
There are lots of shops in Waikiki and surrounding areas. Many of the women in our group had a great time exploring the many shopping outlets. Most of them spent part of one day going on a shopping tour. The main street offers a variety of shopping experiences from the exclusive stores in the west of the street to less expensive shops further down on the eastern side. Shops in streets leading away from the main street also tended to have shops with less expensive prices.
Everywhere you go in Waikiki you find an ABC store. The stores have many items the same but they are also all different so it is advisable to explore several to see what is available.
Markets are another option. Duke Lane is the home of masses of market stalls stretching between two major streets. The stalls trade in the evening as well as during the day. There are many farmers' markets but the one we discovered is in the shopping arcade of the Hyatt on Kalakaua Avenue. One of the stall holders told me the market operated on Tuesday and Thursday evenings but it may be also open at other times.
Hyatt Farmers' Market
We also saw notices that the local school held a farmers' market on weekends but the morning we were going to go it poured with rain.

As pedestrians we spent much time waiting for traffic lights to provide the walk sign. At some intersections you wait until the traffic stops on both roads allowing pedestrians to cross either road while at other intersections pedestrians cross when the traffic that will cross the crossing is stopped. The go lights are not green but white and some of them provide a count down in seconds of the time left to cross the road.
There are also many pedestrian crossings where some cars stop when pedestrians are on the crossing while others take it as a challenge and speed up as they approach. Never assume that cars will stop.
The other thing we needed to get used to was to walk on the right of the path, not on the left.

Posting mail
This proved to be a challenge. I needed stamps to send postcards to our grandchildren. Postcards are readily available but finding overseas stamps is not so easy. I spent one morning walking to a post office on the far end of Kalakaua Avenue from our hotel.
We had also spent much of the previous afternoon looking for for a letter box in Kalakaua Avenue. I asked the person who served in the post office what letter boxes actually looked like and he told me where to find the one near the post office. He also told me that letter boxes were located on most street corners.
On the walk back I did locate three more letter boxes but they were near corners in the side streets, not the main street. Other people in our group had also had trouble locating overseas stamps and laces to post the post cards. I posted three batches of postcards while we were away and twelve days later we are still waiting for the first cards to arrive.

There are lots of signs in Waikiki informing people what they cannot do.
 Needless to say not all the signs are observed.

Other observations
Walking around Hawaii you cannot help but notice the number of homeless people and people begging in the streets.

There are also a great number of Japanese in Waikiki. Many of the notices, especially in shops, are in both English and Japanese. One pharmacy that I passed had only Japanese writing visible.

Gun Tourism appears to be an industry in Waikiki. Walking down the main street you come across people holding signs encouraging people to visit one of the live shooting ranges in the area. Two of the establishments are the Waikiki Gun Club and Indoor Shooting Range and the SWAT Gun Club.
The establishment in the above picture is on the main street and has pictures of firearms on the steps leading to the firing range. I found this article online which provides a description of one of the gun tourism in Hawaii.

On a less confronting note, when walking east along Kalakaua Avenue past the park we came across a group of Tudor style cottages designed in 1932 by the architect, Earl Williams.
Finally a number of the drivers and guides who showed us their island were Hawaiians and it was interesting to hear from them some of the history of Hawaii and their views of living in Hawaii as part of the the USA.

No comments:

Post a Comment