The owner of this Waikiki condo was excited for me to be the first to review it after my family’s visit of several days. I didn’t have the heart to give her my honest opinion.
…she had her perspective…i had mine…
The owner of this Waikiki condo was excited for me to be the first to review it after my family’s visit of several days. I didn’t have the heart to give her my honest opinion.
…she had her perspective…i had mine…
George Zimmerman lingers front and center in our collective psyche because he claims to have killed a young man in self defense. What doesn’t sit well is that he pursued the victim under the guise of vigilante justice, even after a call to 911 advised Zimmerman to end his pursuit. So why didn’t he obey authorities?
Tomas Lopez, a lifeguard, was called into action by a witness to a man who was drowning. Without thought for where the incident was taking place, Lopez bolted to the scene and rescued the man, providing aid until the paramedics arrived. Upon returning to his station, Lopez correctly assumed that he had probably jeopardized his job by responding to gut instinct.
Lopez was fired because employer rules prohibited him from saving lives outside the area for which he was responsible. Fellow lifeguards also quit, under protest. Media attention has pressured his employer to offer Lopez his job back. It’s a no-brainer that he refused. What would he do if such an incident occurred again. Lopez would undoubtedly do the job any lifeguard is prepared to do…save lives.
Stereotypes exist of faraway places, both here and abroad. What tourists must remember is that everyday life continues behind the fantastic facades. And all that appears golden, may only be brass.
…perfection on earth…doesn’t exist…
That’s Hawaiian speak for “it’s easy,” “no worries,” “right on.” At least that’s what I’ve thought it to mean when I lived and played in the islands, decades ago. I’m sure over time it’s come to mean more things to more people. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find the following email from kamaainas (non-locals who become locals by virtue of moving to Hawaii or owning property there). I don’t know them personally, but feel I do through their intermittent communication. Hope you enjoy this mini “pigeon-english” lesson. Never know, it might come in handy on a future visit to my native island paradise.
The “shaka” sign has meant many things over the years and is a definite part of Hawaiian culture and the aloha spirit that is always present in Hawai’i. Today, it can mean many things, including “Howzit?” (How’s it going?), “No worries!”, “Thanks!” and much more. It is by far the most well-known and used gesture by Hawai’i locals and islanders, men, women, and keiki (children) alike. It’s used as a gesture of friendship, to greet, and to say goodbye. It’s how local people wave at others. Interpreted to mean “hang loose” or “right on,” the “shaka” sign is a constant reminder that in Hawaii, it is not the norm to worry or rush. “Shaka” represents the embodiment of “island style.” It signals that everything is all right.
The “shaka” sign is more than just nonverbal communication. When you use it, you acknowledge the true concept of aloha and participate in the synergistic heartbeat of Hawai’i. A guest expressed it this way: “We remember when we got our first “shaka” in Hawai’i. We were enjoying the drive on the road to Hana. We looked in the rearview mirror and noticed a pickup truck following behind us. We assumed the folks in the truck were local residents and weren’t on a sightseeing mission as we were, so at our first opportunity, we pulled over to let the truck pass by us. As the truck passed, the passenger gave us a ‘shaka’.” (By the way, local residents will always appreciate your pulling over to allow them to pass if you are driving slowly.)
To make a “shaka,” extend your thumb and pinkie while curling in the index and middle fingers. You can rotate your wrist too.
The “shaka” is a simple, yet powerful, way to remind locals and visitors of the way people look out for each other on the Islands, and strive to spread aloha day in, and day out, in keeping with the Hawaiian principle of “malama i kekahi i kekahi,”…”take care of one, take care of all.”
If you’re new to the islands, don’t be shy about throwing up “shakas.” Just make sure you’ve got the hand gesture down first!
A hui hou…
Anne & Wes
Absolutely loved this Traveler’s Tale by Jennifer Belle which appeared some time ago in the Wall Street Journal. How many new brides would go for the gusto and forge ahead with her honeymoon plans…alone? I don’t know that I’d have had the courage 40 some odd years ago. But then that was a different time, and I was an island girl. That’s my excuse for everything. Truth be told, I’m just a scaredy cat, always have been, always will be. My daughter’s a little more adventurous, in fact a lot more adventurous. She drives on freeways in any state without white-knuckled fear. Me? I’m still meandering back-roads, even in my hometown of 14 years. Now you know why this young Mrs. had me chuckling…and envious of her unbelievable hutzpah!
My Perfect Honeymoon
(That I Spent Alone)
My husband and I met at a Valentine’s party, got in an agitating fight the next day and then became inseparable–that is, until our honeymoon.
Walking out the door to go to the airport, my husband went to get his passport from his desk. It was missing. I called our housekeeper but she hadn’t seen it. We searched the apartment. I called the Terrorist Investigation Unit of the FBI to report it stolen by the carpet cleaner. “We can’t go,” my husband said.
But my passport wasn’t missing. I had wedding money and an airplane ticket. So while he stayed home and called his mother to see if she had his birth certificate and made desperate plans to join me as soon as possible, I flew to Venice.
I took a water taxi to my hotel and the driver, a gorgeous man named Davide, insisted I take command of the boat, although I explained that I was from New York and didn’t even know how to drive a car. “I teach you,” he said and sort of slapped my butt and also touched my stomach while shifting gears. He gave me his number on a scrap of paper.
“I’m married,” I said for the first time. “I’m on my honeymoon.” He thought this was very charming and American and pretended to look overboard in the murky brown water for a groom. “Call me,” he said.
At the Hotel La Fenice et des Artistes, beside the burned-down opera house, I checked into the honeymoon suite. I had cannelloni and bellinis at Harry’s Bar on Calle Vallaresso, and stopped to listen to, of all things, Hava Nagila, played by a band in San Marco. The next day I bought five hand-tooled leather journals from a bookbinder named Ustino and began writing in one of them at Locanda Cipriani, a restaurant in a quince orchard on a tiny island called Torcello. I ordered cannelloni again and wrote, “I’m eating cannelloni all aloni.” I wandered that night over bridges and bought a silk jacket with rats painted on it for $500.
The next day I got my period on the island of Burano and found one drugstore among all the lace shops. There was so much lace everywhere, when I opened the new box of Tampax, I was surprised they weren’t lace too. I had dinner that night at Vino Vino on Calle de la Rotonda where you order from three dishes at the counter. It would have been perfect except for the waitress ignoring me during my lemon cake–and oh yeah, I remembered, my husband not being there.
Waiting for him, I took gondola rides and drank wine with beautiful men. I soaked my feet in the bidet, listening on the phone to my husband complain about how he’d taken Metro-North to the county clerk’s office in White Plains to get his birth certificate. I went to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Accademia, lounged on my king-sized bed, got chocolate on my trousseau. “Your honeymoon, she is ruined!” the hotel clerk fretted. But she was perfect.
Honeymooning alone, I discovered what it was to be married. I experienced it more fully, had a chance to get used to it. Without him there to interfere, I could be my most romantic. We were star-crossed; he was struggling to get to me. Every bride should be alone after the stress of a wedding. I felt sorry for anyone with a groom to deal with. “Husband is my favorite word,” I wrote in my hand-bound diary. Believe me–I have never written anything like that since.
When we got home our housekeeper brought me the slim Citibank check box from the desk and opened it proudly to reveal the safe place she’d hidden my husband’s passport. I’d moved that box a hundred times during my search, but hadn’t thought to look inside.
The scrap of paper with Davide’s phone number on it is still on my refrigerator. In case I ever want a second honeymoon.
(Ms. Belle’s novels include “High Maintenance” and “The Seven Year Bitch.” She remains happily married.)
my kind of woman…for sure…hugmamma. 😉
this is the real deal…………………………………………………not an optical illusion
have faith, i tell you…..have faith!………………………………………….hugmamma.
This young man is nobody’s fool, that’s for sure. He does love clowning around however.
meanwhile, he’s got the heart… of a prince charming………………hugmamma.
Sometime in the 80’s my husband and I toured Paris. It amazes me to think back to how I called long distance, 2 or 3 times, and spoke with the hotel clerk, reserving a room for a couple of nights. There was no Expedia or Travelocity to compare rates and accomodation details, or even Trip Advisor to guide me through the myriad of pros and cons about an establishment. Chock it up to youth. I didn’t know better, so I plunged ahead, uncaring if the woman at the other end of the phone was rolling her eyes at my obvious lack of sophistication or inability to speak French.
Thank goodness the next time we venture back to the City of Light, the internet will pave the way. This time there’ll be 3 adults whose needs will have to be met, including one 25-year-old who’ll want to do as Cyndi Lauper wails in her song,”Girls just want to have fu-un!”
I’ll have to enlist my French blogging buddy, My English Thoughts, for some help there. Maybe she’ll drag my daughter along to some of Paris’ hot spots, after her elderly parents totter off to bed long before midnight.
I’m hoping when our family does make it back to France’s capital of haute couture and irrepressible charm, the Parisians will be as amenable to us as they were to the author of the following article. I’ve come to love Joe Queenan‘s irreverent sense of humor, which always seems to be “on point.” He publicly admits to things about which most of us probably “bite our tongues.” I guess he’s allowed to get away with it since he writes a column for the formidable Wall Street Journal.
Needless to say when I was in Paris decades ago, the French were as reserved as I’d heard they would be. They weren’t rude, but they weren’t falling all over themselves to be nice either. Being raised to be invisible, an Asian thing, my husband and I had no trouble blending into the background wherever we went . So we were most accommodating of the Parisians then-disdain for American tourists. Hopefully this time my old-age crankiness won’t get me, and the locals, into a battle of the wills, the ill-wills, that is. They’ll have no issues with my always-calm spouse and sweet-tempered off-spring. I’m both, unless I see an injustice about to happen. Then…get out of my way! This 5’2 senior will make you rue the day God gave you 2 ears to hear what spews forth like venom from a cobra!
Okay, well…now according to Queenan, I’ll have no need for any of that. I’ll just have a wonderful, heady touristy time in “gay Paree!”
French Twist: Meet Monsieur Nice Guy
If you’re a seasoned inhospitality buff like me, the very worst has happened: The French have stopped being mean and surly.
I started to notice this two years ago when I spent two weeks in Paris, and an equally unexpected aura of congeniality was certainly evident when I visited southern France last fall. But now the restraining walls of condescension and nastiness have utterly collapsed and a wave of warmth and courtesy have flooded in. Sacre bleu.
During my four-day stay in Paris last month, waiters, concierges, museum guards and even cabdrivers all treated me with jaw-dropping affability. The ticket-taker at the Pantheon did not scream at me when I asked where Emile Zola was buried. The woman in the chocolate shop did not sneer when I asked for directions to the Rue Mouffetard (it was directly around the corner.)
The garcon in the posh restaurant did not treat me like the prototypical Ugly American when I asked what a “cocotte” was. The clerk at my two-star hotel asked if I would like to use her computer to print out my boarding pass, and went out of her way to get the broken elevator fixed so that I wouldn’t have to climb three flights of stairs on my gimpy legs.
Wherever I went–the Louvre and Orangerie, the Comedie Francaise, Honore de Balzac’s house, even the Eiffel Tower–everyone went our of their way to be charming and helpful. For a minute there I thought I was at Epcot.
What happened? What triggered this explosion of courtesy and warmth? Well, for starters, the recession, which would motivate even the most chauvinistic French to tone it down a notch when dealing with tourists. But France has had recessions before, and that never took the edge off those legendary brusque, haughty people.
No, my suspicion is that much of the coarseness and incivility toward foreigners–and particularly toward Americans–stemmed from embarrassment about having collaborated with the Nazis. Anti-americanism was practically an official state policy under Charles de Gaulle, but now the war is no longer an issue. Most of the World War II generation has died out and been replaced by young people who do not have a chip on their shoulder.
Friendly young people. Helpful young people. I know this will come as a shock to those who have not visited France for a while, but the French are now friendlier than the Italians, than the Irish, than the girls who greet you at Hooters. This unanticipated onslaught of goodwill totally floored me.
As a globe-trotting malingerer, I have always enjoyed returning from a jaunt abroad with fresh support for popular American stereotypes about foreigners. Yes, Belgium really is boring. Yes, the Swedes really are laconic. Yes, the Scots really do like a dram or two.
But now these stereotypes are collapsing like wisps of straw. Though most Americans still associate England with bad food–fish and chips, bangers and mash–the truth is that dining out in London is now an absolute joy, with top-flight restaurants everywhere. You can get a good meal even in the provinces, which was certainly not the case before Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair dragged the U.K. into the modern world. So there goes another beloved, hoary stereotype.
As a world-class spoilsport and curmudgeon, I now have less and less anecdotal material to fall back on when I want to blast another society. Luckily, when last I checked, the Germans were still arrogant, the Italians were still incompetent, and the Canadians were still reliably unexciting.
Still, if I go to Berlin this fall and find out that the Germans are no longer bossy and overbearing, I’m going to throw in the towel and turn into an American who doesn’t overeat, overspend or take the first five minutes of every conversation trying to figure out how much everybody else in the room paid for their house. I’m warning you frogs, you Teutons, you Russkies: Two can play this game.
the guy makes me laugh…even though much of what he says is not meant to be funny…hugmamma.
rather be looking down from my lofty perch, than sitting in a tiny boat on the vast expanse of open ocean …………………………………………..hugmamma.
Happily, My English Thoughts is back blogging. As I mentioned, she’s a busy young woman doing what she should be doing…living, making memories about which to write when she’s my age. I’m taking my own advice, to be sure, just at a whole different level of energy. But I’m delighted to bring you her answers to the questions that remained of our interview. I’m certain you’ll still find her captivating, a native of France, blogging in English.
What do you like to do to relax, or have fun?
That’s a good question actually, I love to listen music and going to some concert but since I’m working in a concert hall, I do listen a lot of music !One thing that I really like is watching TV Show ! I’m kind of addicted to TV Show ! My favourite ones are Criminal Minds, Lie To Me, Grey’s Anatomy, House Md and How I Met Your Mother. I do always watch them in Original version of course ! I think this is such a shame to watch them in French because we miss something, the voice is not same but mainly we’re loosing the accents, the expressions and translations are sometimes different too !
I love to go to the cinema with my friends or even alone ! I’ve been working in this industry as Assistant Camera / focus puller for almost 7 years, so watching a movie in a cinema is for me the best way to really enjoy them, best sound, best image on a big screen…
And of course, I do love to see my friends, having a coffee with them, talking about everything or even nothing, just sharing a good moment with them or if not, at least to can help them if they need to !
I like blogging too but I think there is a good balance to get between my real life and virtual one (blogging world). I need both of it of course but there is some time I will have more need to see my friends than blogging and vice versa ! 🙂
What are your favourite childhood memories?
When I was a child my parents had a sailboat, a small one but it was still great ! I loved when we used to sail in la mer méditerranée and to drop anchor along the smalls rocky beaches ! That was so fun to plunge head first into the sea from the boat ! I could dive and to watch the fish. I loved chase them !! Of course they were always winning !! ( they still are 😉 )
I loved too when we went to the Alps ! During the summer, we used to go in the Alps for hiking. I loved to breath this particular mountain fresh air, watching ground dog and other animals. We set up a big tents and enjoying to hiking during the day. I would love to go to hike now, but most of my friend are not like it… and it’s really not safe to go hiking alone…
What’s one thing you wish you could do if it were possible?
That’s a tough question ! There is so many things that I wish I could do but mostly I can do it… it’s more a question about money or time ! Like travelling all around the world… I need time and money to do that ! 🙂
I use to write down a to do list and as soon as I can, to realise one of this wish on my list ! Sometimes I write down little things like visiting Eiffel Tower, but it also can be about travelling / cooking / try a new sport…. So I think I do not have one thing that I wish to do but so many !…
Thank you so much for this interview !! I really enjoyed it. I’m checking your blog as much as I can ! 🙂 I love to keep in touch with you, this is one of the thing that I like about blogging, to could “meet” people like you all over the world !
Take care 🙂
…thank you very much…hugmamma.
Had a great “date day” with my hubby. After a 20-25 minute drive to a massage appointment that turned out not to be until next weekend, we headed into Seattle.
Recent events of the last several weeks had me rescheduling appointments. Unfortunately I didn’t make the changes where they counted, on my calendar. Seniors know we have to write everything down. I forgot to do that, so we were surprised when a note on my massage therapist’s door said “Closed. Returning at 1 p.m.” Like a scrabble game, my brain started rearranging my thoughts and came up with “OMG! What date is this?” After being told, by my husband, that it was March 5th, we burst into laughter at my senior moment. “Oh well,” I said, “the ride through the countryside was beautiful. Now we’ll be able to enjoy the urban jungle of the city.” And off we went.
The primary purpose of our trip was to see about getting tickets for the musical, “Billy Elliott.” Online tickets were pricey, and the available seats didn’t look good. As always the “doubting Thomas,” I wanted to stand at the box-office window, ask the person sitting there for the prices, and look at the seating chart. I also wanted to query her as to her thoughts about the location of the seats. Which seats are better, these or those? I prefer the human touch, over the computer “clicks.” Call me old-fashioned, or old-school, or just old. It’s a generational thing, whatever you call it.
After finding out that the box-office was only open Mondays through Fridays, we cheerily wandered down the street toward Pike Place Market. My hubby will return and check out the ticket situation. If we see “Billy Elliott,” fine. If not, the movie version of several years ago suffices.
As we wandered down sidewalks overflowing with Saturday shoppers, I decided to capture images with my camera. I was fascinated with shops along the way. At Barney’s New York, I stopped to take photos of words boldly written across their over-sized windows. They spoke of backstage happenings. Of course I was captivated.
My daughter’s often spoken of things that occur behind the scenes at ballet performances. One particular incident involved a fellow, male dancer carrying her from the stage “wings” where she was crouching in pain, backstage to the physical therapist’s station, where the “charley-horse” in her calve muscle could be checked out. This prevented my daughter from dancing in the finale. With the help of female dancers gathered around, her costume was quickly removed, and her understudy was just as quickly shoved into it. And as the saying goes, it was “on with the show.”
The sun’s warmth felt glorious! My husband kept up with me as I wend my way in and out of the crowd, stopping to snap pictures of Macy’s windows with mannequins in funky
Everything looks delicious when I don’t have to dodge raindrops. I lingered everywhere, on curbsides, in the cozy courtyard of a small hotel near Pike Place Market, and then, of course, the market itself.
People were everywhere, soaking up the unique sights, smells and sounds of food booths, craft booths, flower booths, produce stalls, fish stalls. My absolute favorite is the vendor who sells fresh-roasted nuts. I never leave without a pound of her cashew nuts. Today, I also purchased a pound of toffee-covered nuts for my husband’s “sweet-sour tooth,” a mixture of peanuts and hazelnuts. These nuts are never a disappointment! And I’m a nut aficionado. I love cashew chicken, goobers, “turtles,” chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, almond rocha, almond joy, and on and on.
Making our way back from where we came, the downtown area, I turned my camera on passersby. People fascinate me, all kinds. I wanted to capture Seattlites, although I’m sure they weren’t all city-dwellers. Nonetheless, when I asked if I could photograph them, I said it was to let readers of my blog see the people of Seattle. All but one responded with smiles and nods of agreement.
I’m sure I startled those on the other side of window fronts, a chef preparing ingredients, a couple of guys eating lunch, and a Sephora makeup artist doing her thing. Caught up in playing amateur photographer, I approached a mother and daughter, a woman waiting outside a shop with her luggage, sales people in the coolest, new clothing store, “All Saints…,” and a street musician.
I was delighted to buy the street newspaper, “Real Change,” from an amiable homeless man. But another homeless person, an elderly woman, stopped me dead in my tracks. I’d never seen a woman who looked like a school teacher, or a librarian, or an office worker, leaning up against a lamp-post, plastic bags gathered around, dressed in an oversized, yellow, rubber raincoat with a long, green scarf snuggly wrapped about her head, cup in hand, begging. Wanting to “tell” her story, I asked if I could take a picture of her. Eyeglasses cast a shadow, while a small smile softened the blow of her emphatic “no,” in response. As we stood, a guy who looked to be in his late 20s, early 30s, pressed a plastic bag containing a boxed lunch into the woman’s grateful hands. He was on his way, before she fully mouthed her words of thanks. Oblivious to my presence, she hungrily removed the bag’s contents, murmuring how she really needed the food. As I pressed a $5 bill into her free hand, her eyes widened in disbelief. I can only imagine that she felt today was a good day. But as I walked away, I wondered about her tomorrows.
My husband said it best when he declared of me…”You dance to the beat of a different drummer.”
he’s right…i come up with my own “choreography”…hugmamma.