Sunday, 7 October 2012

Bye Hawaii

I spent today learning more about the Hawaiian culture and history.
Most of it I undertook by simply sitting on a wee trolley bus and getting taken around while listening to the driver. Strange men these drivers; I have now been on 3 trolleys and the drivers all have this cackle of a laugh, aren’t madly keen on most other road users, love to talk to folk that they know on the pavement while driving or I should say stop to do so.  Generally I think it’s a prerequisite that you should be at least one sandwich short of a picnic to work on the trolleys.
Anyway back to culture and history: the Hawaiian language has only 12 consonants and 5 vowels.  This means that almost every word in the Hawaiian language will have two or more vowels together sometimes 3 e.g. Lili’uokalani.  It takes a wee while to work out how to say many  of the names.
Another thing that I didn’t know was the strong connections between the British and Hawaiian royalty up until the 1950s. Before Hawaii became an American state the folk here actually voted whether to join the USA or become a protectorate of the UK. Obviously the US won but the Hawaiian state flag has the Union Jack incorporated into it and the Hawaiians are very proud of their connections with the UK.  The last ruler of Hawaii was Queen Lili’uokalani, who was deposed by a dastardly act by US merchants living in Hawaii in 1895.  
The USA has still not been totally forgiven for this.  Even then it was recognised as an act of war by many nations.  They haven’t learned much in the intervening years.  Very near by to Queen Lili’uokalani’s house and the State capital is the first missionaries’ house.  It was shipped here from New England and assembled on site.  Living in the heat of these islands in a house with no air conditioning and such small windows must have ben torture.  There isn’t any way that a breeze could blow through the house.
After visiting this area I went down to the harbour and was very surprised to see a Clyde built sailing ship anchored there.  The Falls of Clyde has been here for a number of years and a group have been working hard to maintain her.  The Aloha area is more or less called after Queen Victoria’s children except for the tower that I climbed.

View over harbour from Aloha tower
I managed to catch the sunset at the Banyan Tree bar on the beach in front of one of the hotels in Waikiki and the was treated to  a hula show.

Tomorrow I leave for San Francisco.  I’ve enjoyed my visit here although all I have really only seen Honolulu, which is a very built up commercialised area.  I believe that the rest of Oahu is countryside and beach.  I had hoped to go to the big island to see the volcanoes today.  I would have had to get up at 5am and wouldn’t have been back until 10pm, which I did think of but a weather system came in early on Friday morning whipping up the volcano dust and causing what they call”vog”.  It’s fog with lots of fine volcano particles in it and it is very harmful to those with allergies or asthma.  Warnings about it are all over the place so I thought “maybe not”.  
It is worth visiting here but it’s not at the top of my list for a return.

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