Ohana o Kohala

Posted: April 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

Somehow they have managed to make Waikiki feel like it’s somewhere other than Hawaii. Listening to Ho’aikane in my room after going for a swim and strolling around the strip, the music actually sounds as foreign here as it does halfway around the world. Locals are understandably scarce in this den of tourism; the Denny’s lobby is packed with overweight and pasty elderly midwesterners, Japanese tourists flock to designated landmarks like starlings wheeling in unison after bowls of udon, and everything has an air of commercial opportunity. Hawaii is still there, but pushed to the margins. It’s supremely strange coming here from North Kohala, and I’m glad I’m only staying briefly.

My past two trips home have been pretty successful, and towards the end of this trip I finally figured out the two main reasons why. First, I’ve worked out what’s important and most enjoyable to me in Hawaii, which has finally taken away that old edge of bored isolation that overpowered so much of growing up here. Unfortunately it often takes leaving a place to understand what you enjoyed about it and, worse yet, what opportunities you never took, something I try now to remember wherever I am while I’m still there.

The second key has been renting my own car.

Actually, I take it back, there’s three reasons. The third being that, despite how much I enjoy the variety and opportunities that large cities offer, they still feel like a vice of humanity, constricting me in the name of shielding me from the unknown. With every jump from the crumbling pier at Mahukona, every hike to freshwater pool in a remote gully or high overlook, every stretch of road with the cruise control on and my arm hanging lazily out the window, it reminds me that the city is not my natural habitat. Hawaii reminds me what I’m made of (especially the part that’s 65% water).

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks! It doesn’t get much attention these days, from me or anyone else, but I enjoy it.

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