Should male and female authors be segregated?

In the tiny little town on Hanapepe on the island of Kaua’i we came across this great used bookstore. Easily the best used bookstore I have ever come across in Hawai’i.  When I lived in Honolulu in the 1990s there were only two used bookstores that I knew of, and both of them were really disappointing. I was so excited to see this on Kaua’i that opened about seven years ago.

I noticed the shop had some really nice bookshelves that looked awfully familar. Proof that the book world didn’t necessarily come to and end when Borders closed. Not only did they get good shelves for cheap, but one of the owners told me that local customers who had never been in before finally checked out his store when Borders closed.

The store had good stock and had tons of great fiction that would have been great for my vacation reading. But since I already have five books with me and the luggage was too heavy already. But I did buy a very cute little edition of Cranford.

One odd thing about the store is that they separate fiction by the sex of the author. So all the male authors are alphabetical in one section, and all the female authors are alphabetical in another section. The owner told me it helped people locate books when they couldn’t remember titles or author’s names. He said they almost always remember the sex of the author, so splitting it up by sex improved the odds of finding the titleless, authorless book the customer was looking for. I’m not sure I buy it. But overall this store is gem. It would be fun on the mainland where there were other bookstore choices, being alone on Kaua’i, the western most bookstore in the United States, it is like an oasis in the desert.

Oh, and by the way, the name “Talk Story” refers to a pidgin phrase that essentially means to tell stories, or even just chat. The Hawaiian equivalent of chewing the fat, or having a chin wag. As in “Auntie came over and all we did was talk story…”

I love the way the letters are on the laundry. Especially the ‘S’

Getting up early can be fun

If you ever go to Kalalau lookout get up there by 8:30 in the morning. You will pretty much have the place to yourself. Just make sure you dress warmly. The cloud cover can be dodgy. I had been there three times previously and it was usually on the cloudy side and once almost totally socked in. But this time it was bright and blue.  Again the sun angles weren’t doing us any favors with the pictures, but it was really wonderful to be up there.

This is the widest valley along the Na Pali coast which we saw
from the water side on our first day.

This hibiscus was actually down on the coast near the Russian fort,
but it was such a cool picture I couldn’t help including it.

The Na Pali Coast and the island of Ni’ihau

On our first full day on Kaua’i we got up at the ungodly hour of 5:00 AM so we could check in for our catamaran cruise along the Na Pali coast of Kaua’i and a snorkel stop just off the forbidden island of Ni’ihau. The Na Pali coast was astoundingly beautiful but because the sun was coming up over the mountains the photos are kind of backlit and don’t really tell the whole story.

The island of Ni’ihau (below) is called the forbidden island because it has been privately owned since the 1850s and is not open to the general public. We tried to book a helicopter tour that would take you over and put down on one of the beaches, but they didn’t have enough people going on the days we wanted to go, so we took this Na Pali cruise that goes over to Ni’ihau for a little snorkelling off the coast.  The owners of the island, a Scots/Kiwi family were (are?) strict Calvinists and required that those natives living on the island convert and follow Calvinist precepts. I think they are looking to sell. I wonder if the Calvinists convey with the deed?

Stuff you can see on Kaua’i

The island of O’ahu (where Honolulu is) has about 905,000 residents. The island of Kaua’i which is about the same size as O’ahu only has 64,000 residents. You can imagine how different the two islands are compared to each other. Known as the garden isle, Kaua’i is lush and green, and, as you will see in the coming days, has quite a bit of geographic diversity.

Strolling Down Memory Lane in Honolulu

When I moved to DC the first time I was in my early 20s, had a degree in History and no real idea what I wanted to do with my life. I eventually decided that a graduate degree in Historic Preservation was what I wanted. Historic Preservation is an academic field that rarely stands alone–at least that was the case in 1994–some programs are in planning departments, some in architecture, some in history, econmics, geography, and American Studies. For reasons which are no longer clear to me, I decided I wanted an HP program within an American Studies department. Even more confusing to me now is why I chose to apply to the programs I did. I can, however, honestly say that I applied to the University of Hawai’i at Manoa based on what the HP program offered. I was not one of those people who fantasized about living in Hawai’i or other sunny clime so it wasn’t the allure of the islands that prompted me to move, sight unseen, to the remotest populated islands in the world.

Being someone who has a healthy appreciation for a cloudy day, cool weather, and seasons, it isn’t surprising that I found myself frustrated from time to time with life in Hawai’i. Being so far from all my friends and family and missing my East Coast lifestyle I never considered staying longer than the two years it took to get my degree. I also realized halfway through my American Studies degree that I really should have been getting a degree in planning (which I did about six years later at Cornell).

Depsite my many frustrations with living in Hawai’i (and all the twentysomething angst I experienced while I lived there) there is something wonderful about it that has stuck with me over the past 15 years. The thing I remember most fondly are the trade winds that are almost always blowing across the islands. They make for the most amazing evening breezes that give me such a groove I can’t really explain it.

Much of the built environment in Honolulu is actually quite ugly, lots of cinder block buildings and a hodge podge of ramshackle old cottages and not very attractive high rises all mixed together. Yet I look at that urban landscape now and I find myself really loving it. I think it has to do with the layers of history that haven’t been wiped away like they have in most other U.S. cities.

The food is interesting and diverse, and although it can feel isolated and provincial (sometimes very provincial) there really can be a wonderful sense of Aloha.  I hoped on this trip that John would see Honolulu through my slightly rose-colored glasses. In the past he has liked other, more picture-postcard parts of Hawai’i, but I wanted him to like Honolulu and the rest of O’ahu. Thankfully he did.

Day Two
We started the day early by heading off to Leonard’s to get the best damn malasadas in the world. A malasada is a Portuguese raised sugar donut with no hole and they are so, so, so delicious. They are slightly eggier and chewier than a typical raised sugar donut. They are pretty much made to order and most people like them when they are still warm, but I must say I like them on the cool side. John disagrees with me on this but that was okay because it meant that I got to finish them off later in the day without having to share. It also meant that we went back on Day Three for more.

I wish I had one (or six) of these right now.

From Leonard’s we drove through the University then deeper into the Manoa Valley to see Lyon Arboretum. I had a roommate when I lived in Honolulu who was always going there but I never went once in two years, my only interest then was the beach. But since John is a gardener I figured we should give it a go. We were really lucky because the Monoa Valley gets lots of rain (hence the lush plants) but it was perfectly sunny while were there.

After the arboretum we went downtown to have lunch with two of my former colleagues. Downtown Honolulu is not Waikiki, they are actually a mile or two apart. The former is workaday Honolulu and the latter is where a whole lot of tourists spend all of their time. Honolulu has the oldest Chinatown in the U.S. and has lots of great hole-in-the-wall Asian restaurants.

That is me with the bad posture.

Vietnamese Pho. Or what’s left of it.

Live abalone.

And finally, after our trip downtown we stopped off at Ala Moana Beach Park which is kind of halfway between downtown and Waikiki–and across the street from a huge shopping mall.

Would you believe there is a Neiman Marcus about 200 yards from this?

While all the tourists hang out on the crowded beaches of Waikiki there is all of this beach at Ala Moana.
Granted, Ala Moana has a reef that keeps the beach from getting any waves and keeps the water shallow,
but it is still a great place to plop on the sand and splash around in the water.
The buildings in the midground are in Waikiki with Diamond Head in the background.

Do you want to see 1,212 pictures of Hawai’i?

Probably not, but that is how many pictures we (well, John) took while we were in Hawai’i for 8 days. You can imagine that a pretty smallish precentage of those are keepers. Often when we I get around to posting vacation pictures I get a little overwhelmed by the vast quantity of photos to choose from. So much so that I usually end up dumping lots of pictures without much in the way of explanation. But this time I really want to slow myself down so I can take some time to write about our experience in Hawai’i. As I have mentioned before, the first of my Master’s degrees (American Studies/Historic Preservation) is from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. And because I lived in Honolulu from August 1995 to September 1997 I have a certain affinity for the place that visitors may not appreciate. I know that that is the case with John. This was our first trip to Hawai’i together, but he has been there about six other times, once on O’ahu (Honolulu) and the other trips on Maui, Lana’i, and the Big Island of Hawai’i. For many who visit O’ahu they see the crazy hustle bustle of Waikiki and all the traffic on the island and don’t appreciate all there is to see on the island.

Knowing that John was less than excited to spend four of our eight days in Hawai’i on the island of O’ahu I told him ahead of time to think of it not as going to Hawai’i, but rather as going to see my old stomping grounds. Somewhere I spent two years of my life. And it worked. Thankfully the stars aligned and I was able to show him the full beauty and variety of O’ahu and we had a wonderful time there. (We also had a great time on Kaua’i which was a new island for him, but that is another story.)

Day One
On our first full day on O’ahu we had a very full schedule. We started with a morning drive across the pali (cliff) on the old Pali Highway stopping at the Pali Lookout on the way to the windward side of the island.

Our first stop was Lanikai, my favorite beach on O’ahu. We didn’t stay too long but we did come back later in the week (will have more pictures later). One of the great things about Hawai’i is that there is no such thing as a private beach. Every inch of shore line in Hawai’i is public up to the high tide mark and regular public access to the beach is required in even the toniest of neighborhoods.

Then we headed past Kailua and Kaneohe on our way to the North Shore.

The Byodo-in Temple built in 1968 using no nails.
A lovely place nestled up against the pali.

Leaf graffiti at the temple.

Chinaman’s Hat seen through the trees.

A fruit stand near Kuhuku.

The legendary Sunset Beach on the North Shore which has winter swells that keep all but the most experienced surfers out of the water. Otherwise broken bones and death await the idiots.

Surf was definitely up that day.

Waiting for a lull to paddle out to the distant surf.

Surfer, Ron Paul…it must have to do with pot laws.

This gives some idea of how inviting the water looked that day.
Doesn’t the color of that water remind you of a wonderful, giant jacuzzi?

Double click on this one to make it bigger. Those are two young boys
and their boogie boards being launched in the air.
If the angry surf doesn’t keep you from going in the red flag should.

And then back to Waikiki for drinks and pupus.

The evening view from our hotel room lanai.

Also the view from our hotel room. Waikiki is a very dense, urban place.
Definitely hard to find peace and quiet, but it has other charms.

I was going to say this was our first sunset from our hotel room, but it was actually our second.