Playing Tourist

I hope everyone had a fun three day weekend. I know mine went way too fast, but then again, I’m not surprised. We were very busy, with family in town and all. Top that with normal weekend chores and you got a doozy of a weekend! ^_^

We got to play tourist on Monday, taking a jaunt up to the Polynesian Cultural Center on the North Shore. PCC was founded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1960’s, and is employer to hundreds of students from the neighboring Brigham Young University of Hawaii. The last time I visited there, I was maybe 12 years old and didn’t even realize the history of this place. Interesting.

So anyhoo, playing tourist was interesting. Since I hadn’t done it in a while, I was actually quite interested in some of the behaviors I observed. Call it a sociological observation of sorts. Amongst the salty kalua pork and poke, silk leis, and scent of suntan lotion, is what keeps this island alive. As expected, most of Hawai’i’s economy relies on tourism. I never really get to observe this machine in motion, although I work for a tourist magazine publisher. It’s all ink on paper to me until I actually get my butt out there and see these places. Sadly, I will have to say that I haven’t done much travelling around. Guess that’ll change, since we’re about to move!

We also went down to Waikiki this weekend. That’s always a fun place to go to people watch. High-priced fashion stores that attract Japanese tourists like moths to flame. Sunburnt northwestern tourists with farmer tans and squeaky new rubber slippers bought from the ABC store on the corner. Lanky teenagers lugging longboards along the beachwalk to learn to surf for the first time. It’s all a part of the experience.

The prepackaged version of Hawai’i is fun, but not really the full, real experience of the islands. I’m glad I got to know it well over these past couple of years… or else I wouldn’t have known it at all. The plate lunches that made me gain 10+ pounds (luckily taken off since then). The heaps of fresh pikake leis I receiived for my birthday. The shave ice at the little store down the street. The volcanic mountain range I get to see on my commute everyday (and the waterfalls that sometime grace it!). The warm and friendly people quaintly muttering in pidgin english. It’s all wonderful. And I know I’ll miss it.

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