1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Reflections: Honolulu, Hawaii

by Suzanne Fluhr on August 14, 2014 · 83 comments

Orange Hibiscus, Honolulu, Hawaii

Instead of ice and snow, beautiful flowers like this orange hibiscus after a light rain.

Mr. Excitement and I had the good fortune to be in Honolulu, Hawaii during one of the worst Philadelphia winters in years. After our month-long trip to Southeast Asia in January, in February we arrived in Honolulu on the Hawaiian island of Oahu to start Mr. Dr./Professor Excitement’s three month sabbatical at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. (Yes, cancer rears its ugly head even in Paradise).

 filming Hawaii Five-0 in Honolulu.

They really do film Hawaii Five-0 in Honolulu.

After our three months in Honolulu, I can understand why there’s such a thing as “get me outta here” island fever, but every time we watch a Hawaii Five-0 rerun, we love seeing landmarks from our time in Honolulu and become nostalgic.  Having just watched one, I think our impressions of Honolulu and environs have marinated sufficiently to share them.

Ten Things I Learned Living in Honolulu, Hawaii for Three Months

Hawaiians Actually Do Speak Hawaiian — Even the Haoles* Speak Some Hawaiian 

Even if you just visit Hawaii for a week, you will leave saying “aloha” for “hello” and  “good-bye” and you’ll be thanking people with “mahalo“.  If you stay for two weeks, you’ll be referring to children as keiki and when you ask someone on the street for directions, you will expect to hear, mauka (towards the mountains) and makai (towards the sea).  You may also build up some resentment of the kama‘aina discount, a discount only for Hawaii residents, common in restaurants and some museums. (Thank you for the University of Hawaii I.D. card!) If you stay longer than two weeks, you will start feeling like ohana (family).

[*There is some disagreement as to whether “haole” is a derogatory term for white people. The discussion in the Urban Dictionary is illustrative.]

On Oahu, many streets and the names of cities and towns are Hawaiian. Written Hawaiian only uses 13 letters—and one of the them is actually a reverse apostrophe, representing a “glottal stop“. The fact that there are only 7 consonants means that initially, a lot of the  multi-syllabic street and place names seem very similar and unpronounceable for newly arrived haoles, such as ourselves. Asking directions might result in this conversation:

Helpful Passerby: Take Liliuokalani makai to Kalakaua, go right to Kaulani Avenue where you have to go mouka, but be careful because Kaulani becomes Kanekapolei.

Mr. Excitement:  Mahalo. (Rolling up car window).

Me:  You still have no idea how to get to the Kamehameha Highway, do you?

Although not used with tourists, there is actually a widespread Hawaiian Creole language that, in addition to Hawaiian, borrows words from the languages of immigrants from countries such as England and the U.S., Portugal, China, Japan and the Philippines. This spills over some into the Hawaiian accent in English, so I had to listen very carefully sometimes to understand the locals — like I have to do sometimes as a Yankee traveling in the southern U.S. or rural Ireland.

Hawaii has Micro-Weather

Clouds Ala Moana Park, Honolulu, Hawaii

The micro-weather results in complex clouds. (Ala Moana Park, Honolulu)

Hawaii is famous for its micro-climates. For example, on the island of Maui, the leeward side of the island has an average annual rainfall of 17 to 20 inches, while the windward side of the island, a distance of about 50 miles, receives in excess of 300 inches. However, on a day to day basis, it was the micro-weather I found remarkable. On several occasions, I was looking up at blue sky, but it was raining and I once waited out a downpour only to realize that it was happening only on one side of the building. A typical TV news weather report goes something like this:

It will rain today somewhere on the island of Oahu and the waves will be of various heights depending on the shoreline. The forecast is the same for all the islands. The ten day forecast is the same as today’s forecast. That is all.

While this might make it difficult to know whether to bring an umbrella, it also results in frequent lovely rainbows.

Hawaiian’s Don’t Wear Hawaiian Shirts

Aloha shirt, honolulu, hawaii

Dr. Excitement heading off to work in his Aloha shirt.

Mr. Excitement is somewhat obsessed by Hawaiian shirts. Actually, in Hawaii, they call them “Aloha Shirts”. (Like we don’t refer to Philly cheese steaks in Philadelphia — because what else would they be?)  In Hawaii, he liked wearing them to work — displaying his playful, irreverent side. 😉 However, we noticed that no other researchers at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center were wearing Aloha shirts. Pretty much the only people who wear Aloha shirts are tourists, hospitality service workers who have to wear them as part of their uniforms, political candidates—and, of course, Mr. Excitement. This is not to say people dress formally.The Cancer Center director wore jeans to testify before the state legislature, explaining they’d be suspicious if he showed up in a suit and tie.

It is Not a Good Idea to Jaywalk in Honolulu

The Honolulu police (the ones who aren’t in Five-0) want you to know they are tough on jaywalkers. Along the streets that cut through the main tourist areas, the traffic lights are rrreeaally long. Mr. Excitement and I like to live on the edge sometimes and have been known occasionally to look both ways and then cross against a traffic light — or if we’re feeling particularly rebellious, to cross in the middle of the block. (Let’s face it, Killadelphia Philadelphia peace officers have bigger fish to fry than nailing extremely sober looking, jaywalking Baby Boomers.)

One day, soon after we arrived in Honolulu, I was waiting at one of the interminable traffic lights at a small side street. I was not paying attention daydreaming and when the coast was clear, I proceeded to cross the street. Suddenly, I heard some agitated voices speaking Japanese behind me. It turns out I had been an unwitting Pied Piper. The 15 people who followed me off the curb realized mid-street that I had led them into the perdition of disobeying the little red hand commanding us to wait from traffic light stanchion. I apologized profusely and slunk away.

Assume You Should Remove Your Shoes Before Entering A Residence

Wear clean socks and make sure your toe nails are neatly trimmed in Hawaii. As in Japan, the default in Hawaii, is to remove one’s shoes when entering a residence. I was a little taken aback the first few times people showed up at our apartment door and immediately kicked off their shoes or sandals. We have now imported this tradition to our mainland abode. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it.

In Some Areas of Honolulu, Especially Waikiki, It Would be Helpful to Know Japanese

Japanese wedding, Waikiki

Waikiki is a popular destination wedding locale for couples from Japan.

When we visited Pearl Harbor, Mr. Excitement was taking my photo in front of the entrance sign when a gentleman bowing and speaking Japanese rushed up to us. He launched into the universal pantomime for “Do you want me to take your photo together?” I don’t know how many German tourists visit Dachau, but at Pearl Harbor, it’s a good bet that you might be sitting next to a Japanese citizen in the national park theater, watching archival footage of airplanes bearing the insignia of the Rising Sun bomb right where you’re sitting—some 73 years ago.

Much as Spanish is widely spoken in Miami, in Honolulu, there are restaurants where the menu outside is in Japanese only and buses with outside advertising only in Japanese. If you want a job in the hospitality industry, the ability to speak Japanese is likely to be a requirement and Japanese brides and grooms being photographed on the beach is an omnipresent scene as Honolulu is a Japanese destination wedding favorite.

I Am Not Fond of Hawaiian Food

Shave ice, Honolulu, Hawaii

Doing my due diligence. Cooling off with some shave ice.

When we travel, sampling the local cuisine is usually a highlight. In Hawaii — not so much. Most tourists from the U.S. mainland want to try poi, a traditional Hawaiian food made from pounded, fermented taro root. Many then make a face and describe poi as tasting like wallpaper paste. Hawaiians find it odd that so many mainlanders apparently consume wallpaper paste.

Another popular contemporary dish on the menu at most restaurants in Hawaii is loco moco. It’s usually two or more hamburger patties, on top of a pile of white rice, topped with a fried egg and covered in brown gravy. If you eat an entire serving of loco moco, chances are it will be your last meal of the day—and probably the next day too.

Honolulu Hawaii, Mai tai

My birthday Mai Tai.

Shave ice is another tourist “must try”. Let me save you the trouble. If you’re a Baby Boomer, shave ice will take you back to days before your family had air conditioning when snow cones (chipped ice covered by a sweet syrup) was a coveted hot weather treat. Shave ice is the same thing. Philly Italian water ice has it beat—hands down, IMHO.

In the interests of research, I made it my business to try a mai tai whenever possible. With slight variations, a mai tai is some type of tropical fruit juice with rum. Meh.

And then there’s the Hawaiian obsession with Spam. Wikipedia defines Spam as a “canned precooked meat product”. ‘Nuff said. 

Oahu Has Interstate Highways (Huh?) and Traffic is Frequently Going Nowhere Fast

Interstate Highway H1, Honolulu, Oahu, HawaiiThere are federal highway dollars to be had for building interstate highways. There are three of them on the island of Oahu. Apparently, the feds aren’t really strict on the “inter” part of “interstate”. Hawaii isn’t all palm trees, beautiful mountains, beaches and hula dancers. In 2013, Honolulu also had the second worst traffic congestion in the country, behind only Los Angeles.

Paradise has an Underbelly:

There Are Scams in Paradise

We actually learned this before we arrived in Honolulu when we were looking on-line for an apartment to rent. Honolulu realtors don’t make commissions on rental units, so at best you’ll be dealing with a property management office. At worst, you’ll be running into scams on real estate websites such as Zillow, Trulia and Craigslist. Bottom line, do not send money to anyone before thoroughly vetting them and the property they claim to be renting. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Book your Oahu tours through a hotel concierge or on-line. If a nice looking young man in a Hawaiian shirt with a little booth on the street tries to sell you a heavily discounted tour, most likely, there are all sorts of strings attached.

The Homeless are Omnipresent Homeless man in Ala Moana Park, Honolulu, Hawaaii

If I had a choice of where to be homeless. chances are I’d pick Honolulu too. A park next to the warm South Pacific has it all over a freezing pavement.

Hawaii is Still Paradise

Honolulu is a big city with big city benefits and drawbacks. However, it is wedged between beautiful mountains and the Pacific Ocean — views I never tired of. Within an hour, you can drive to an uncrowded beach. You can leave your woolies home. I might not want to live there, but I sure wouldn’t mind a long visit to Hawaii every winter.

View from the Pali Lookout near Honolulu, Hawaii

View from the Pali Lookout near Honolulu

Windward Side Scenery on Oahu

Windward Side Scenery on Oahu

Sunset off Honolulu, Hawaii

Sunset off Honolulu, Hawaii

Have you visited Honolulu? If so, what was your opinion? If not, do you think you’d like to visit or live there?

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna Janke August 14, 2014 at 9:13 am

I haven’t been to Honolulu, but I enjoyed reading about your experience. It is interesting to find out a bit about living in other places. Seeing it through the eyes of someone new to the place points out things that might not be so obvious to natives. By the way, my husband is also partial to Hawaiian shirts. And it is common where we live to take off shoes when entering a residence. I think it probably stems from the winter months and wearing boots. But it’s extended into the summer as well.


Suzanne Fluhr August 14, 2014 at 12:24 pm

When you finally do visit Hawaii, your husband should bring his Hawaiian (Aloha) shirts. People will think he’s a tourist, service worker or a politician. 😉


Doreen Pendgracs August 14, 2014 at 9:15 am

Hi Suzanne: It was lovely meeting you in Honolulu (Waikiki.) I learned quite a bit about Oahu this year as I teamed up with the Hawaii Cocoa Growers Assn, who took me under their wing and took me to some interesting locales where various crops are grown.

I was shocked at how many Japanese weddings there are on the island of Oahu! There were 4/day at our hotel, the Moana. It had been a long since my last visit, but the basic things are still the same: Lovely beach hotels, weather and vistas. Would I want to live in Honolulu? No, but I’d love to live on Maui. It’s a perfect blend of serenity and civilization, with unparalleled beauty as the backdrop.


Suzanne Fluhr August 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm

The next time we visit Hawaii, we will make it a point to visit another island—-but first, we have to climb Diamond Head!


Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs August 14, 2014 at 10:20 am

This is great. I’ve yet to visit Hawaii but I have a friend who grew up there. Her mother was Japanese, her father Hawaiian. They tell fantastical tales of Pearl Harbor and hate for the Japanese, stories of the wrath of the Princess and the wrath to befall those who sneak home black sand from the beaches. Seems a mythical, magical place in their stories… with, yes, a true underbelly that’s impossible to miss (or ignore).

Love this post. Made me miss my friend… and a place I’ve never been.


Suzanne Fluhr August 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

It’s an interesting place. Probably one of the most “different” of the 50 states.


Tim August 14, 2014 at 11:55 am

Sounds really wonderful and spending that much time there must have given you some real insights besides the ones you share here. I have not been to Hawaii, other than the airport, but it is on my list and you will be sure to read about it.


Suzanne Fluhr August 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm

It’s definitely worth leaving the airport. I’ll be looking for your post when you do. 🙂


Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru August 14, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Aloha, Suzanne – yes, of course, we’ve been to Honolulu. 😉 Honolulu is to Hawaii as NYC is to the USA. I’m glad you’re planning to visit other islands besides Oahu next time you get this way. The rural nature and secluded lifestyle here on Kauai’s North Shore matches with our personal definition of paradise. And there are five other unique and distinct main islands from which to choose a good fit. So glad you mentioned the beautiful language. We took a few classes after we first arrived, and this helped! Not for pidgin, though, which remains pretty unintelligible to me still. Fun to read your impressions and see Hubby in an aloha shirt! Aloha ‘oe a hui hou!


Suzanne Fluhr August 14, 2014 at 2:50 pm

We’ve briefly visited 3 other islands. Your analogy of New York City to the rest of the US and Honolulu to the rest of Hawaii is very apt. However, there are lovely escapes tight on Oahu also.


Jackie Humphries Smith August 14, 2014 at 2:24 pm

We both read your post and enjoyed your observations. (Sorry we didn’t get a chance to meet while we were all on O’ahu and take you two out for some ono grindz plate lunch – some of our favorite foods are found in Honolulu. We love Honolulu for all its big city quirkiness and problems (homeless, traffic, parking, vog, etc.) and think we’ve probably visited more than a dozen times — and will hopefully return for many years to come.


Suzanne Fluhr August 14, 2014 at 2:46 pm

We definitely missed that ono grindz plate lunch. Oh well. Next time.


Neva @ Retire for the Fun of it August 14, 2014 at 4:13 pm

We also loved our visits to Hawaii and were amused by the large number of Japanese tourists visiting Pearl Harbor. At Topaz, Utah, many Japanese were imprisoned even though they were all Americans and wrongfully considered potential traitors. Topaz is a desolate and uninviting area so don’t add this to a visit some day list.

My husband was wearing an eye patch in Honolulu and a homeless man started a conversation with us (insert eye roll). Then he took out a ID that showed when he wore an eye patch at San Quentin (shocked eyes while trying to move away). He turned out to be a very interesting person and I’ll try not to judge people again as long as I feel safe.


Suzanne Fluhr August 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm

My favorite Honolulu homeless person sign was “I’m not gonna lie. I need money for alcohol”. There is another museum on Waikiki that does an excellent job of highlighting the travails and contributions of Japanese Hawaiians during World War II—the US Army Museum of Hawaii.


nan @ lbddiaries August 14, 2014 at 4:39 pm

No, never been and probably won’t. Alpha Hubby has a thing against touristy areas (!) as he calls them. He likes going where no one else goes. Of course we have fun so it works for me. I really enjoyed this post because it tells me everything I need to know! NO poi and no Mai Tai for me, smile. Your posts are almost the same as being there because your words paint excellent pictures – and I love the sunset off Honolulu picture – so multi-colored!


Alice August 14, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Really enjoyed this post! Interesting to read you observations from living in Hawaii for a few months. We visited Kauai and Maui 7 yrs ago and now I want to go back.


Suzanne Fluhr August 15, 2014 at 10:19 am

You still have some islands left to visit—Oahu, the Big Island (which is amazing), Lanai and Molakai.


The Gypsynesters August 14, 2014 at 6:44 pm

It is strange how islands can have various weather. On St. Croix, which is pretty small (only 25 miles long) the East end was very dry while the west was rain forest. Didn’t know about taking off shoes, and loco moco sounds pretty good.


Suzanne Fluhr August 15, 2014 at 10:20 am

I think loco moco might be an acquired taste 😉


Leslie in Portland, Oregon August 14, 2014 at 7:15 pm

I always enjoy your observations from the places you visit, but this post was particularly fun, probably since you spent three months in the place you were writing about. Many of your observations describe what I experienced during my many 36-48 hour layovers on Oahu as a Pan Am crew member in the 1970’s. After my first trip, I spent as little time in Honolulu as possible. In those days, rental car were inexpensive on Oahu, so I usually rented a car and spent at least one carefree day exploring the island. I was amazed at how much of it was rural and/or sparsely populated. The food stands along the North shore offered tasty local fare (no poi), the beaches were lovely, and there were few crowds. I body surfed, swam, snorkeled, ate, hiked, watched polo matches, talked with locals and gloried in whatever flora was blooming and fragrant. (Your photograph of the rain-kissed hibiscus is lovely.) Having been exposed to the Hawaiian and Japanese languages while growing up, I felt right at home even though my pale skin clearly identified me as a haole. Looking back, I can hardly believe that those Hawaii trips became almost “routine,” and I bid instead for the “more exotic” trips that comprised the rest of Pan Am flying. Now I visit Hawaii, and especially Hilo on the Big Island, whenever I can and soak up the Hawaii pace of living (outside Honolulu) for as long as I can.


Suzanne Fluhr August 15, 2014 at 10:24 am

In terms of diversity of environments, I think the Big Island is a great destination—-lava fields, rain forest, ranch land, snow on Moana Kea, (the top of which looks like the moon) and active volcanoes. And, the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden outside Hilo is a treasure.


Juergen August 14, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Many things sound rather familiar to somebody like me, who calls sub-tropical Australia home. I guess there simply are things which make sense in the tropics. But you sure didn’t make the food sound tempting 😉


Suzanne Fluhr August 15, 2014 at 10:24 am

I wouldn’t travel to Hawaii for the food, but I’m sure there are plenty of folks who would disagree.


Irene S. Levine August 14, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Gosh, your sabbatical passed so quickly for me!
Sounds like you had a wonderful time. xo


Suzanne Fluhr August 15, 2014 at 10:26 am

The older we get, the more time flies—something about every day being a smaller percentage of our lives. 😉


Michelle August 14, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Loved your post and I love Hawaii. I have not stayed in Honolulu, but may soon since I have a good friend who lives there. I don’t think I could live in Hawaii as much as I LOVE to visit as I’m sure that I would get island fever. The homeless situation is disturbing, but it would be better to live mainly outdoors there than pretty much anywhere until we hopefully can come up with a better way to help them than a one way ticket to Hawaii.


Suzanne Fluhr August 15, 2014 at 10:27 am

That one way ticket to Hawaii thing certainly sticks in the craw of the local powers that be. Apparently, there were some mainland municipalities that did, in fact, handle their homeless populations that way.


Mary August 15, 2014 at 6:16 am

Great observations. I lived there for 6 months and was ready to leave but I want to be back on that island all the time now. I just went fir 3 days and it felt like home and we wanted to move ack right away. Maui is also someplace I could live, a good in between of the crazy on Oahu and the boring on the Big Island.

That being said travel from here sucks because its so expensive and so far from everything and island fever is very real. You start to feel trapped. Expense is also more there and I get sick of not being able to complain about anything because you know “BUT you live IN Hawaii” If I had a dollar for everytime I heard that…. lol


Suzanne Fluhr August 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm

I know. I was literally getting “hate” email from friends and relatives during one of the worst winters in Philly history. I definitely had to be careful not to complain about a rainy day. Living on the east coast of the US, a trip to Hawaii is definitely a commitment in time and money.


Roz Warren August 15, 2014 at 8:34 am

Last time I was in Hawaii, I was 20 years old. This brought back some great memories. Beautiful place.


Suzanne Fluhr August 15, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I wonder if it would feel different—-you know, lo these many years later. 😉


Wanda Sadowski August 15, 2014 at 8:50 am

Aloha! I have never been to Hawaii, but I found this article to be both funny and fascinating. It would make a great mid-trip stop between Australia (current residence) and Canada (home). I’ll be keeping this post handy. Thanks!


Maddy Resendes August 15, 2014 at 11:31 am

My husband is also partial to Hawaiian shirts. May have something to do with the easy- on-the-figure (or shall we say “paunch”) comfiness of them!! I am also partial to clothes that feel like pajamas, but are passable in public. Eddie and I went to Oahu years ago to attend a wedding. Had a really nice time mopeding around the island, etc. Would like to go back and visit a different island. We have friends on Maui who live there at least half of the year – sounds like they’ve got the right idea!


Suzanne Fluhr August 15, 2014 at 12:17 pm

I could definitely want to fit Hawaii into the living in 4 places for 3 months of the year plan—-a pied a terre in each. Dream on.


Patti August 15, 2014 at 2:22 pm

We lived in Hawaii Kai – about 20 minutes outside of Honolulu – for a little over a year, back in the late ’70s. Yikes! I’m aging myself. And while we were there we figured we’d get married. Just, me, Abi, a judge and his clerk. It worked; 36 years later we’re still going strong. After we left Hawaii it took 20 years before we returned and we’ve never again spent time in Honolulu, we just transferred planes to Maui or the Big Island. I’m not a big fan of Honolulu, yes, it’s on an Hawaiian island but living there, it feels just like any other city. We’ve been to Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, and we loved our stays. I think it may be a long time before we return – if ever – because there are SO many other places we want to visit. If someone were to ask me, we’re going to Hawaii where should we go, I’d recommend either Maui or the Big Island. Aloha!


Suzanne Fluhr August 15, 2014 at 8:13 pm

I think when people thing of Oahu, they think of Honolulu and the Waikiki Beach area. The island is so much more. However, you are right that there is a lot to see on Maui and in my opinion, particularly on the Big Island.


Marilyn Jones August 15, 2014 at 6:44 pm

What an incredible experience! And your photos are breathtaking. I haven’t been to Hawaii yet (I know!!), but it’s on my Bucket List!!


Suzanne Fluhr August 15, 2014 at 8:15 pm

It’s certainly worth a visit and it’s on the way to Asia!


santafetraveler August 16, 2014 at 10:09 am

Great post- as always you made me laugh- interspersed with great info. Santa Fe has a lot of that- white people (or anyone not American Indian or of Hispanic descent are ”
Anglos”, we have lots of Spanish words interspersed in daily speech and most streets have Spanish names. The difference is no ocean so just about everything is towards the mountains- we’re basically surrounded. And the local cuisine is fab! Just don’t order menudo-lol.


Suzanne Fluhr August 16, 2014 at 9:08 pm

The difference is that I speak Spanish, so I didn’t have any trouble with pronouncing the Spanish named things in New Mexico. I’m sure Santa Fe cuisine is “fab”, but because I don’t/can’t eat chile, most of it is wasted on me. 🙁


Johanna August 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm

I’d love to visit too, but I can see why you’d want to set a time limit to an extended stay. Island fever is real and alive for sure. I loved your hints and tips though, from the scams about renting, to advice about the weather – your TV News weather report was hilarious even though true! And this made me laugh out loud, “Hawaiians find it odd that so many mainlanders apparently consume wallpaper paste.”


Suzanne Fluhr August 16, 2014 at 9:10 pm

So, the question is whether Australia is a big enough island to forestall island fever—-or, when is an island, not an island. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂


Mike August 16, 2014 at 10:09 pm

First off, I’m so gosh darn FRUSTRATED beyond belief that I’m not getting new post notifications from ANYONE! And I don’t know why! Not even in my Spam. Grrrrr…

I got engaged on Maui and married on Kauai and despite being divorced a short time later is filled with tons of great memories with her! For real deal, ironically I was just looking at some of our pictures 3 hours ago from our trips! I must have felt your post vibe because i would not have known about it had it not been for your Comment Luv. Sorry I’m so late getting here Suzanne.

I was a huge fan of the original Hawaii Five-O and Magnum P.I. just because of them being filmed there. And I could eat a dish of Loco Moco every day!!! Our work cafeteria even makes it as does a Hawaiian restaurant down the street from my house. NO, I don’t eat it that often…but I could 🙂

Thank you for the trip down Memory Lane, Suzanne! 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr August 16, 2014 at 10:22 pm

I’m glad my post conjured up a few good memories—-even if one of them is of loco moco—yuck! Actually, my son quite enjoyed it when he visited.


Cathy Sweeney August 17, 2014 at 12:31 am

Even Honolulu has good and not-so-good points. But as you said, it’s still Paradise. What a great experience to be there for an extended stay — and in a place with a fab view besides! Very interesting to get your take on things now that you’ve been home. I’m very glad that you were in Honolulu in February so that I could meet up with you in person. Hope we get to see each other again sometime — anywhere.


Suzanne Fluhr August 18, 2014 at 2:46 am

We should pick somewhere nice and tropical to meet up every February!


Mike (Nomadic Texan) August 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm

My wife Kim and it actually met and spent a great amount of time in Honolulu at a Six Flags business retreat in like 1976 in believe. We rode pedicabs until dawn. Drank way too much tequila and thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

We and our three sons have been back several times, both as a couple and as a family. We have been very fortunate and have seen all the major islands. Her Mom owns an acre of land up above Captain Cook the town.

I’m think my most favorite is the Hilo area. Hope y’all get back and see the other islands and yes I wear Aloha shirts every day Is am there (of course with my Panama Hat)!


Suzanne Fluhr August 18, 2014 at 2:47 am

We had a chance to visit Hilo as a cruise stop last year. We visited the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden there. Absolutely gorgeous.


Sand In My Suitcase August 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm

So funny – Hawaiians don’t wear Hawaiian shirts :-). Well, we think living in Honolulu for 3 months in winter wouldn’t be so bad either…


Suzanne Fluhr August 18, 2014 at 1:21 pm

We were kind of surprised about the not wearing Hawaiian shirts thing. Am I going to go to Texas and find out that the locals never wear cowboy hats?


noel August 18, 2014 at 2:49 am

Oh I didn’t like that boring statement of the Big Island, it is gorgeous and there is real aloha on this island. But you can’t really be a lover of urban environments to like the Big Island which is very much intact and not as touristy as the other islands. Also Aloha shirts are predominantly used for special events, weddings and parties not for work – they are still very popular for any special function in place of a suite or shirt and tie. Everything else is spot on for Honolulu but not the same for any of the other islands of Hawaii 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr August 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

I don’t think the Big Island is boring! To the contrary, if I could only go to one island in Hawaii, that’s where I would recommend. It has the most varied topography and natural beauty—everything from active volcanoes to moonscapes (atop Mauna Kea) to mountaintop snow to beautiful beaches, a great botanical garden and 2 good size towns.


jan August 18, 2014 at 5:10 am

Reading your honest opinions is very interesting. So far we’ve not been and have no urge to, but I would not rule it out. I would go anywhere if the opportunity arose 🙂 Love that Mr. Excitement wore is Aloha shirts to work, lol.


Suzanne Fluhr August 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm

I hope you get a chance to visit. It’s on the way to Asia or the mainland US—depending on which direction you’re traveling. Our first visit to Oahu was to break up a long trip from Philadelphia to Taiwan.


the cape on the corner August 18, 2014 at 9:07 am

three months, lucky duck you! we went to maui and kauai for two weeks, and i loved it. being from philadelphia, too, people were shocked to hear we traveled that far. most people seemed to be from the west coast. i would much rather be close to hawaii than the caribbean, where most east coasters go for a relaxing vacation.


Suzanne Fluhr August 18, 2014 at 1:25 pm

For east coasters from the US, if all you want is some warm weather and beach, the Caribbean is a lot closer, but Hawaii definitely has things you won’t find in the Caribbean. Living there for three months definitely afforded one a different perspective.


Corinne August 18, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Suzanne, I loved this post. I haven’t been to Hawaii in a few years, and the last time I went I was living in Japan so I felt it wasn’t much different than what I had gotten used to. But Hawaii is definitely unique. I think I would love to live there for thee months, but not much longer!


Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) August 20, 2014 at 11:15 am

I guess that’s why Japanese tourists flock to Hawaii for weddings and vacations. It’s culturally comfortable.


Cathy Chester August 22, 2014 at 7:25 am

Hawaii is on my Bucket List, and your post made me want to go even more. Sounds like you had an amazing time. I pray that someday we’ll be able to go.

BTW, you have so many comments I am in awe of you! I had to keep scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. So fabulous!


Suzanne Fluhr August 22, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Cathy, I hope you’ll make it to Hawaii some day. It’s beautiful and definitely it’s own place—well worth a visit.


Muza-chan August 29, 2014 at 7:40 am



Franca September 6, 2014 at 2:46 am

No, I haven’t been to Hawaii but since I was a little girl I always dreamt of going there and I pictured it like a tropical destination with breathtaking views and amazing weather. That was the image the media set for me, at that time there were plenty of films set in Hawaii, you get the picture.


Suzanne Fluhr September 9, 2014 at 5:21 am

The truth is not too far from the fantasy—as far a Hawaii is concerned. It is definitely worth a visit. Each island is different, but all have paradisaical aspects.


ElaineLK September 15, 2014 at 4:23 pm

We visited Hawaii and stayed 10 days in Honolulu. We absolutely loved it. We went from there to the Big Island, and although there was beauty there, too, the black-lava beaches weren’t nearly as enticing as the ones on Oahu. I did enjoy staying in the city, as I’m basically a city person. The combination of city right next to beaches with the mountains in the distance is unbeatable. And I would love to either live or winter there if we could afford it.

Reply September 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

I love this post Suzanne! I’m in Honolulu right now for a month. It’s one of our very favorite places to visit.


Bodynsoil September 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm

I’ve been to Honolulu and agree with your synopsis. The tourist beach area is well kept and cleanish, two strees back from the strip and the livestyle of people is very different. Poverty is rampant, it is sad to see.. The food didn’t appeal to me either..


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