PROTESTS IN PARADISE
HONOLULU, Hawaii - Big protest here on Saturday, featuring thousands of Hawaiians worried about native Hawaiian rights.
January 17 was the anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom in 1893, and protestors took to the streets of Waikiki to protect self-determination for native Hawaiians. It seems the state government wants to sell some former monarchy lands for affordable housing.
But native Hawaiians are resisting, and the state Supreme Court has said the sales can't go ahead until native Hawaiian land claims are settled. The state wants the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the state court ruling.
One protestor said it's rare to see so many different Hawaiian groups come together for something like Saturday's march, which probably bewildered tourists looking for a tan on a sunny, beautiful day following a stormy Friday.
"We need to take this abroad," Kaliko Baker told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. "Together with all the keiki (children) out here. It's awesome. We're perpetuating our culture."
Many thanks to Gordon Mark, Alvin Oshima and Brian Benevente for giving me a tour of the KoAloha ukelele factory in Honolulu on Saturday. They even put on an impromptu concert to show off the instrument's versatility, and it was something special.
More on that later in the print version of the Star's Travel section. And maybe some video if the good people at the Star can put with my video-making abilities, or lack of same.
Got back to my room after the ukelele tour and a brief drive around the western corner of Oahu (including a quick snap of American President-to-be Barack Obama's favourite playground/bodysurfing spot, Sandy Beach), and the maid was just coming in to clean up. I told her to go ahead while I admired the view of Waikiki and got some stuff put away.
She noticed a small, three dollar tip on the edge of the bed (my wife pointed out to me recently that if you leave money on the desk the cleaning staff might think you left it by mistake but if you put it on the bed it's clear it's for them, and it's only one of the reasons she's so smart) and thanked me profusely.
I didn't think it was so much for a large room but she was so appreciative.
"You're welcome," I said, "Thank you for a good job."
"No," she said, "thank you."
"It's okay," I replied.
"No," she answered. "We appreciate having visitors like you come to Hawaii. It's why I have a job."
Anyone see where the canals have frozen over in Holland? Also in the Netherlands, we're told. Anyway, it hasn't happened for more than a decade, and the Dutch (there's a good Seinfeld episode that goes over all this, by the way) have taken to it like ducks to a (frozen) pond.
The cold spell that has Europeans shivering probably isn't so welcome in Rome or Paris, where a cousin of mine almost shivered to death in January. But it's great news for the ski industry and for skate sales in Holland.
Would SOMEONE TURN DOWN THE AIR CONDITIONING in this state? I didn't come to Hawaii to freeze. I want to wear shorts in the airport and a golf shirt and not freeze my butt off. But I'm trying to type here and my fingers actually are cold and stiff.
I mention this out loud and an older guy nods his head.
"I"m from Minnesota," he said, "and I've never been this cold."
It's the tropics, folks, let in some fresh air and turn down the AC. You'll help your
tourist industry and save some bucks; not to mention help the climate change problem. Honestly. Do this right away.