Archives for posts with tag: Oahu

My introduction to Honolulu’s Kaka’ako neighborhood was hard and fast, and I liked it. On arrival, I was immediately ushered into cocktail-centric and appropriately named Bevy to clink Lilikoi-whiskey cocktails and other fruity concoctions––like, within a half hour of landing. I smelled like airplane and my hair had already begun to frizz from the island humidity. I didn’t care. I was surrounded by family, new friends, good drinks and the island intonation I hadn’t heard in nearly two years––and easily slipped back into during the seven days I was home.

Kaka’ako

Kaka’ako is trendy yet local; friendly, inviting and casual. It is the island lifestyle elevated, yet it seems the fun I had while visiting is just the beginning of a 15-20 year plan to revitalize the area, according to Our Kaka’ako. Backed by Kamehameha Schools, the intent for a walkable, live, work, play environment with ample green space is already evident in the handful of small eateries and watering holes that dot the cross streets of Ala Moana Boulevard.

A pint at Honolulu Beerworks.

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Typical breakfast back home; Portugese sausage, eggs and rice.

Typical breakfast back home; Portugese sausage, eggs and rice.

Whether I’m deplaning at Kauai’s airport or Honolulu International, where my sister now lives, homecoming always feels the same and I hope that will never change. It starts with the slow creep of damp air that seeps through my half-day-old travel wear as I wheel my carry-on toward curbside pick-up and ends with a bittersweet sense of appreciation and longing for the islands that raised me.

At Honolulu’s arrival terminal several weeks ago, I smile when I hear it: the familiar island twang of Hawaiian pidgin, which is today a product of the ethnic groups imported to till the sugar cane fields more than 150 years ago. The Filipinos, Chinese, Portuguese and Puerto Ricans did their best to find a cohesive way to communicate with one another and thus, the inverted grammar of the creole vernacular is one of the few remains after the industry collapsed in the ’90s.

The next morning I pop into Brue Bar off Bishop Street in Downtown Honolulu. I’m in a slight daze and need one more cup to activate the brewed drip my brother-in-law made for my sister and I before they both shoved off for work. Blank faced, I placed an order for a Chai latte.

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What Kauai usually looks like.

What Kauai usually looks like.

As my sister and brother-in-law prepare themselves and their Honolulu apartment for Hurricanes Iselle and Julio, which are expected to hit the Hawaiian islands in the next day or so, I reflect back with a bit of melancholy on the last (and only) hurricane I’ve experienced. It was 1992 – I was five, and I remember Iniki in pieces. The hurricane was serious; it destroyed a few thousand homes, killed a handful and left the island with millions of dollars in damage, but I was so young I was blissfully ignorant.

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