So This is Christmas, Waikiki

Big bucks are spent to vacation in Hawaii during Christmas. Since it had been two years since I’ve been to Waikiki for the holiday I decided to call my good friend Yvonne to join me for breakfast at the Outrigger Hotel.

Breakfast somehow seems more special when I am  sitting overlooking the pool and ocean and enjoying conversation with my long time crony. The food always seems to taste better when you are looking at such a beautiful site.

But alas it was not to be. That is, sitting overlooking the ocean. Instead, we had to take what was available, a table across from the preferred seating overlooking other people’s heads who were overlooking the pool and ocean.

It seemed from that point on I slowly turned into the Grinch.

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Yvonne was happy to be there and was just fine where we sat. She just ignored me as disappointment and complaints poured out of my mouth. The menu didn’t appeal to me so I ordered a short stack of macadamia nut and banana pancakes. They tasted dry as I tried to look through heads out to the sea. The coffee was bitter as I poured packets of sugar to mask the taste and somehow I only saw the tinsel side of Christmas as I looked around.

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There seemed nothing extraordinary to photograph that represented the holidays. This bar next to the table where we ate seemed to sum up the way I felt. It called to me but unfortunately it was closed. Even if it had been open I am sure they could not have made me a drink that would have made me feel better about my surroundings. So we headed down the stairs. I realized that the food had not changed and we had a wonderful waiter but I am a creature of my surroundings and I don’t choose place to eat for the food but for the ambiance.

 

 

IMG_0892I believe I took this very same photo two years ago for my Christmas blog back then. The Outrigger had very little to show in the way of Christmas decorations and so we didn’t bother to stay to look around.

Is it me or are the hotels losing the spirit like so many other places. Here it is December 16th and I’ve not heard one person say Merry Christmas. It’s as thought they are like the recorded message you always get when calling a business but paraphrased. “Your money is very important to us please take in our token Christmas decorations while you wait to pay the cashier.”

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The Moana Hotel, though their decorations have not changed, still had a beautiful presentation.

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The lei in the tree looked Hawaiian and Chrismasy

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Here we were at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel. This is a portrait of the young princess who was next in line for the throne. She died very young before taking the throne and even had she lived she would not have been able to reign as Queen Liliuokalani the Queen at the time, had been dethroned by big business men from the United States. Her imprisonment marked the end of the Hawaiian Monarchy. Much to the sadness and outcry of the Hawaiian People.

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This carving of a peacock is also a symbol of the Princess. Her home was in Waikiki and it was surrounded by her beloved peacocks. It was said that the peacocks cried through the night as the princess lay on her death bead. But more to reality the reason they may have cried would have been to announce the stream of strangers that were calling throughout the night to pay their last respects to their beloved princess.

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My last Christmas visit to the hotel they had this elaborate ginger bread set up  but it was all Hawaiian. This year they gave a nod to all the foreign visitors who patronize the hotel. This is the London Tower Bridge and to the side is the Eye of London or is it the London Eye?

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And do I really have to say what this represents other than a lot of cookie dough? The Eiffel Tower.

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And this is the rest of the village that looked a little to snowy for me. Yes Christmas can have a lot of snow, but in Hawaii? These are historic sites in Hawaii but it was just cluttered for me to try to single out.

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Now we’re  at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. I did not visit it the last time so it was all new to me and yet the tree pretty much looked like all the other hotel trees.

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But I did like this carousel display. The wind was blowing and the waterfall splashed down and out. Their was a bit of a chill, not much, but still a chill in the air. The bright display attracted the children but the spray of water became more attention-getting then anything else. I expect coming from all over the world and many from cold countries, the spray felt wonderful under the Hawaiian sun.

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So the last Hotel display I took was this one as I really liked the lay that this zebra was wearing. But that was as close to a Hawaiian look as there was going to be for a display in this hotel.

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When all was said and done. This was the real Christmas in Hawaii for those who were checking in to the hotel. From breakfast to the last display, I felt, Christmas had left the building and if there had not been these displays in the hotels you would not have known what time of year it was once you stepped out of your room.

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From street settings such as this along Kalakaua Avenue ,

IMG_0932to Duke Kahanamoku with fists full of leis welcoming all to his island

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This is the real Christmas in Hawaii

 

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Christmas at the Outrigger Hotel in Hawaii

Hibiscus Christmas Tree

This hotel was a little more festive then the Royal Hawaiian. I loved all of the hisbiscus that decorated the tree.  Exactly which Outrigger I was at, I am not sure. I identify it as the Outrigger where I can sit and have breakfast and look out to the ocean as the photograph in my last post showed.

An Outrigger Canoe at the Outrigger Hotel

Here an Outrigger canoe is incorporated into the Christmas display. It seems fitting. The hotel industry likes to put out “Hawaiian” displays to give you that “Your in Hawaii” feeling. Just like the Christmas trees trying to give you that “Christmas” feeling.

Neither work in my estimation but they are nice to look at. When ever I can I try to encourage people to leave Waikiki. It was once the playground of the Alii (Kings and Queens) but thanks to the corporate world they have destroyed the wave action in that area and have had to bring in sand to replace beaches that are washing away and are trying their best to landscape between all of the cement jungle to try and bring back some semblance of Hawaii to greed gone haywire.

Again, I think of the Eagles song, where they say “call someplace Paradise and you can kiss it good-by.

Herb Kane Painting Of Hawaiians coming to the islands

If you double click on the above photo you will get a better view of the painting. Many people don’t realize that due to excellent navigation skills the Kanaka Maoli (The People) as the Hawaiians called themselves, purposely set out for the islands. They were not blown off course nor did they just happen upon the islands one day when they were out fishing.

Of course there isn’t anything to indicate this in the hotel.  People will just look at the canoe and maybe will connect it to canoe races or beach boys. But as is shown in the painting the Hawaiians came great distances with every thing they needed inside those great canoes.

Landing on pristines shores, devising a land system where all were dependent on one another and there was no such thing as greed. If an alii were to be harsh to his people and demand to much of them they had the right to move on to another area and under another cheif. This would bring disgrace upon the demanding one so it happened very seldom and all lived quite well.

That is until the forigners landed. So here we are in a cement jungle with a few Hawaiian artifacts thrown in, real or not. Too bad we can’t kick out the ruling chiefs of today.

Well anyway if you do decide to stay in Waikiki do rent a car and drive out to the windward side. Take in the real green. The Koolau‘s. I will cover that on another day.

 

Taking A Staycation In Hawaii

Christmas in Hawaii

I’m boycotting air travel.  It’s my little way (very little) of saying I won’t support the airlines as long as the lowly citizen and diplomats are forced to go through airport scanners but not our “servant’s” in Washington. Of course I live on an island and that means if I don’t hop a plane I have no alternative transportation other then a luxury liner and that’s not an option for me.

Having gone into Waikiki this morning, where there is no such thing as free parking. I was upset that I would have to pay $5.00 to park my car. It bothers me that all of the beautiful beaches down there and nice restaurants and entertainment are very accessable to the tourist but local people have to pay to go to the beaches by way of parking meters and lots.

So to keep myself on a happy note I told myself to think of my morning venture as a staycation. People pay thousands to come to Hawaii so what is $5.00 in the scheme of things. I brightened right up and it was all uphill from there.

So to borrow a few lines from the Master Card commercial this is how much my staycation cost me.

Getting off the freeway and into a parking garage: $5.00

 

Breakfast with a view $13.00 including tip

 

Watching Santa arrive by canoe? Priceless

Yes, my original reason for the trip was to get photos of the Grand Old Man as he was paddled in by canoe to meet and greet all the children on the beach.

Dressed in traditional Hawaiian Palaka print.

For years I have watched on the TV as Santa arrived in this manner. I’d get upset as I always missed it. This year I marked it on the calendar and told my grandson I would take him. Of course my grandson did not want to get up at 6AM to see all this so I went with a friend who lives in Waikiki. I think I was just as excited to see Santa as all the tourist and their kids.

The little hula girls practice while waiting for Santa’s arrival

Into one’s life a little sun must shine, and it did, right into my camera

These little dancers were thrilled to be personally greeted by Santa. All the practice and preparation was worth it.  And for me, what can I say? I had a wonderful morning for under $20.00 Cash! Not having to use Master Card? Priceless.