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« In Which We View Vacation As A Kind of Research »

The Magical Land(s) of Hawai'i


Hawai'i is a warm and inspiring place for Jew and Gentile alike. Since I am both, I have attempted to synthesize my disparate backgrounds into a survey of these wonderful islands. Here is a glossary for you to consult upon your eventual pilgrimage to the land where James Cook got very laid, very lei'd, and very dead.


Half-Polynesian, half-Japanese and five percent European, the Hawaiian people are a lot less sad than American Indians, a development I commend them for. There was quite a stir in the local paper about a school which admitted only natives. I found this to be a enterprising idea and aim to found a university composed entirely of bloggers.

Dole Plantation

Although I am categorically averse to anything with either the word "plant" or "plantation" in it, I wasn't the only one who felt gypped by the world's largest hedge maze. In addition, I don't like being corrected about where pineapples come from. A peacock later chased me off the property.

The set and environs of the ABC series Lost

A journey to the Lost set fills one with an air of mystery and unsuccessful plane travel. Departing Hawai'i, it is considered inappropriate to scream, "Where's Hurley??!?!?!" and sob.


Most, if not all bookstores in Hawai'i sell to the customer with a disapproving eye, as books are fairly rare and exchanged only with considered malice.

diamond head is a betch to climbHonolulu

The only part of Hawai'i that feels like someplace other than it is.


Because of Hawai'i's proximity to Japan, there are many Japanese tourists virtually everywhere you go. If my experience is any indication, I am the preferred vacation photographer of Japanese couples in the Waikiki Beach area.


Snorkeling is all fun and games until you meet up with an anti-Semitic turtle. Sea turtles are also called hana, which I felt was a fairly absurd nickname. I spotted many colorful fish, none of whom professed great support of Obama. Let me know when you find my jokes about anthropomorphic animals excessive.

the ritz carlton on maui is for the intrepid onlyDolphins

Many tourists and natives chose to go off with dolphin pods. They are celebrated as one of the "gang", and usually choose to wear a Cincinnati Reds hat to display their gang colors. No one knows why dolphins perform flips and such for the local tourists, although it is a verifiable fact that I will be annoyed by the way children react to the sight of dolphins. In any context, fins moving through the water are usually disturbing.


A drug dealer in Maui's famous Rape Park informed me that he had "good bud" in his pocket. A man I believed was an undercover cop observing us was later spotted making out with his wife in front of a museum celebrating the people who murdered the whales of Hawai'i.

I think I see where I lost my goggles in this charming photoWaimea Bay

Waimea Bay features some of the most exciting fauna in all of the Pacific, including fish that have evolved through some adaptation to feature promotional material for the Honolulu Advertiser on their distinctive carapaces. Will nature's wonders never cease?


Many Jews enjoy visiting Hawai'i, especially during the annual dental convention. The best way to tell if a person is a dentist is to pretend to have a toothache. A dentist will rapidly move in the other direction. The best way to tell if a person is a Jew is to ask me.

i had specifically requested the foilABC Stores

The most common retail outlet in Hawai'i is this alphabetical chain. They have prices that are very decent, and their sales staff never forgets to chronicle your departure from the store with a hearty 'Mahalo.' I wish we had these in the States.


Hawai'i is packed with homeless people, although it is sometimes very difficult to tell who is homeless and who is simply poorly attired. The homeless are both savvy veterans of this island nation who understand everything and sleepy alcoholics who are unaware of their surroundings. It is rare to not find both these qualities in a homeless person of Hawai'i.

The Grand Wailea Resort in Maui

Known as the hotspot for singles traveling to Hawai'i, the resort doesn't take kindly to you crashing their waterslide or charging cocktails to a room that doesn't exist. Thanks for nothing.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. In some circles he is considered an expert on the island of Hawai'i. He tumbls here.

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Reader Comments (5)

Top 10 post of 2009

November 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDanish

This is so reassuring to me, I can hardly contain myself

November 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachael

turtle: honu.

Books are unnecessary; literacy is too often channeled only toward the reading of the latest surf forecasts.

November 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Iwas just in Waikiki. It had the magical quality of a what I imagine a temporary voluntary partial lobotomy would feel like; compulsive relaxation and detachment.

November 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjosh

Not to get all up in your grill, but Hawaiians are not half Japanese and half Polynesian. They are an indigenous people of what used to be a sovereign nation (until late 19th C). Interesting note about them not being as sad as Native Americans, considering some notable parallels between treatment of the groups.


November 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSerene

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