Tourists at Iao Needle

Tourists are interesting to observe. A great deal of time is spent posing and negotiating pictures—I half observed one struggle—a family with several kids posed for the grandpa’s camera- the 8 year old boy’s shirt was rumpled. The grandmother said, bafflinglingly, “the orange stripe is crooked! Do you want everyone to see you like that Andrew? Do you want me to tell everyone?” So then he had his arm over his face for the rest of the poses, with mother saying his name like a sneeze over and over, grandfather growling, grandmother whining and threatening.
Poor kid, what’s the point of taking pictures? To preserve the joys of childhood?
Tourists, on the whole, seem pretty friendly. Three year old boys must throw rocks over cliffs, their mothers must scold them. They are cheerful and trusting with each other—swapping cameras, flirting with each other’s children.
They are gruff and overly buoyant with the locals—crazy young shirtless brown guys jumping off of the bridge into a rocky river 30 feet below—who are in turn glassy-eyed with the tourists, and step on the gas pedal when you step into the intersection.
I feel the need to declare my status. Can I get a t-shirt or bumper sticker printed that announces: married to semi-local, lives in Hawaii, somewhat informed about Hawaiian culture, history, and customs! So I’m not local, but I’m not a total haole, right? And to similarily peg tourists, like the ones I hear guffawing as they sounded out their map: Wai-lu-ku?? Wai-ka-pu? Whatever! Incredulously—with “total haole” signs. Every time I heard someone attempt the name Iao it was a different improbable interpretation: Eeyaye (like old Macdonald), Ayo, yoyo…


  1. I need a shirt that says, "I am, however, a total haole, but trying to be respectful and somehow not understanding when I fail miserably." Sadly, the not understanding makes me even more haole. But at least I don't live in a gated community.

    cheers love


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Malihini 101

Fresh Grief: How to Help When People are Grieving

Travel Thinky Thoughts