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Sky Watch Friday

Sailing Sunny Seas

Waikiki, Hawaii

The golden sands I stood upon to snap this gorgeous photo were imported from the “poor” side of the island — and so was I.

My favorite part of my weekend in Waikiki should have been the women’s conference, but actually it was lunch with my friend. We picked an upscale restaurant with tables on the lanai and a salad to die for. We ordered. We chatted. We sipped our beverages. We asked the waiter questions. (1. Was the canoe being used as a buffet table ever an actual working boat? Yes, and it was hand carved. 2.) We just saw — and heard — you blowing that conch shell. Is it hard to learn? No. Are there any tricks to blowing it you could teach us? Not really. Keep your lips taut. Don’t blow too hard. Blow in one long breath.) We asked him a couple more things — then we asked him for the check. As he waited for me to sign the charge slip he said, “You two are locals aren’t you?”

Maura and I were very surprised. We aren’t locals. She’s been here for just over a year. I have been here about six months. Just long enough for us both to clearly understand that we have years to go before we’re considered “local”. I answered cautiously, “We live on the island.”

Our waiter nodded his head and smiled. “I thought so. I can always tell. You weren’t all wide-eyed and gah gah. And neither of you said “aloha” or “mahalo” (words not said outside the tourist joints unless they are meant). And your questions didn’t start with, how do I get to, or is it true that.”

So, in the tourist district we are considered, locals, but in the neighborhoods, we’re still haole (pronounced how-lee).

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. oh my word what a beautiful shot. What a wonderful place to live it. You are so blessed!

  2. And neither of you said “aloha” or “mahalo” (words not said outside the tourist joints unless they are meant).

    Love this bit. — It’s so true! Wished you have a picture of that canoe buffet, so I could go all wide-eyed. 🙂

  3. It truly sounds like Paradise. Great sky shot (so – the sky is NOT always blue in Paradise?)

    It must be a good feeling to at least start to feel like you belong a bit. ;0)

  4. Ohhh thanks for the tips! I’m gonna TRICK ’em into thinkin’ I’m NOT a tourist when I come a callin’! LOL!

    THIS photo does not “look like” Hawaii to me! SURELY you do NOT have gray days like that – EVER!

  5. Kelly Ann — yes, and I remind myself of that everyday.

    SC — unfortunately, it wasn’t set up for lunch. The picture would have been highly unattractive because they were just prepping the dining room for dinner and the buffet was buried under stacks of table clothes and napkins. Lunch is served in the bar or on the lanai. We walked through the dining room only because our charming waiter granted us permission.

    CrazyCath — Maura and I have decided that whenever we feel too much like outcasts, we’ll just buzz in to Waikiki and spend the day. 🙂

    Melli — our skies have been that color and dripping rain for over a week. No outdoor recess. You want to sub for me?

  6. there’s more sky in this pic than i’ve seen in four or five days combined.
    beautiful light in the photo, though

  7. The photo is very nice, indeed. But I am so grateful for the gentle, serene, and comfortable spirit of your visit with your friend. That was just what my ow spirit was yearning for. And you shared your moment. Thank you!


  8. Fantastic sky. My friend Corlynn grew up in Hawaii (military, not native) and has told me horror stories of being “howlie”. I’m glad you’re telling about the other side, because there are always two sides to every story.

  9. Doug — partly cloudy, indded. And mostly cloudy the rest of the week.

    Nessa, actually I was standing on a seawall and just a few feet above the water.

    Polona — the sunrays are what prompted me to take the photo. The boat was just a bonus.

    John-Michael — I a glad you enjoyed my moment. I hope you get your own soon.

    Bill — thank you. As I told Polona, that photo sort of presented itself as a gift.

    Dr. John — better half-local than half loco!

    Kat — I have heard that it is hardest on the kids because the local kids are so hard on them.

  10. i was a half-local for five years. . . we lived on king street, around the corner from the honolulu police hq.

    i sooooo miss it. not the police hq. that i could do without. but practically everything else bar the roaches and ants…i miss. glad you stopped by, giving me the opp to have a little reminisce.

  11. Sigh. Beautiful. I’ve taken a few catamaran rides off Waikiki Beach and it just never gets old. And thanks for the tips on appearing “local”. Despite our numerous visits to Hawaii, we never really fit in. I think the opacity of our pale Canadian skin gives us away every time!

  12. Holly — you lived in the center of it all! We live in Makaha and very much love it here. The pace is much more mellow and friendly than Honolulu.

    Carolyn — yeah, skin tone probably is a good indicator. Pale white or bright red equals tourist!

  13. I looooooove Hawai’i. I have been there twice and did not want to leave either time. I don’t remember ever saying Aloha or Mahaolo to anyone (because I didn’t want to seem like a tourist). The second time I was there, I stayed with a friend who lived there. She had a card she could show at the places we went shopping, to get the “locals” discount. I found that very interesting. Do they still do that?

    I’ve heard it’s hard to find work on the island because they prefer to keep it locals only. Is that true? My husband and I have talked about buying a sailboat in our retirement and living at different ports around the world. Hawai’i would be my first stop.

    Peace – D

  14. Okay, you need to write an informative article for a travel magazine entitled “how not to act like a tourist when you are visiting outside your turf”…it’s sure to be a hit!
    Oh, and David sent me.

  15. DP — the “card” you’;re referring to is a local driver’s license. Yes, many places still do that. It isn’t just a Hawaii thing, though. It happens in most tourist areas. I lived in Vegas for years and often received a local’s discount on shows and attractions.

    As for the hiring local, you may have misunderstood. Too many people off island have applied for and accepted jobs and never shown up, so there is a great eluctance to hire anyboy who isn’t already here. Also, people come, then in a few months they hightail it back home because they can’t stand the isolation. If you are here, you make it clear you plan to stay, and you have the right work experience, you have just as much chance of getting hired for the job as anyone else on the island.

    Sandi — find me a publisher willing to pay and I’ll writie it!

    Maggie — one can hope! But I still have all this lily white skin ….

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