Mele Kalikimaka


Originally Posted December 15, 2004

If you walk far enough down Kalakaua Avenue you will find women of questionable virtue. Past the men with trained parrots, past the statue of Duke the Ambassador of Aloha, and past the torch lit hula dancers who perform nightly at the steps of the Marriott. At first I thought these women were questioning the traffic signal, but it turns out it wasn’t that complicated for a one way street. I came to Waikiki because I needed an additional 4,000 miles for the Northwest frequent flyer program to stay gold for 2005. When I looked in to that last trip of the year, only needing to go to San Francisco and back over a weekend, I noticed that the flight to Honolulu was about three hundred less. My vacation days were also beginning to pile up to a point where I wouldn’t be able to take a full week off during my busy season start in February. After asking everyone I know, but one, to join me for a free trip to Waikiki and getting turned down ever single time, I have begun to be very creative in the lies I tell myself of why they couldn’t make it.

For those of you who have never been to Hawaii, it is the most amazing place. Larger then Connecticut, Delaware, and Rode Island, the span of the 138 islands that make up this state is roughly the same distance between New York City and Denver (or Seattle to Missouri.) Guess who took the bus tour around the island with 21 Japanese and two Australians? There is also a chain of stores called “ABC Stores.” Hands down the best chain of stores for my money, they are like a Cost Co or Sam’s Club, but in a drug store. There are 68 in Hawaii, 36 of them in Waikiki, and three in my hotel alone. You can buy T-Shirts, flip flops, boogie boards, post cards, sun screen, swim gear, and even hot wasabi (like you would a hot dog at 7-11.) The only other ABC Store is in Las Vegas at the Hughes owned Fashion Mall… but I stray.

Six weeks ago I was in New York for the marathon, and I was fortunate enough to be here for the Honolulu marathon. I am the tallest person in the streets filled with Japanese men and woman limping along from injuries wearing red shirts that say “I Finished.” Of my added excuses for this trip, the one I have included is that “Japanese chicks dig the sumo culture.” For the most part I am just a friendly American face that they can trust their camera with to take photos of them. If not a friendly face, at least someone they can easily run down if I were to steal the camera. This morning I even had breakfast next to a couple whose conversation I listened in on. From what I could tell the tall thin runner from the mid-west met this Japanese woman around mile three last Sunday. The two were on pace with each other for the most part and started to become good friends by mile eighteen. After the race, and the following three days, they have been inseparable. While I have not seen them since, I am pulling for them to go beyond the Honolulu hook-up and tie the knot.

I am left here, however, walking the streets with some of the best coffee in the world. My days on the beach are ending with an over night flight home in first class to see the 4 – 6 inches of snow that has landed. But I do have the footage of the 40 – 50 foot cresting waves from yesterday morning bringing out top surfers for a rare event to play for you the next time we meet.

From the looks of it, I may make this an annual event. Clear your calendars now ladies.