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Hawaii Info - Points of Interest

Discover the Real Hawaii (according to Frommers)

Oahu isn't just any other beach destination. It has a wonderfully rich, ancient history and culture, and people who are worth getting to know. If you want to meet the "local" folks who live on Oahu, check out the following:

Watch the Ancient Hawaiian Sport of Canoe Paddling
From February to September, on weekday evenings and weekend days, hundreds of canoe paddlers gather at Ala Wai Canal and practice the Hawaiian sport of canoe paddling. Find a comfortable spot at Ala Wai Park, next to the canal, and watch this ancient sport come to life.

Attend a Hawaiian-Language Church Service
Kawaiahao Church (tel. 808/522-1333) is the Westminster Abbey of Hawaii; the vestibule is lined with portraits of the Hawaiian monarchy, many of whom were coronated in this very building. The coral church is a perfect setting to experience an all-Hawaiian service, held every Sunday at 10:30am, complete with Hawaiian song. Admission is free; let your conscience be your guide as to a donation.

Buy a Lei from Vendors in Chinatown
A host of cultural sights and experiences are to be had in Honolulu's Chinatown. Wander through this several-square-block area with its jumble of exotic shops offering herbs, Chinese groceries, and acupuncture services. Before you leave, be sure to check out the lei sellers on Maunakea Street (near N. Hotel St.), where Hawaii's finest leis go for as little as $2.50.

Observe the Fish Auction
There is nothing else quite like the Honolulu Fish Auction at the United Fishing Agency, 117 Ahui St. (below John Dominis Restaurant), Honolulu, HI 96814 (tel. 808/536-2148). The fishermen bring their fresh catch in at 5:30am (sharp), Monday through Saturday, and the small group of buyers wanders from big fat tunas to weird-looking hapupu, bidding on the price of each fish. Don't be surprised if you don't recognize much of the language the bidders are using; it is an internal dialect developed over decades, which only the buyers and the auctioneer understand. The auction lasts until all the fish are sold. It is well worth getting up early to enjoy this unique cultural experience.

Get a Bargain at the Aloha Flea Market
For 50¢ admission, it's an all-day show at the Aloha Stadium parking lot, where more than 1,000 vendors are selling everything from junk to jewels. Go early for the best deals. Open Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 6am to 3pm.

Visit Chinatown
If you've never really experienced an authentic Chinatown, here might be the place to do it. Honolulu's Chinatown appeals to the senses: The pungent aroma of Vietnamese pho mingles with the sweet scent of burning incense; a jumble of streets come alive every day with busy residents and meandering visitors; vendors and shoppers speak noisily in the open market; retired men talk story over games of mah-jongg; and the constant buzz of traffic all contribute to the cacophony of sounds. No trip to Honolulu is complete without a visit to this exotic, historic district.

Here's a walking tour of Chinatown:

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