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.
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: