Impressions of the Aloha State

Hawaii is one of the last states on my list of states that I have not visited. A visit I count as having spent more than a few hours in outside of an airport. Hawaii is definitely one of the more unique states. Most states have other states that are pretty similar culturally, economically, or geographically. I think it’s safe to say that Hawaii has no other state it shares a lot with.

That’s not to say Hawaii is not American. I’ve heard others try to tell me that Hawaii doesn’t feel like part of the United States; that it is somehow foreign. After being here a few days, I don’t share that impression. Hawaii feels like very much a part of the United States to me. They may be unique among states, and culturally very eclectic, but I think it’s uniquely American.

There’s evidence of an extensive military presence, both past and present here. That probably helps a bit in understanding what country you’re in, but I think what’s really American about Hawaii is it’s one of the most genuinely multicultural places I’ve ever visited. I don’t mean the politically correct view of that, so much as this is a place where there is a true melting pot. Everyone seems to be intermarrying and interbreeding with everyone else, such that I’m not sure you could even successfully classify the race of most people here. In Hawaiian culture, that just doesn’t seem to matter, which is the way things should be.

That’s reflected in the cuisine, which is quite worldly. You do have frequent use of tropical ingredients, which would be expected, and the Asian food here is excellent, even at the cheap places, but still quite a lot of fusion. We’ve been trying to eat at places frequented more by locals than by tourists, except for dinner last night, which we had at what was the Sydney Airport Bar in “Lost”. Down on Waikiki, and actually a pretty great bar.

Speaking of locals though, Hawaii is legitimately very cheesy. You’d tend to think Hawaiian shirts, Hula, “Aloha!” and “Mahalo!” stuff was put on for tourists, but they really seem to talk and dress like that. Residents seem to live the Hawaiian stereotypes, or at least some of them Hawaii is also one of the friendliest states I’ve visited. Everyone is nice. Service is great. Even away from the tourist haunts. Hawaiians seem to be genuinely happy people who want to help make other people happy. Philadelphia is an angry, gritty area. This is a happy place. Everyone is laid back. Spend a little time here, and you’ll see why.

Still have more of Oahu to see, then over to the Big Island, where hopefully I can find some lava to poke with a stick. It’s a highly scientific way of dealing with newly encountered phenomena. If I get to poke some lava, I’ll definitely be taking some Aloha back with me.

13 Responses to “Impressions of the Aloha State”

  1. Granny says:

    Glad you two are having a good time.

  2. Ian Argent says:

    Hawaii is on my list of places to go – particularly as I try to visit more US states than I have foreign countries

  3. Meg Guegan says:

    So glad you guys are having fun! When you get to the Big Island, give my Dad a call if you’d like to tour a genuine Kona coffee farm ( I’m sure he’d love to show you his new CMP M1 too :)

  4. Zermoid says:

    Hey, it’s a Gun Rights blog, how many people carry in Hawaii?
    Can a visitor carry? How’s ammo and gun prices there?
    Answer the important questions bud!


  5. Carl from Chicago says:

    “…hopefully I can find some lava to poke with a stick. It’s a highly scientific way of dealing with newly encountered phenomena.”

    That’s the child-like sense of wonder which you still possess (and which all of us should possess) … which I think is fantastic!

  6. ExurbanKevin says:

    “Speaking of locals though, Hawaii is legitimately very cheesy. You’d tend to think Hawaiian shirts, Hula, “Aloha!” and “Mahalo!” stuff was put on for tourists, but they really seem to talk and dress like that. Residents seem to live the Hawaiian stereotypes, ”

    I’ll see your grass skirts and raise you a Ted deGrazia kitchen magnet and a statue of a howling wolf wearing a bandana. The first thing people from Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois do when they move to Arizona is try to decorate to match the scenery, which results in some truly horrid affronts to the interior decorating gods.

  7. Rustmeister says:

    Tried the Spam pizza yet? =)

  8. Kelly says:

    Ah, Stick science for the lava. Always a great tool!

  9. Matthew Carberry says:

    Beautiful place and I love going. Hawaii is a second home for many Alaskans.

    Not a gun-friendly state, seems to exist only to make California look welcoming.

    Tourists are usually ok in most places but there’s a strong racial “locals only” vibe when you get off the beaten path.

    The view and the nice warm ocean made it my favorite place to do water jumps though.

  10. Drang says:

    Hawaii is discretionary issue, and I have been told that the discretion is used less than anywhere else in the country.

    Big Island is a whole ‘nother state. You could drop all the other islands in, and have Big Island left over. See my posts for recommendations of things to do, and {ahem} who to pay to help you do them. (Tag is Big Island, go figure.)

    Greenwell Farms is our preference for Kona coffee, but no one told us about any shooters who do coffee, so… (Also, big game hunting on Parker Ranch!)

    You’ll note few native Hawaiians in the tourist trade. Most are haoles, many from the mainland, who often go back after 5 years or so.

    If you’re going to a luau in Kailua Kona, we recommend the Royal Kona, which has a rather slick show, but not as slick as the Royal Hawaiian. (Although the mai tais at the later were better…)

  11. Zermoid says:

    Sounds alot like New Jersey, gun issue wise.
    I left New Jersey in 1990 never to return until they respect my Right to carry, nuff said.

    So if you aren’t rich or in the police or military your chances of being able to carry are slim and none? Right?

    Any rumblings of a lawsuit to overturn their gun restrictions in the wake of Heller?

    I’ve never been to Hawaii but am also hooked on Kona coffee, dunno how close what I’m drinking is to the “real” stuff but I like it just the same. Strong and has a slightly ‘burned toast’ taste, is that what it’s supposed to taste like?

    BTW, anyone else like burned toast? Not just dark, but blackened, with lots of butter. I just get a craving for it that way every so often, no clue why…..

  12. Meg Guegan says:

    Zermoid: On the Kona coffee… “real” Kona will say “100% Kona Coffee” on the label. Any other variation would be a blend or an imposter. :) For the scoop check out Most purists go with a medium as opposed to dark roast and don’t brew it overly strong, but it’s whatever suites your tastes. I’m glad you like it!

    You might also be amused to know that my Dad regularly takes out wild pigs rooting around in the coffee plants in Kona with his M1 carbine :)

    daughter of a 3rd generation Kona coffee farmer &
    NRA Director of Communications

  13. Zermoid says:

    Guess he is never short on pork! We have some feral pigs in PA but not around here, yet, unfortunately. ;-)

    I used to have a Universal M1 carbine, long story but had to part with it several years ago and haven’t been able to replace it yet, got lots of ammo and mags and nothing to use them in!

    I think what i get is labeled Kona Blend, don’t still have the bag around, comes pre-ground from Aldi. Gonna have to order some now…….