Saturday: Went to Shangra-La, the Doris Duke estate. We got out of the hotel like 5 minutes before the tour was supposed to leave, and that was downtown. We missed the video, but barely got to the bus just before it was getting ready to leave. We then rode to the other side of Diamond Head in a secluded harbor, something like the southern part of Hong Kong island, if you’re familiar with that. It looks so unassuming from the outside, but once you are inside, you discover an incredible collection of Islamic art covering the walls, the floors, and even the ceilings, all painstakingly collected and restored. The dining room is like a big tent pavillion in the Middle East. Outside, there is a large salt-water swimming pool, and an enclosed beach and boat jetty. Much of the intricate work was done by Doris Duke herself. If you are here, you must go and see this. Apparently, even the locals try hard to get into this place, which is limited to about 300 visitors a day.
Ward Warehouse: we had a monsterous “plate lunch”, which was the traditional lunch of the plantation workers. The defining things are two scoops (usually an ice cream scooper) of rice, one scoop macaroni salad, and your choice of a meat, which we chose fried mahimahi and stewed chicken (a cross between teriyaki and filipino adobo). We wolfed that down. Most of the other things at the mall are your typical stuff, but the real good stuff is at the Ward Fresh Market, which includes Lin’s Market, headquarters for “cracked seed”, aka Chinese mui, like salted plum, cuttlefish. We picked some marlin fish lemon/salt jerky, which was amazing. Also the Hawaiian salt was half the price of the ABC store.
Outrigger Catamaran: we dashed back to the hotel to get to the Outrigger Reef hotel, the sister hotel of the one we are staying in, for a sunset cruise in the harbor. This wasn’t just a boat, it was a racing sail cat, so it was one, very fast, and two, it was all outdoors, so we got some spray, but that was cool. The open bar was cool, too. We got to see all of the beach, went around Diamond Head, and P- saw the famed “green flash” at the moment of sunset. Super romantic, always an amazing ride, and less than half the cost of the canned tours”.
Hawaiian Music Night: We went to the Convention Center for a slackkey guitar concert by Makena. This wasn’t the watered down tourist stuff, but a one man performance intended for the locals,and the spirit showed. Slack key style basically means playing multiple parts on the same guitar, usually a bass line and a “falsetto” high part. This virtuoso can do this with both hands, meaning he can get four part harmony going at the same time. He also accompanied a slam poet, and brought on his guitar teacher for a few duets. His work is his own attempt to preserve Hawaiian culture; there is that same dicotomy that is featured in asian american studies, where how two distinct cultures can meld and coexist which not having one overwhelm the other.
More local stuff tomorrow. Check out the flikr photo stream on the left side.