Hawaii Dispatch 2

July 22, 2006

I'm not gonna lie. I'm tired. I've been working long days, and then spending as much awake time as I can trying to enjoy Waikiki. In other words, I've pretty much kept up the routine that I described in the last post, but I am indeed ready to go home.

There are a few moderately amusing things from the office this week.

  • One day, there was a power outage. The power only went off for a few seconds, but it was long enough to turn off people's computers. When it came back on, there were a few people who just sat there staring at their monitors, which were showing that "check input signal" moving box that they do to show you that there's no video signal coming through. Loretta -- the technical expert on the floor -- had to leave the room and instruct some of them to power their workstations back on. No shit.
  • There's one particular guy who really, really, really wanted to make sure that we went shopping for gifts back home. At the end of every day, he would recommend that we do some shopping that night. Every morning, he would ask, "Did you get a chance to do any shopping?" It was funny in its predictability. I asked if his wife owned a souvenir shop in Waikiki, but that wasn't it. I'm traveling with another guy, who is in his 20s. There's about as much chance that we cruise through the mall together as there is that the water I've been swimming in every evening is teaming with jellyfish. (Come to find out, the water I've been swimming in every evening is indeed teaming with jellyfish. I just caught the report on CNN after I came up from my swim today. The location that they shot was immediately in front of my hotel. Pretty much exactly where I've been swimming.)
    I took this photo of a kind of cool looking cloud formation from my room.
    The story I got was that it was an attempt to make sure that I went home with generosity. Everyone we dealt with at the bank was exceptionally nice. I've not experienced better hospitality anywhere. They put the hotel and restaurant staff to shame. And they wanted to make sure that we spread the goodwill back home. And I do believe this explanation.
  • Perhaps the funniest thing about this week was the fiasco that was the parking garage at the facility where I worked. They built a very large building with a parking garage underneath. But whoever did the design for the facility failed to estimate the number of desks that would be in the building, or failed to equate the number of desks with the number of parking spots needed. The result is that they have to have a staff down in the garage to move cars all around during the day. You park down there in a long line in the morning, and leave your keys for them. They shuffle cars around throughout the day. When you're ready to leave at the end of the day, there's a peg board in the lobby with all of the remaining keys hanging from hooks. A valet tag on your keys lets you know which spot your car occupies. Just consider the expense of this valet staff. Also figure in the costs to their health, with the constant breathing of carbon monoxide. It's a doozy of a garage. Even the people with reserved spots don't have it that good. On one side of the garage, they have to double up. So the first person to get there pulls way into a spot, and then the next person just parks right behind them. I guess if you're on the inside and have to leave, you have to track down your parking spot partner. This garage is really something to behold.
  • One of the credit bureau products is known as a "FICO score." We usually pronounce it as "FIE-co." I heard one person this week call it the "FEE-co" score. I had to get her to repeat it three times, and I still wasn't sure what she was saying. It sounds like the result of a test that your veterinarian would run on your cat. As in, "Your cat's feeco is a little low. I think we might want to get him started on an antibiotic."

I have been eating like a pig. Honolulu has the biggest selection of Asian and Pacific foods that I have ever imagined. I have eaten Thai, Teppan, Sushi, Dim Sum (they actually have duck feet, which I didn't get the chance to witness), Hawaiian, as well as a couple of fish dishes and a burger one night that really hit the spot.

Hawaiian Food

Hawaiian food kicks serious hula-skirted booty. Laulau was one of my favorites. Think of a stuffed grape leaf, but the size of a regular sandwich. I also really liked Luau Squid, which looked like a bright green paste. It had the coconut-milk taste of a curry dish, but wasn't spicy. The squid was as tender as a piece of fish. All of the Hawaiian food was fantastic.

Besides food the words, I learned a little Hawaiian this week.

PUKA = holes in information. "I've read over your request, but there's a lot of puka to resolve before I'm able to prepare an estimate."

PAU = done. "This trip is one day from being pau." I like this one, mainly because it sounds like "POW!"

But there were few anecdotes about being out and about that are worth sharing. In fact, there is only this one.

I was walking the beach one night, heading back toward my hotel. I had stopped in front of a little bar, trying to decide if I should stick to my abstinence of alcohol (so far, so good on that, but I'm feeling adequately detoxed, and might end my self-imposed ban later tonight), or if I should keep walking. Not being willing to forgo vice altogether, I had purchased a decent cigar, and was kind of looking forward to smoking that on my balcony. But still, the bar looked fun, and I was tempted.

I got to talking to a hippie who was at the edge of the bar and the sand. He explained that it was illegal for him to smoke his cigarettes in the bar and illegal for him to drink his cocktail on the beach. He had found that he could stand at the edge and enjoy both of his poisons without being accosted by anyone.

He was a nice guy, and we bullshit for a little while. Mostly, it was him telling me information, as he had lived on the island for a number of years.

When he explained to me about the no-drinking/no-smoking conundrum, I expressed my sympathy. I happened to mention, "I was just walking back to my hotel to have a smoke on the balcony."

He quickly offered a cigarette, which I immediately declined. He said, "Ooohhh, you mean to smoke the real stuff."

As his implication began to be clear to me, he went on to explain that the marijuana that you get in Hawaii is of very top-notch quality. He told me about how much he used to smoke pot when he lived here, and how he just can't find such good stuff back on the mainland. He said that the locals pretty much stick with pot, as alcohol dehydrates a body and makes it difficult and dangerous to ride surfboards all day.

I have to admit that I found his lecture kind of interesting, and never once did I correct his notion that I was headed back to my room to smoke a bit fatty.