On a personal note 3: Hawaii edition

Those of you who follow the Cat Twitter Feed (at the bottom of the page) already know my mom just got back from a trip to Hawaii. The trip was a birthday present to her from my grandma. It was just the girls, though; my mom, her sister, and my grandma. I didn’t go. And based on the pictures my mom brought back, boy, I wish I could have gone.








When my mom arrived in Honolulu, she said the city reminded her somewhat of Cuba. Then she stayed the first night in a hotel in Waikiki, which she said reminded her of southern California. Wherever she went, there were people walking around in nothing but their swimwear – some of them really attractive – and nobody seemed to bat an eye. She dined at a Jimmy Buffet-themed restaurant called Cheeseburger in Paradise, and went through a gift shop called Hilo Hattie that she described as “a Hawiian version of Cracker Barrel with clothes and jewelry”.

They went on a tour of the Maui Divers pearl factory, where my mom apparently lost her mind from excitement (she’s a huge pearl fan). Then they went to a luau. She learned that about 80% of the state’s economy runs on tourism now, so they really play up the Polynesian thing.

Polynesia? I don't see it.

That made me wonder how Hawaii is doing in this recession, what with fewer people traveling very far from home and all. This article for the Hawaii Independent said 10% of Hawaiian children had at least one unemployed parent, and this article says that the recession has caused the state’s largest budget crisis since the Great Depression.

Oh, remember how sugar was the main reason Hawaii is a U.S. state? Well, it turns out only one sugar plantation is left, and its sugar is sold exclusively to the military for ethanol production. But there are other cash crops grown on the islands’ shores, like chocolate







and coffee







That Kona Joe’s coffee, by the way, is grown using a patented process that treats the coffee plant like a grape vine. I thought that was kind of cool.

My mom toured all of the islands on the Pride of America cruise ship. Believe me, this ship is huge:


She even got to see the Kilauea volcano

Before the eruption, this used to be a Macy's.

and some local craftsmen at work:

Talking on the cell phone while working? Tsk, tsk.

So, yeah, that’s why I’m envious. Hey, grandma? Next time, can I come? Please?

Thank you, mom, for letting me use your photos! Oh, and readers, I was just kidding with the “this used to be a Macy’s” caption.