To prepare for the leisure in the islands, here’s a leisurely look at what to expect from the culture, the customs, the people, the bars and the language in Hawaii.
Myths and Legends of Visiting Hawaii
In Hawaii, a soothing lifestyle fills the air like the smell of a fresh orchid lei. The fast pace of big-city life is as far away as the U.S. mainland.
It’s casual here, and wearing sandals is as basic as going to the beach. The pace is slower than the sunset and people operate on “Hawaiian time,” which local-speak meaning there is no great hurry to get anywhere.
Hawaii was created out of a series of volcanic explosions and a couple of the volcanos are still active. There are rituals associated with these volcanos and some say ancient evil spirits are at work, as well. The only spirits visitors are likely to experience come in a glass; however, do not take rocks or other natural elements from volcanic sites.
We’re not kidding – there are stories of people suddenly having streaks of back luck after doing such things. Island post offices are jammed with tourist sending back rocks in order to rid themselves of the supposed curses.
On the bright side – the very bright side, in fact – rainbows are plentiful. And you don’t have to be in Hawaii all that long to see one.
Getting ‘Leid’ in Hawaii
People do wear flowered shirts but the flowered leis (pronounced “lays”) are reserved for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, graduations or job promotions. Wear one, and locals will offer you a “congratulations.”
Girls will occasionally have an orchard tucked into an ear. In such cases, it is very important to note which ear which it is placed. If it’s in the left ear, it means the girl is married or involved. If it’s in her right ear, on the other hand, go for it – this means she is unattached.
Think about this for a second. It’s basically a flowered billboard inviting men to talk to her. For guys, this is better than hearing “single!” at a ski resort. For girls, there is no better way to invite a man to introduce himself.
Arrival and Orientation In Hawaii
Don’t expect a beautiful Hawaiian girl to smother you with a lei kisses when you get off the plane. That’s for specific tour groups.
Hawaii’s main airport, Honolulu International, is an open-air terminal. Inner-island flights are our of a different terminal but good signage points travelers to the free shuttle buses. It’s also possible to walk there in 15-20 minutes.
For those staying on Oahu, there are cabs, city buses and minibuses that service all parts of the island. It’s just $8 for a shuttle to Waikiki; a cab is approximately $35. The trip takes between 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic.
Most people stay in jam-packed Waikiki Beach and it’s definitely where most of the action is located. Hotels line the beach and for those who prefer to spend their budget on drinks rather than a room, several less pricey high-rise options are available within a few blocks of the sand. Do note that just about every hotel in Waikiki is called the Outrigger.
Orientation from this point is pretty simple thanks to Hawaii’s signature landmark, Diamond Head.
Getting Around Hawaii
While its possible to have a hotel or condo on a beach and be with walking distance of many activities, there’s just too much to see not to have a car for at least a few days. Hawaii is all about exploring. Some of it’s most treasured spots are unmarked places high along a cliff or along a lonely roadside.
This is the case on all the islands. So rent a vehicle, preferably one with four-wheel drive.
Be sure and drive the posted speed limits. Even if there are no cops around, slow down. Hey, you’re in Hawaii!
The natural scenery of Hawaii is enhanced by the beauty of its people.
They are filled with what they term the “Aloha Spirit,” a heartwarming friendliness that lives deep within their soul. They are sincere about it and it’s contagious to pass the Aloha Spirit along to others.
Hawaiians are largely a laid-back group, well acclimated to living on an island rich with natural wonders. They are well-tanned and healthy – exercise and participation in outdoor sports activities are a large part of their lifestyle. They know the importance of tourism and treat tourists with all the courtesy of a friendly visitor in their home.
There are a few hard-core natives, the “kama’ainas” (child of the land) who refer to all others as a “malihini,” meaning a newcomer or visitor. Because PubClub guides readers to some very local establishments, it’s possible some visitors will experience something not kindred to the Aloha Spirit.. But Hawaii is full of non-natives, people who moved here for a job or a lifestyle and who have never left. Those who work in the bars, shops, restaurants, at the beach or otherwise deal with tourists do so with a smile on their face. The overall atmosphere here is one of extreme friendliness.
Pubs and Clubs Customs – Going Out In Hawaii
The only real tradition about going out in Hawaii – and indeed, this is reflected in anything anyone does in the Islands – is to relax and have a good time. Meeting people is a snap, as long as one smiles.
While the bars are definitely fun, no one is likely to mistake a club in Honolulu for one in New York, London or Greece. It’s just too sedate and kicked back here for that high-octane energy. There are few dress codes – an Aloha shirt and short, a skirt or jeans works just about anywhere – and the focus is on enjoying the moment rather than in seeing and being seen. In Hawaii, it’s not about you and it’s not about us – it’s about everybody.
The casual nature of Hawaiians means there are remarkably few fights, encounters or other stupidly drunk problems.
Drink ’em if you’ve got ’em for pub and bars is 1 a.m, Some clubs have special permits which enable them to stay open until 4 a.m.
Tipping In Hawaii
Tipping is as common in Hawaii as it is in the rest of the U.S. Tip 15-20% to bartenders and waitresses, depending on the level of service. It is also common to tip cab drivers, bellhops and others that provide similar services.
Dress Codes In Hawaii
One word describes Hawaiian fashion: casual. Even businessmen wear flowered shirts and kakhi pants to the office. The shirts, known around the globe as “Hawaiian shirts,” are actually “Aloha shirts.” Some of the nightclubs are draped in black leather, but many of the nightspots are just as one would expect: Aloha shirt, shorts and sandals. Oddly, a couple of the clubs don’t allow shorts.
Time Zones In Hawaii
Hawaii is nine hours behind GMT in the winter and 10 in summer. It does does not recognize Daylight Savings time.
The Best Months To Visit To Hawaii
The islands are most popular – and expensive – during the winter months. In the late spring and summer, the islands are crowded with elderly couples and youthful college students who are being sent here by their parents on a post-school break or for graduation.
Summers are mild, with temperatures usually in the mid-80s, although it can get a bit humid.
• Key Hawaiian Terms & Phrases
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