Leaving

Leaving

I’ll start with leaving, because in the moment, any moment, there is only perception and response. Reflection happens after, at the end. So I only know what Hawai’i means to me now that I am home. But I want you to know at the outset, to better frame your experience of mine.

We began our visit to Hawaiʻi on the Big Island – and we left from Hilo’s airport too – but our last week was spent on Kaua’i.

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Blue Hawai’i

Blue Hawai’i

No doubt the first thing you notice in the video is how blue everything is, with only flashes of yellow and white. Where are the brilliant colors of captive tropical fish? Some distortion can be blamed on phone camera optics, but as the Atlantis crew explain,

“Sea water filters each color contained in sunlight (white light) progressively, with depth. Red is the first frequency lost as the submarine submerges, and red things start to gain purple tones thirty feet down.” See below the color of the shirt I wore,

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The Big Island

The Big Island

Of course we did explore Hawai’i in a visitor’s way, too, getting to know all of its landscapes, along with many other attractions. But before you even ask, we did not dance the hula, or watch anyone else do so; we did not attend a luau or a ukulele concert. We didn’t zip line, paraglide or surf. We felt our way through, letting Hawai’is ways soak in, letting the islands reveal themselves, just as much as we recreated and claimed and conquered.

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humuhumunukunuku’āpua’a

humuhumunukunuku’āpua’a

There are three languages spoken on the islands: English, Hawai’ian and Pidgin. One is an imposition, another a reclamation, and the third is an invention.

Here is the text of the recorded greeting and farewell that plays every half-hour at the airports on the Big Island, Maui, and O’aku, spoken by residents of the respective islands.

E nā makamaka kipa mai i ke Kahua Mokulele O Molokai, o ka heke o ke aloha iā ‘oukou! 

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Talk Story

Talk Story

Hawai’ian Pidgin is just as much fun, and even more widely spoken, although we overheard it more than it was spoken to us. While called “Pidgin”, linguistically it is considered a creole language. Pidgin is an anglicized approximation of the Chinese word for business, and it commonly refers to spoken communication that develops among people who do not know each other’s language, but need to work together or want to trade goods. True pidgin has no grammar or structure provided by the many forms of speech present in formal language,

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Nēnē

Nēnē

The payment system at the Wildlife Rescue Center was slow to process our transaction (very much so), so I took the opportunity to talk more with Marie, the staff member who welcomed visitors. She already had given us a good understanding of the work done by the hospital and rehabilitation volunteers, and introduced us, by live-action cameras, to all the patients agreeable enough to be in view. She answered our many questions, too. The nice rapport let our conversation meander into the personal.

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