Why would you want to go there?


I’ve never spent much time in Honolulu, generally I’m off a plane and on another one to other points west, typically Guam. But we had a few days to kill so here we are in Waikiki. Sadly, though not surprisingly, over the past decade or so, it has turned into every other mall in America. Every single chain is represented here. I have no idea why Americans travel places to shop, when they have these same places at home (someone please explain this to me). The Cheesecake Factory in Waikiki, we all know by now, has the same menu as it does in Boca Raton.

It’s sad that one has to make a concerted effort to find an authentic experience while traveling–the taupe malls dotting the landscape with Old Navys and Banana Republics and Buca de Pepos are the new tracks of Magellan. But John thought Chinatown and downtown Honolulu might be a win.

The taxi hailer at the hotel looked at us oddly at our destination request and added, “Make sure you aren’t there after dark!” and we were on our way. First of all, Chinatown, which abuts downtown, is full of old buildings worthy of a visit. Then we found an open air market and, upon entering, it was like being in Asia again. I walked by the piles of fresh fish and rambutan(!) bunches of bok choy, lychees and of course unidentifiable dried items. We found a food court in it with most Asian cuisines represented. John got a Korean “Ome-rice” and I almost got Nasi-goreng but then settled for some Pho but then almost bought something from every stall(I felt like I was in Singapore, and I respect that in a food court.).

Red Lobster, Outback Steak House, and the ten thousand other corporate food chains especially Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory can go fall in the ocean now for all I care.

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