Long ago my paternal grandmother had matter-of-factly told me that I would not enjoy Hawaii, “Don’t waste money going there, it’s too expensive. They didn’t like me and they won’t like you because you are white.” After she passed decades later, I still wanted to see the fiftieth state in the union (1959). I have an easier way with people, and I had such romantic notions about it from the movies and from James A. Michener’s thick, classical book, Hawaii. I had also read a lot of history about the Hawaiian islands; and about the multitude of other countries around the vast pacific rim. I wanted first-hand perspective.
In 1998, when I was ready to go to Hawaii, it was winter and my travel agent warned me that it would rain all the time. It did, every photograph that I took is soft with tropical atmosphere. But I loved the warm rain, and it was fun to see Hawaii in the rain, very different from commercial images. The moment that I arrived I noticed the fresh ocean scent of Hawaii, and the fragrance of plumeria blossoms around the airport. The travel agent had arranged my air transportation to and between the islands of Hawaii, Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and Lana'i. She prepared a coupon book for me with my paid coupons for each day’s transportation, lodging, and the excursions that I had purchased for each day, two weeks worth! It was nifty, and if I ever have money and health again that is the way I would travel.
Flipping through my photo album now, I remember circumnavigating each island in my little rental car as far as the roads would go, until blocked by the ocean, lava flows, or steep ascents into jungle interior mountains (sleeping volcanoes) which I did not feel capable of tackling. In addition to my scheduled excursions, and as is my habit when traveling, I stopped in at a wide range of establishments for casual conversation. I wanted to meet the people of Hawaii; so I stopped at mom-and-pop stores, art galleries, off-road exhibits, high-priced resort shops, and wayside stands. I even bought traditional pink poi-poi (sour, pasty, taro porridge) at a little fisherman’s market, but I had to pass it off to a local who seemed delighted with it. “Homemade!” he said.
Caption: Souvenirs From Hawaii—photograph by Annmarie Throckmorton 1998.