Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nuuanu Stream, Local Phrases & Words

Five Minutes from Home

These photos were taken within 5 minutes from my apartment.  We stopped at the Nuuanu – Pali stream that flows through a neglected botanical garden.  Like all governments everywhere in the US these days, the facilities in the garden are closed, boarded off bathrooms, no parking etc. to save money the state does not have.  But, the trash cans are still emptied! 

Upstream - Nuuanu-Pali Stream and small falls

The setting is often used by wedding photographers as a backdrop for the portraits of the bridal couple and the wedding party.

Downstream - the stream passes under Interstate H-1

There is a nice pool at the base of the falls, but the stream is too polluted for the local children and teens to swim or wade in.   

The recent Winter storm rains have carried a lot of discarded junk and plastics down stream.
Junk in the stream carried down during winter storms

The Local Accent – Hawaiian Words and Phrases

The language used by the people living in Hawaii is very unique.  The intonation and rhythm of phrases is based on “Pidgin.”  This leads to a beautiful sounding version of American English.

Here is a typical local phrase.  “Dat mo betta fo’ you! Yeah?”  Translation – That’s better for you!  Note how they end the phrase with a request for agreement, “yeah?”  This form is very common.

Today’s word is “pau” – pronounced pow!  Pau means all gone, empty, used up, nothing, none.  It has crept into English out here like the words “kaput” or “nada” have infiltrated Mainland English. 

A recent headline in the Star-Advertiser – the state’s main newspaper read.  “State Budget Is Pau.” 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Notes from the War Zone - Holiday Fireworks !

Well, it sounds that way anyway!  The culture out here is to do fireworks, lots of fireworks around the holidays culminating in New Year's Eve until 1 AM (legally and all night long illegally.)  The noise tapered off about 2:30 AM.

Now, these are not your average run of the mill safe and sane fireworks, firecrackers, cherry bombs or M80's. These are the big guns!  The professional kind that you usually see at the stadium fireworks shows - or at Disneyland every night. When the lifting charge goes off you hear and feel a tremendous WHUMP - followed by a window shaking BANG and concussion wave when the main aerial charge goes off! 

Talk about "Bombs Bursting in Air " 

Here in Hawaii, the average citizen can buy these regular fireworks at their local Long's or Walgreen drugstores. Walmart, K-mart and Target do not miss this opportunity to make those extra bucks. There are a number of warehouse type of stores down on the waterfront that sell the big, professional fireworks to the general public.

Firecracker/fireworks permits cost $25.00 to legally shoot off fireworks.  So far this month almost 11,000 permits have been purchased on the island. Close to 400,000 pounds of fireworks were sold for the holiday period here.

Theoretically, it is legal to shoot them off from 9PM tonite until 1 AM on January 1.  But the barrage started slowly just before Christmas and reached a crescendo from 11:30 tonite until just few minutes after midnight. There were dense clouds of sulfurous smoke hanging all over the city from the all the fireworks.

Starting January 1st, 2011 fireworks, except firecrackers will be illegal due to a new ordinance just passed.  There is no way that this ordinance will be honored.  The culture of the people is too firmly rooted in the belief that you need to scare away the evil spirits with loud explosions at various times of the year or for various events.  Also, everyone tries to outdo their neighbor's fireworks efforts.

My friends here report that some of their family members spend up to $3,000 each for fireworks to celebrate the Christmas / New Year Holiday Season!

We had our breakfast this morning at the Original House of Pancakes.  A friend of Jen Medeiros saw Jen there and told her he had fallen asleep early New Years Eve and did not get a chance to set off his fireworks.  Now he has a cache of now illegal fireworks to deal with!

Today's (January 2nd) newspaper reports that 36 fires around the island were started by fireworks on New Year's Eve.