Posts Tagged ‘Hawaii’


You Must Remember This

Originally Published July 17, 2020 by Linda Lou Burton posting about American Samoa from Little Rock, Arkansas – On June 23, 2012, I was at the Polynesian Cultural Center on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, with my granddaughter, who was 10. Here’s how it went:

They found a place for Kayla and me on the back row of the jam-packed Fiji hut, and there we sat, bamboo sticks in hand, learning to chant and sing Fiji style. And, learning how to remember. The presentation at the Fiji settlement in the Polynesian Cultural Center was titled “History through Chants & Dance” and we’d just been taught how, as a group, to beat out rhythms, “one-two one-two-three” then “one-two-three-four” fast and slow, stop; then a call to us, “moo-oo” then our response “mai-ii” and repeat; somehow the roomful of us managed to do this together; and somehow, the feel of it began to stick in our memories.

Our narrator explained the value of learning by chanting: “we had no written language until recent times, so stories and our history were passed down orally. Family is very important in our culture, and children are taught from the beginning about their ancestors,” he continued. “My 10-year old son can recite our family genealogy for 17 generations.”

Kayla and I exchanged glances, startled. Seventeen generations?

The Polynesian Cultural Center – rated the top tourist attraction in Hawaii, is a non-profit organization operated by the LDS church. It is a family place with pleasant walkways and waterways meandering through 42 acres of Polynesian “settlements” representing Samoa, New Zealand (Aotearoa-Maori), Fiji, Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, and Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Its purpose is simply to preserve the culture of Polynesia. It’s all about remembering.

As I planned my 2020 RTW stops in Hawaii, American Samoa, and New Zealand, I thought back to that day, and how little I really know of Polynesian culture. I’d planned to remedy that somewhat today as I explored the National Park of American Samoa, which of course is closed due to COVID-19, but I’ll share some facts from their website,

The Samoan culture is Polynesia’s oldest. We believe the first people of the Samoan Islands came by sea from southwest Asia some 3,000 years ago. Over the centuries, distinct cultural traits emerged that we now call fa’asamoa (fah-ah-SAH-mo-ah). From Samoa seafaring explorers and settlers journeyed to other Polynesian island groups hundreds of miles away.

Follow the Fa’a Samoa —The Samoan Way

Alofa and Afio Mai! — Hello and Welcome — with some tips for pleasant visits to the villages of the islands.

  • Always ask villagers for permission before taking photographs, using the beach, or engaging in other activities, however unobtrusive your actions may seem. Permission will almost certainly be granted.
  • Sunday is the day for church, rest, and especially for quiet around the villages. Activities that are acceptable on other days, such as swimming, may not be permitted on Sunday.
  • In a traditional home, called a fale (fah-LAY), sit down on the floor before talking, eating, or drinking. Cross your legs or pull a mat over them; it is impolite to stretch out your legs uncovered.
  • Do not eat or drink while walking through a village.
  • Each evening around dusk, villagers observe a time for prayers called Sā. If you are entering a village during Sā, stop and wait quietly until Sā ends. You may even be invited to join in a family prayer. It is not necessary to stop for Sā on the main roads.
  • It is considered an honor to be asked to share ‘ava (a local drink made from the root of the pepper plant). To show respect, spill a few drops on the ground or mat in front of you, then raise your cup and say manuia (mahn-WE-ah) before drinking.

The ONLY US National Park south of the equator, the National Park of American Samoa’s 13,500 acres are distributed across three islands: Tutuila, Ofu, and Ta‘ū. Its purpose is to preserve and protect coral reefs, tropical rainforests, fruit bats, and most importantly, Samoan culture. Part of the US National Park System since October 31, 1988, it is unusual in that the NPS does not own the Park lands, but entered into a 50-year lease with Samoan village councils.

Twenty-nine states have national parks, as do the territories of the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. There are currently 62 parks in system, with this mission: “to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values…for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.”

It’s all about remembering.


Pass It Forward

Want Me To Jump?


Que Sera Sera

Originally Published July 14, 2020 by Linda Lou Burton posting about Maui from Little Rock, Arkansas – Sunrise in Maui’s Haleakalā National Park occurred at 5:53 Hawaiian Standard Time this morning. My day was perfectly planned – 2 AM: wake up, dress, go to the lobby of Maui Seaside Hotel to wait for the tour bus. 2:40: hop on and ride to Skyline Tours headquarters for fresh Hawaiian coffee and a continental breakfast. Then ride the winding road (very winding at the last) to the summit of Mt Haleakalā, 52 miles from my hotel, over 9,000 feet above sea level. And it would still be dark.

“View the Sunrise from the Top of the World” is the tour promotional. What better place to see the sunrise over Maui than from Haleakalā, Maui’s highest peak and a top visitor attraction. In a Skyline eco-adventure in the middle of wao akua, or “realm of the gods,” be there when Haleakalā National Park awakens with the rising sun near the summit of Haleakalā. Edge-of-the-world view in all directions while the early sunlight casts hues of natural light onto Haleakalā’s crater floor.

It’s been 31 years since I got my first hankering to “see the sunrise” there. I was in Maui with my parents (who were younger then than I am now). They simply had no interest; Mom had signed us up for an evening luau, so that was enough, they said. This year, I’d finally knock it off my bucket list. I booked on February 21, $176 paid in full. Ready and set. Haleakalā would be my 34th National Park out of the 62.

The Park, created in 1916, was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980. The name Haleakalā is Hawaiian for “house of the sun.” The legend: the demigod Maui imprisoned the sun here in order to lengthen the day. The crater is an erosional valley 6.99 miles across, 2.0 miles wide, and 2,600 feet deep. The interior of the crater is dotted by numerous volcanic features, including large cinder cones.

Haleakalā is one of the best places in the United States for amateur astronomy, due to its long scenic drive with numerous overlooks, and the unusually clear views of the night sky. Haleakalā Observatory, near the visitor center, lies above the tropical inversion layer so experiences excellent viewing conditions and clear skies.

But back to the Tour. Of course we are ravenously hungry after starting a day at 2 AM, so on the way back down the mountain we stop at Kula Lodge, perched in a forest on the west slope of the Crater. The restaurant has floor to ceiling windows and a terrace, all with views of flower farms, mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. I’ll have the Haleakalā Mountain Meal with pancakes, or maybe the No Ka Oi” Omelet?

Yes, I’m tired now, but also pumped, with more great stuff ahead. Back to my hotel by noon; time to sit by the pool and gaze at the ocean before scooting to the Kahului airport, very close by. My 5:03 PM Flight to the next island, Hawaii, gets me to the Hilo (ITO) airport at 5:42 PM. I pile my luggage into my Budget car and drive 42miles to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where I check  into Volcano House. A room with a view – another crater, smoke rising over the rim of Mt Kilauea just out my picture window. (More about that tomorrow.)

But I seem to be sitting at my desk in Little Rock right now, with a heat advisory in effect that feels like 112 out there! What happened?

Aw, you know, reality. The National Parks closed back in March. Today’s online message: Park Closures, Alert 1 Severity. Some locations closed due to COVID-19. The NPS is working to increase access to the park in a phased approach. Limited Areas in the Summit District are open. All visitor centers, Crater trails and backcountry areas remain closed. 

On June 12, I received the following email from Skyline Tours: Aloha, In response to the COVID-19 pandemic Skyline Hawai’i will be suspending all operations through July 31, 2020. If you currently have a reservation and would like to postpone or cancel your booking, please send us an email.

I canceled. The company kindly refunded my $176. Today, their site shows a possible next available opening of September 1.

I also canceled my two-night stay at Volcano House; they kindly refunded my deposit of $347.

The airlines is another story. On June 24, Hawaiian Airlines notified me that my 43-minute flight from Kahului to Hilo was changed; instead I’d go from Kahului to Honolulu (45 minutes), 1 hour layover, then Honolulu to Hilo (50 minutes) arriving at 7:30.

So it goes like this: I can’t get INTO the state without a 14-day quarantine, but Hawaiian Airlines changed my flight without considering that even if I GOT there, I wouldn’t be allowed out of my room. No refund offered.

Someday, as the saying goes, we may look back on this and laugh. But today, Que Sera, Sera is the best I can do.


Where I’m Not

Originally Published July 13, 2020 by Linda Lou Burton posting about Seattle, Washington from Little Rock, Arkansas – I am NOT on Delta flight 978 for a 5-hour 53-minute flight departing Seattle (SEA) at 2:55 PDT this afternoon, and arriving in Kahului, Hawaii (OGG) at 5:48 PM HST. I will NOT be sleeping at the Maui Seaside Hotel at 100 W Kaahumanu Avenue in Kahului tonight. And I will NOT be getting up at 2 AM in the morning for a Haleakala Sunrise Tour.

This was to be the second stop in my Round The World journey; the first stop on July 7 would have begun a week in the Seattle area visiting no less than a dozen family and friends. A visit to the Space Needle was on the agenda, a ferry ride across the Sound, a play at the Taproot, and lots of Asian food. (Hard to come by in Arkansas.) Friend Carmelita planned to cook lumpia and other goodies for my entire family! I was planning to meet new “significant others” and to stand back to back with grandchildren for pictures confirming that yes, I’m the shortest member of the family now.

Seattle was my home for 25 of my 81 years. The University of Washington was the original draw; and then I stayed. And stayed. The Seattle that I moved to in 1980 has changed tremendously in 40 years. The house I bought for $80K in 1986 is now valued at over a million dollars, and it is just an ordinary house. The population of Seattle in 1980 was almost half a million, and though it was the largest city by far I’d ever lived in, it quickly felt like home. Today’s population is nearing 800,000 with more than 12,000 homeless, and that count was before COVID-19 struck this spring. The full metro area is approaching 4 million, so congestion now, and crowding.

Still, Seattle scenery hasn’t changed. Puget Sound, surrounded by the Olympic Mountain Range on one side and the snow-covered Cascade Range on the other. Mt Rainer 100 miles to the south, the prettiest, most perfectly shaped mountain you will ever see.

I’m glad I lived there. I loved the scenery, the people, the food, and the diversity. And especially, I loved the WEATHER! No bugs, no tornadoes, no thunderstorms and gully-washing rains. No it does NOT rain all the time in Seattle! Annual rainfall in Seattle is 37 inches. Annual rainfall in Little Rock, where I live today, is 50 inches. Put THAT on your rain gauge!

Gardening in Seattle was a joy. Since the area is temperate (did I mention, little snow and few winter days below freezing) things just grow and grow and grow. Rhododendron blooms year round, with every color you can imagine; the fir trees are tall, and gorgeous; it’s like God made several trips around that part of the world dispensing beautiful things.

My kids nearly bought out REI the first year we were there; we went camping at Frog Lake, a mystical spot at the foot of Mt Hood; snowshoeing at Hurricane Ridge out on the peninsula; picnicking beside mountain lakes in a meadow of purple lupine. Heaven! Three of my grandchildren were born while I lived in the Pacific Northwest, so sharing their first minutes of life was a supercalifragilistic experience. All good stuff.

It will be 11 PM in Little Rock tonight by the time that Delta flight would have landed in Kahului; midnight at least by the time I would have arrived at the Maui Seaside Hotel.

I won’t be there.

Governor David Ige announced today that the reopening of Hawaii’s tourism industry will be delayed until the end of August. Ige first implemented quarantine measures back in March, requiring any passenger on any flight landing in Hawaii to spend 14 days in isolation to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, the number of passenger arrivals statewide fell from an average of nearly 30,000 per day to fewer than 400 by the middle of April, according to data released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The governor has faced mounting pressure from several corners, including all four county mayors, to push back the planned reopening of tourism.

The governor did eliminate travel restrictions that pertained to inter-island travel last month, as the first step toward ushering in the return of the tourism sector in Hawaii. The second, the state hoped, was that in lieu of a 14-day quarantine, the state would require passengers to produce a negative coronavirus pre-test, taken within 72 hours of departure to Hawaii.

But as coronavirus cases on the mainland have surged in recent weeks, including in some of the markets that typically send the highest number of travelers to Hawaii, the state’s plan was criticized for being too weak to prevent a rash of new cases.

So I’m not in Hawaii tonight.

It should be noted, Hawaii has had only 1,115 total coronavirus cases and 19 deaths, the fewest of any state. This is mind boggling when you consider what is happening on the mainland. Good job, Governor Ige.


Am I Blue?

00.0.Box.cLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – When is the best time to put a jigsaw puzzle together? A rainy day seemed right, when Brother was visiting during Thanksgiving week. I pulled out the State Flags and Capitols box I’d been saving for just such a day and dumped all one thousand pieces onto the card table. Brother raised an eyebrow and shook his head. I let tiny puzzle pieces filter through my fingers, trying to think of a working plan. 00.27.Puzzle Pieces“What strategy should I use?” I asked. “Colors,” was his reply. Now, generally speaking, that is good jigsaw strategy. But when the picture is 50 state flags, well that’s when you discover that most state flags are blue. In fact, only four state flags don’t have at least a touch of blue in them – Alabama, California, Maryland, and New Mexico.

The puzzle pieces sat in a pile for several days, as I half-heartedly tried to sort blue from blue from blue. After brother left, I raked everything back into the box and headed for my sewing basket. Being heavily dependent on Excel spreadsheets to help me organize almost everything in life, I grabbed a spool of thread and the scissors and with a little Scotch tape turned the 02.Puzzle. Stringscard table into Columns and Rows. Then I put Post-Its into each section marking which state fit where. Aha! I dug into those thousand pieces again looking for words. “Mon” went into the Montana section, “sas” into the Arkansas slot; I was on a roll! How many flags have outspread eagle wings? Just two – Iowa and North Dakota. Plop plop. The palm tree went to Hawaii; the horses to Pennsylvania, the bison belonged to Wyoming. The challenge began to be fun, and (with magnifying glass in hand) I began to notice the details within the flags. I didn’t expect to have a learning experience, but that is exactly what happened. In my two-year Journey to 50 states, I didn’t pay much attention to the state flags. But suddenly I realized that flags are the story-telling devices of the state. And I love a good story! » read more


Ike and the 49th Star

Sam’s Photo

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – In Juneau, it was 9:02 AM. Back east in Washington, DC, it was just past the noon hour as President Dwight D Eisenhower inscribed his name to the document of proclamation that made Alaska the 49th state. Then he signed an Executive order setting a new design of 49 stars for the official flag of the United States. The date was January 3, 1959. The new design had seven staggered rows of stars, with seven stars in each row, and the traditional thirteen stripes. It had been chosen by a four-man selection commission and formally approved by the President but didn’t become official until July 4, 1959. The New York Times reported: President Eisenhower told one of the guests at the ceremony today that it was not the design he had preferred, “but I was overruled by all my advisers.” His choice was nine rows of stars, alternating five and six stars to a row. » read more


Sunday Morning Coming Down

Linda Burton posting from Olympia, Washington – The joke is “summer doesn’t arrive in the Pacific Northwest until after the 4th of July” but it’s no joke. In 1987 I dried out in front of a blazing fire after giving up on the soggy Seattle fireworks display and coming home sopping wet and shivering. It looks as though this year will follow that pattern; it was raining when I woke up; a Sunday morning gray. A cat snuggled tight against either side of me; I guess I’m forgiven for taking off for Hawaii and leaving them behind. I opened up the Fancy Feast and then slept two hours more. Under the blanket and the pile of cats it was cozy and warm, but checkout time loomed close; time to load the car, drive to Olympia, unload everything, settle in for the next two-week stint. I was misty-soaked and feeling blue in all the gray, my body temp still set on Hawaiian warm. Just drive, I told myself. » read more


Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Linda Burton posting from Honolulu, Hawaii – “What was your most fun thing?” granddaughter Kayla asked. We are sitting at Gate 20 in the Honolulu airport, wearing long sleeves now; dressed for Seattle’s cooler temps that will surely shock our senses as soon as we get off the plane. It’s the last moments of our stay in Honolulu, and we’re reminiscing. “Everything was fun,” I answered. “When I could see through my hair blowing in my face.” “Well that was just one day then,” Kayla said, “when we were towelheads in our room!” That brought giggles from both of us, yep, those tropical breezes are part of the attraction in Honolulu, moderating the sun and the warm morning rains. So what was the most fun thing? “I liked the Aquarium today,” Kayla threw in. “And going into Diamond Head.” “You liked the Trolley Driver,“ I said. “Because he kept telling you how cute you are!” It’s true, he’d let her get off the Trolley for pictures, and wait till she was done before resuming the Tour. “She’s so cute,” he’d say when she got back on. “Did you get what you wanted, little one?” She tipped him big, with money out of her own pocket. So Honolulu, what was the most fun? » read more


Wear Your Slippers

Linda Burton posting from Honolulu, Hawaii – “It’s not for me to reason why,” I grumbled as I tucked my camera in my bag and pulled slippery bootees over my sensible shoes. The Guard Guide continued to bark instructions to everyone. No smile, no aloha warm. Kayla wiggled her feet admiringly, “Baby boots,” she said. Here we sat, on a bench outside the Iolani Palace doors, ticketed for the tour that included “audio,” being sternly lectured as to how we should behave. “Do not take off your slippers. Do not touch anything. Do not get any pictures. There is a button on your wand for each room. Push it when you get there. Now go.” The door opened and the group of us meekly entered the Palace one by one. Highly polished floors stretched ahead in the Grand Hall; I stepped and slid and almost fell. “Be careful GMom,” Kayla warned, “just glide. And turn on your sound.” Both of us pushed Button 2 on the audio wands hanging from our necks, and glided on the shiny floor. The Throne Room was to our left. » read more


Pass It Forward

Linda Burton posting from Honolulu, Hawaii – “My 10-year-old son can recite our family genealogy for 17 generations back,” said our narrator. They’d found a place for Kayla and me on the back row of the jam-packed Fiji hut, and there we sat, bamboo sticks in hand, learning to chant and sing Fiji style. And, learning how to remember. The presentation at the Fiji settlement in the Polynesian Cultural Center was titled “History through Chants & Dance” and we’d just been taught how, as a group, to beat out rhythms, “one-two one-two-three” then “one-two-three-four” fast and slow, stop; then a call to us, “moo-oo” then our response “mai-ii” and repeat; somehow the roomful of us managed to do this together; and somehow, the feel of it began to stick in our memories. I know there’s a scientific explanation for what happens in the brain when rhythms and sounds take on a consistent pattern; but overall, it seemed to be the joy of it that took hold. Yet I was startled by that last remark. Seventeen generations? » read more


The Shopping Isle

Linda Burton posting from Honolulu, Hawaii – “What did you buy?” is the question most often asked in Honolulu, frequently followed by “How do I look?” In case you think most people come here to lie on the beach in the peaceful shade of the palm trees, you are wrong. More people come to Honolulu to shop. High-end merchandise costs less in Honolulu than it does in Japan, we were told. The Waikiki Trolley Pink Line, departing every 10 minutes for a 16-point Stop and Shop run, has special Japanese language trolleys; in fact on every trolley signs give information and directions in both English and Japanese. The Aussies and the Mainlanders do their fair share of shopping too; if you aren’t toting a shopping bag, you are considered to have wasted your day. Temptation doesn’t miss a beat; the ticket office for the trolley line is in the DFS Galleria, once of the glitziest shopping arenas you are likely to see in a lifetime. That’s where they sell “luxury brand-name products duty-free.” “Wow” was what granddaughter Kayla said at the sight of the high-tech mod display by the escalator. “Let’s check it out.” » read more