Destination Paradise: Hawaii – Part 2

Feb 06, 2013 View Comments by

Hawaii styleThe first thing to remember about Hawaii is that everything is shipped in, meaning it’s expensive. Just double what you pay at home, and for goodness sakes, remember “home” is the mainland, not the states. Hawaii is a state too, and the locals are quick to correct you. We were paying $50 for breakfast at the hotel (French toast, juice, and coffee), and just less than  $100 for supper at a nice restraunt, with mixed drinks at $10.00 each. If you plan to save some money by eating in, a box of cereal is $7.95, and room rates run $275 per night and up, with Waikiki being even more expensive. Average 1600 sq ft homes (off beach) start at $550,000.00. Bring a wad of singles, because you will be tipping everyone. It got so bad I even tipped my wife, and she kept it. As a rule of thumb, I figure a buck a bag, and no one has thrown it back at me yet. In all seriousness, these people work for minimum wage and a good many of them are holding down as many as three jobs to make ends meet, so these tips are their life’s blood. I guess it’s no surprise then that plastic is king, and at no time was it ever rejected. Tourism is Hawaii’s major industry, and they know it. As such, everyone in the service industry was extremely helpful and friendly; they call it “the aloha spirit.” In fact, learn the word “aloha,” and you have all the bases covered, it means; hello, goodbye, and I love you.

All the road signs on all islands are just like at home, so no learning curve. They even have an interstate; explain that if you can. Speed limits average 35 mph, with the expressways hitting 50 mph. The afternoons bring in the trade winds, which can push you around a bit. With them come light showers, which pass, and sand that doesn’t. Hawaii also gets my award for the biggest speed bumps; I still have all my teeth, but just barely.

Yet the biggest road hazard, which never changes, is traffic: locals trying to get to work, and tourists stopping constantly for every scenic overlook, missed turn, hotel, and shave ice. Throw in the local wildlife, plus scooter traffic, and you will soon see that defensive driving is a must, or you will be the next new “speed bump.” Ride on.

Next: Oahu

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About the author

A Wisconsin farm boy, I learned how to ride a cow, before a horse and way before a motorcycle. I first started riding on my 16th birthday and I took my first real ride at my party: I pulled a wheelie and dug a trench in the lawn, which sent the bike in one direction and me in another. I was irrevocably hooked!