Hawaii: Days 11 and 12

It’s Aloha Friday, the day of the week when many Hawaiian businesspeople wear aloha clothing instead of suits or businesswear. To wit:

Aloha Friday actually came from Hawaii’s clothing industry. In the 1940s businessmen always wore a suit and tie. In 1946 the City and County of Honolulu allowed their employees to wear sports shirts during the hottest summer months. The Hawaiian Fashion industry realized they would benefit if residents wore Hawaiian made clothing. They encouraged companies to allow employees to wear aloha gear to work on Fridays. In 1966 the Bank of Hawaii allowed Aloha attire on Fridays. The tradition began when Maui’s Wilson P. Cannon, Jr., who was president of the Bank of Hawaii, started wearing aloha shirts to the office. Soon after this Aloha Fridays were official. By 1970 it was common for aloha wear to be worn on any day of the week. Aloha Friday was referred to as the last day of the work week. Today, aloha shirts are everyday business wear. Knowing that it is Aloha Friday gives people in Hawaii a head start on the weekend and helps them look forward to time with ‘ohana.

I’m preparing for a week on the Big Island, which will involve traveling, sightseeing (Volcanoes National Park) and, I hope, a lot of snorkeling. Posting will be light for about 9 days until I return to Chicago. In the meantime, having scoped out many of the sights on Oahu, it’s time to relax, eat, and see a few “clean-up” sights.

One of these is Halona Blowhole and Beach. The blowhole is famous for being dangerous: it can be violent, emitting a vigorous gush of air and water, and the area, full of slippery rocks inundated by big waves, has done in many hapless tourists. There are plenty of warning signs, and the rocks are fenced off, but tourists manage to get down to the blowhole anyway—not a good thing to do. I believe at least one tourist a year is swept away by the pounding waves at this site. (Overall, about one tourist a week is killed in Hawaii.)

In 2011, for instance, a foolhardy California teen actually straddled the blowhole. The result was predictable: the teen was blown high into the air, dumped in the ocean, and then washed away to his death.

I watched from above, but you can see how foolish these tourists can be. In this one, a woman stands right by the blowhole (which you can see blowing on the left about 4 seconds in), with big waves pounding the rocks nearby. Thanks to the grace of Ceiling Cat, she survived.

Here are two guys and a kid perilously close to the edge. I saw several waves inundate the area near the spot where they were standing, but they, too survived. The guy had to have his pictures. Note that at about 1:08 the kid gets scared and runs away from the edge.

Another guy who can’t resist a picture close to the edge. Perhaps it would be better to watch the sea instead of your camera screen!

The adjacent Halona Beach, seen below, is also famous for being the beach on which Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster had their torrid (for the time) kiss in the movie From Here to Eternity:

The beach (note the layers of lava rock):

The famous kiss:

Foolhardy tourists on the cliff overlooking the beach cove. One misstep and they’re dead. (They didn’t die.)

Yesterday included a leisurely visit to the Waimanalo Feed Store to order duck food (yes, I feed ducks in two states, assisting the Hawaii Duckmaster who lives here), a nursery to look at plants, and then plate lunch at a local dive in Waimanalo, Ono Steaks and Shrimp Shack.

First, an unknown plant in the nursery. Does anybody know what this is? The flowering device, whatever botanists call that (bract?), is lovely:

Like all good plate-lunch places, Ono’s is “unprepossessing.” I would love to write The Definite Guide to the Plate-Lunch Emporia of Hawaii.  

Lunch: The large steak and garlic shrimp plate, enough for two. These are the best garlic shrimp I’ve had in Hawaii, and they’re best eaten by consuming the shell rather than peeling off all that good garlic. Three scoops of rice, of course, and a scoop of “salad”:

There was a construction site behind Ono’s with portable toilets, which made the error of using the greengrocer’s apostrophe. And I’m not sure whether the plural of “potty” is “pottys” or “potties”.

Potty’s??? Or is that the name of the owner?

Lunch on Wednesday was a quickie: brewskis, a pizza, and kalua pig tacos at the Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii Kai. I asked for an English style bitter, but the server knew nothing about the beers [!]), and I got the usual IPA-style brew. I’m tired of overhopped beers!

But the local pizza, with cheese, jalapenos, kalua pig, pineapple, and scallions, was very good, and filling. I know I will get excoriated by Melissa Chen for eating pineapple and pork on a pizza (this also violates every single dictum of kosher cuisine), but I liked it:

Kalua pig tacos:

I learned that McDonald’s in Hawaii often have haupia pie and taro pie. I almost never eat at McDonald’s, but I’ll eat anything with taro in it. Unfortunately, they didn’t have taro pie, but I had haupia pie, filled with coconut cream and chunks of coconut, and it was great as breakfast:

Don’t hate me because I ate this!

Although I didn’t find taro pie, USA Today has a photo of one in its article “The five craziest McDonald’s pies.” Here’s a taro pie, which I don’t find crazy at all (it’s apparently a staple in Asian McDonald’s; it that a cultural appropriation on both sides?):

Speaking of pie, here’s my cat BFF Pi resting in his box. Note that the box is decorated with a replica of Pi—made from his own shaved fur:

And Pi’s companion, Loki:

And my ducks. Squeaky is the name given to two females, one of whom has a dented head, and both of whom quack incessantly. Squeaky II, without the dented head, is often accompanied by a vociferous drake who I fancy is her brother. Here they are, quacking away (remember, only female mallards can make the famous full-throated quack):

This is Squeaky I. My theory, which is mine, is that hens get these dented heads from males trying to copulate with them and pecked at or grabbing the female’s head:

The Head Duck at the local marina is called Fergus, and I’ve shown him before. He’s of indeterminate ancestry, as he’s larger than normal mallards, is white and brown, and has a pink bill. I suspect that he’s part muscovy duck. At any rate, he knows his name and, when called, comes for food at any time of day. The other ducks often follow him. Here’s a passel of ducks eating yesterday (yes, with Mazuri Waterfowl Chow), with a lot of accompanying quacks.



  1. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted June 28, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Oh god, that pizza, those tacos…and all I’ve got in the fridge is Dairylea triangles and a leftover mystery-meat kebab.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 28, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Certainly getting plenty of local food. Aloha Friday was always required when I worked in Hawaii. It makes the new guys get right out there and purchase some new shirts. I kind of think it became everyday for us. Seeing people in suits is kind of rare. If I recall correctly, you’re flight to the Big Island is not much more than half an hour. They had no gates back when I was there, you just got off the plane and walked to the terminal.

    Hawaii Kai a residential area at the far end was a popular place to live in the 60s/70s when it was still affordable. However, it is hot and dry most of the time. They grow cactus down there.

  3. Rick Bannister
    Posted June 28, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    If you get a craving for malasadas while you are on the Big Island be sure to visit Tex Drive In on Mamalahoa Hwy (Hwy 19)about 14 miles east of Waimea. I have never tried the rest of their menu but their malasadas are ono.

  4. Robie
    Posted June 28, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    That plant is an Anthurium, with some fruits emerging. The flowers are arranged on a spadix inflorescence, with many flowers clustered together on a central structure. That’s typical of the Araceae family, which includes such familiar plants as jack-in-the-pulpits, calla lilies, and those giant titan arums that bring people flocking to greenhouses to stare in amazement their huge, stinky inflorescences.

    • Posted June 28, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Yes, a schlechtendalii I think. An impressive plant.

  5. CR
    Posted June 28, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    As you’re going to the big island and you love snorkeling, I would urge you to consider doing one of the Manta Ray night snorkel/dive expeditions. I did this dive in 2003 and it remains one of my most memorable dives ever. Seeing these magnificent animals from a few feet away and being rocked by their wake was awesome.

    • Posted June 28, 2019 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      I tried to make reservations with a well known Manta Ray Dive company, but they were booked up. Maybe I’ll try another.

  6. Posted June 28, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    In 2011, for instance, a foolhardy California teen actually straddled the blowhole, which is known for expelling gusts of water high into the air.

    And to think the Grants wasted 30 years studying finches looking for signs of natural selection in action!

    • Barbara Radcliffe
      Posted June 28, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Yes, he certainly deserved a Darwin Award!

  7. Posted June 28, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I recommend the coconut porter from the Maui brewing company.

  8. Stephen Mynett
    Posted June 28, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    A couple of days ago I came across a version of the Greengrocer’s apostrophe I had not seen before. Someone responding to an email about computers included the line: ” . . . I also have a couple of Raspberry PI,s . . .”

    Or is that the Greengocer’s comma?

  9. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 28, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m reading about taro on Wikipedia:

    – calcium oxalate raphides make the raw plant toxic – soaking overnight in cold water or cooking can render the plant safe. Spinach and kiwi also have raphides :


    That’s all new to me!

    – the fried taro pie is a limited offering, perhaps just this year, from McDonalds…?

    I found a video of the blowhole: https://youtu.be/2mmEKFCJc-k

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted June 28, 2019 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      “The venomous process is in two stages: mechanical pricking and injection of harmful protease. ”

      I never heard of such a devilish strategy!

  10. Heather Hastie
    Posted June 28, 2019 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    I shouldn’t have read this while I was hungry. I want all that food NOW. It looks delicious. I’ve never been there, but I think Hawaii might the natural home of comfort food for me. Having said that, there are a lot of similarities in the culture to NZ. There are even many common words in Hawaiian that are the same in Maori. e.g. wahine and nui. (woman, big)

  11. JohnnieCanuck
    Posted June 28, 2019 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    When I was a teenager, my mother used to keep some chickens. At some point we ended up being given some ducks, including a drake. He wasn’t satisfied with mounting the females, he went after the chickens as well. We knew this even without catching him in flagrante delicto, because of the feathers he would pull out of the backs of the chicken’s necks.

  12. Posted July 2, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Tasty sauces and shell-on shrimp together always bugs me: I love trying new sauces and like shrimp, but shells … ick, it is like eating fingernails!

  13. Posted July 2, 2019 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True, Faith vs. Fact, and The Definite Guide to the Plate-Lunch Emporia of Hawaii.

    Taro pie shows up once every year or so in Hong Kong’s Macdonald’s. Wish they were available more often because they’re great.


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