Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Honolulu Observations

-the coastal parks are for the homeless, to reside. Each park containing dozens of tents, or leean-tos, or tarps, and associated shopping carts

- the coastal parks are DIRECTLY across the street from the wealthiest shopping areas I have seen outside of Milan's fashion district, Hong Kong's Pacific Place, or Monaco. Cartier, Gucci, Versache, Yves St.Laurent, Kate Spade, Donna Karan, Prada, are less than 100 yards away from tent dwellers

- HPD are still as laissez-faire today as they were in 1999 when Dr Desert Flower and I last visited Hawaii. At that time, a man approached us on a street corner offering to sell us cocaine, which we refused, crossed the street, and ran into 2 shorts wearing, on-duty, HPD officers, who we promptly reported the attempted sale, just seconds earlier. The officer on the left looked at us, and remarked to his partner on the right "you're on a tropical island in paradise with a beautiful woman, of course they offered to sell you some drugs" and patted his partner on the back, laughing, and walked off. This trip, the HPD was more interested in standing in the shade (in the day time), surveying the beach with binoculars, and helping the Hilton rent-a-cops to keep the homeless shopping cart pushers off the grounds of the resort. The city ban of smoking on the beach, prohibition on ball & frisbee tossing, and "no parking" ordinances were equally unenforced (which was fine with me).

- the Honolulu bus system ( runs pretty well. You can get from Waikiki to the AZ Memorial in just under an hour (an impossible 10 mile walk through industrial and economically challenged areas) For $2.25 you can go anywhere, and get a transfer pass that'll last you between 2 to 4 hours - depending on the driver, the driver's ethnicity Hawaiian/Polynesian bus drivers give longer transfers, and often turn off their bus to walk around and make phone calls or use the rest room at a public toilet. Asian (primarily Vietnamese, but also ethnic
Japanese) give minimalist 2 hour transfers at most. The buses are clean, and well maintained. Not once did I hear city bus brakes squeak or squeal while in Hawaii. The cabs are 10 to 20X more expensive, but only about twice as fast.

- The disgusting practice of Asian spitting on public sidewalks is alive and well among the Asian tourists who visit Hawaii. Outside of Hilton resort hotel elevators, in malls, at bus stops, on board walks, side walks, everywhere that there are Asian tourists... it's just as disgusting as Chengdu, Shanghai, Beijing, parts of San Francisco, or other places in the world that don't have enforced fines for expectorating in public. Being a blond Pole, I'm prone to all sorts of respiratory allergies and nasal mucus production, and not once have I ever felt the need or the social acceptance to hock up a lugee in a public place and openly spit it where people walk. At least Singapore has laws against such a disgusting habit.

- Tourists are inexorably curious about my Asus Eee notebook. I was approached no less than a dozen times in the last week, when I would be surfing or typing away on it in the lobby or poolside or at a bar, asking me how I liked it? that their son had ordered them one, or they
were considering buying one, or that what I had was Exactly what they wanted to get. My buddy Matt has one for tuning Subarus, and it seems to work fairly well for him - until his son downloads nasty mal-ware onto it while surfing online gaming sites. My main complaints about the Asus 1) the keyboard does not fit my fat old fingers, and so 2 finger typing is frequently needed (a becomes s, l becomes ; ... etc) 2) the over-sensitivity that the touch pad has sends the cursor to bizarre areas of the screen while typing, EVEN WHEN the touch pad is not being touched. Plugging a USB mouse into the notebook seems to alleviate this very annoying jerk / drift / unintended cursor movement, but one must always remain watchful. The Eee boots up quickly, finds wireless networks MUCH BETTER than my company Dell could ever hope to do, and has a battery battery life much better than the Dell as well. Sure, it's a graphics wimp, but it's better than any computer I've had prior to 2003 or so, it's alot smaller, lighter, more portable, and I don't have to type with my thumbs (for you iphone / pda / i-connect / blackberry fans) and it was only $200.

- Hawaii airline food sucks, but the service is very nice. You can buy a $10 meal (taco, greek, or Caesar salad) or get a free meal (breakfast "burrito" [mine had one piece of french-fry sized chicken-possibly], turkey & swiss sandwich, or pasta dish). On the way home, I wanted the Caesar, but was pleasantly told that is only on Westbound afternoon & evening flights - sigh. The HA flight attendants actually seem to enjoy their jobs, unlike US Scaire's who universally appear to loathe theirs (and nearly a 1000 will be laid of in 2010). One not so good aspect of Hawaiian Air, is that they make you pay $5 to use YOUR OWN head set to listen to the in flight programs. WTF? $5, really, to use my own? What a piss poor licensing agreement. I did not try a stealth headphone insertion (I had an old pair of Delta head phones) but I think if I had, the crew would have adopted the HPD "sure, whatever" mode of enforcement.

- while walking to the falls in the Lyon arboretum, Dr Desert Flower got strafed by a fruit bat. She was standing right under a guava tree whose ripened fruit was littering the path all around her, and I being 10 paces ahead of her disturbed (I think) the flying mammal from it's secluded daytime slumber. The strafing temporarily startled, but did not endanger the sweet Dr Desert Flower.

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