Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Board Meeting in Paradise - Part 2

To the wonderful anonymous poster, you so know your sh&$t because the board members who grew up in Hawaii brought both the Haupia cake AND the guava chiffon cake to the board meeting. Both were DIVINE. It's day four of my trip to Hawaii and I have yet to go a day without eating macaroni salad. For the most part my experience with Oahu has been confined to Honolulu and Waikiki. Today is my day off. My agenda is twofold: 1. To see the Lost rainforest. 2. To go snorkeling.

I am still in awe about how much Asian culture permeates the food of Hawaii. If I can figure out connecting my camera to the computer, you all will see a photoblog of Asian fast food in Hawaii. It's kind of amazing. Yesterday I went to the conference for Native Hawaiians which started off with an oli chanting workshop run by what I can only name as the Native Hawaiian equivalent of Ysaye Barnwell. The Native Hawaiian language is HAAAARD. You have to pronounce EVERY vowel sound and then there are all these break's in vowel that are punctuated with an apostrophe. Because our organization is going to be co-hosting the Convention next year, all the board and staff have to learn the pules (pronounced pull-lays).

I'd have to say that this is one of the best run conferences I have ever been to. Everything has ended on time, the speechifying is mercifully short and the name badges is this awesome holder that is made out of backpack material and has all of these pockets for business cards, pens etc. I find it very interesting the fusion of culture that goes on with Native Hawaiians. While only 1% of Native Hawaiians speak the language fluently, almost everyone inserts some word into their vocabulary. In fact, most Asians who have lived on the islands for generations do the same. Case in point, when talking about the 2006 election, one passionate person said, "It's all aobut mobilizing the ohana for get out the vote. If the kumu and kapuna aren't educating the kiki, then we won't get this bill passed."

I'm kind of amazed by the genuine friendliness of the folks in Hawaiian. I cannot sit down or stand still without having someone strike up a conversation with me. There's a genuine interest about what I do on the continent (the incorrect word is mainland) and people are happy to share about their work and lives. There's a strong affinity between Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians and there was a large contingent of Alaska natives at the convetion. I sat next to on guy who ran his tribal corporation in Barrow Alaska (above the Artic circle). He told me about polar bears walk through town and three day whale hunts as if he were talking about going to the supermaket.

On Monday one of my board members took us on a driving tour of this side of the island, seeing the Royal Palance where the kings and queens of Hawaii lived, going to diamondhead for vistas of the ocean, and driving to Manoa valley and the University of Hawaii for rainbows. I love that the rainbow is the mascot of the University of Hawaii. The trip ended with the best shaved ice I have ever eaten. It's at this one tiny store and the shaved ice is like eating snow. I got the rainbow flavor which had lychee, banana, coconut, strawberry, and guava flavors.

Next up, my trip to the rainforest and snorkeling.


Stef said...

Still jealous. Still dreaming of pineapple. :-)

Anonymous said...

the correct word is "keiki"

as in "educating the keiki"

from the wonderful anonymous poster, who so knows my sh&$t