Hello Friends and Family,

O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, 1973, Part 2

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Here we see an inviting relaxation area at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It is a great spot to slow down and get into the swing of island life.

If you have money that is burning a hole in your pocket and you need to buy gifts for your friends or family you left behind on the mainland, just head over to the Rainbow Bazaar. They have everything — or so it seems.

My favorite place is Lappert's Hawaii. Order a cone with poha ice cream! Poha is a berry that grows in the islands — the flavor reminds me of peach — it is like heaven. I checked online and poha is not currently available — so you might have to settle for macadamia nut ice cream — which is not a bad second choice.

I was surprised to see the Asian architecture featured prominently in the Rainbow Bazaar. Pretty cool actually.

And then I spotted a huge building that looked like a temple. A little bit of looking around revealed this to be a temple to the great American god — the automobile. In fact, it is a gigantic parking garage.

For a young tourist without a lot of money, an excellent activity is the walking tour of Chinatown, presented by the Hawaii Heritage Center. It's free! Or at least it was back in 1973. After the introduction, the guide led us around the area focusing on historical buildings, public parks, gardens, wonderful Asian food markets, shops, and bakeries.

This building houses a small grocery store with sundries on the ground floor.

I was curious about the Chinese characters on the exterior of the building and a friend translated them to something like "Peaceful Ocean Hall". She suggested the meaning might be something like "a hall used as a place to worship ancestors" or "a meeting place for various purposes".

Regardless of the signage, my guess is that the upper floors currently provide a home for the owner and his family, who probably all work in the store.

The next stop on the tour was a Chinese apothecary shop. Here we see bottle after bottle filled with traditional medicines.

Then the proprietor put a sample of one of the medications on a wax paper sheet and showed how she prepares it for the patient. Very interesting.

Next up was the Kuan Yin Temple, a Buddhist temple devoted to the Chinese goddess of mercy, to whom there are temples around the world established in her name. The Honolulu edition is modest with the building enfolded within the Foster Botanical Gardens. The view from within is green, green, and more green.

An important element of any successful immigrant community is a newspaper published in the native language — so that these new folks know what's going on both in their own community but also the larger community that now includes them.

The final stop on our walking tour of Chinatown was lunch at Wo Fat's — a now defunct Chinese restaurant. We were all seated at large round tables each with a lazy susan in the middle. Dishes were brought out and placed on the lazy susan which was then rotated so everyone could serve themselves the dishes that appealed to them.

They also gave us a brief instruction of how to use chopsticks properly — a lesson that has served me well over the years.

Does the name "Wo Fat" ring a bell with anyone? That was the name of Steve McGarrett's nemesis on both versions of TV's Hawaii 5-0. This is where the character's name came from.

Incidentally, the 86-year-old iconic landmark, will likely survive (as reported in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser). A $10 million restoration is planned which could serve as a catalyst in a makeover of Honolulu’s Chinatown, developers said. The plans include a cafeteria-style restaurant and 23-room hotel.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com