The 50th State

November 27, 2009 - Hilo, Hawaii, United States

Howdy pardners

Aye so, as promised, McP's random musings on Hawaii.

Scran - Let start easy and go wi scran. We had  kitchens on Oahu and Maui and cooked our own food so only really had the one meal the last night we were on Oahu. Jacs had a burger and I had a lamb shank. Hmmm. Maybe we missed a trick there, lovely though the burger and shank were, I dinny think they were really representative of Hawaiian cuisine. We had a couple o PukaDog, hawaiian style hot dogs, for lunch though in Waikiki and they were the damage thanks to the fancy relishes and mustards they have. Jacs also got some mustard wi her burger in the restaurant, most of which I ate with the chips she couldny manage, and there is something they do to the mustard here that just sweetens it up beautifully. No sure if it's pineapple or coconut or guava or mango or lilikoi (passion fruit) - these are the ubiquitous fruits of Hawaii - but whatever it is, it's great. Aswell as being able to pick these fruits up pretty cheaply (or free if ye ken where tae look - the Hana road on Maui is just strewn wi rotting passion fruit) they also cook a lot of their food wi it as we could tell from looking at restaurant posters and things. They had guava glazed chicken at the luau we went to which was lovely. There is also a lot of pork in Hawaii as they have wild boar and pigs in the woods. A Hawaiian pizza has pork and not ham on it (if there is a difference). Fish though. that's where Hawaii really shines. The national fish is called humuhumunukunukuapua'a  - seriously!  They make a bit of a thing about asking people tae pronounce it. But there also seems tae be an endless list of different kinds of fish here from what we get in the UK. We had a meal in Kona on the big island and I had Mahi-Mahi (a tasty, delicately flavoured white fish) and Jacs had Ono, which was a bit gamier. Both delicious. My Mahi-Mahi was encrusted in Macadamia Nuts which brings me nicely onto the topic of confectionery. They grow a lot of Macadamia Nuts in Hawaii so ye can get them everywhere - on their own, roasted, chocolate covered, in a sauce, in a salad etc. The company that harvest them are called Mauna Loa and are based on the big island and they make these chocolate bars with them in and...oh by jings...the one with the dark, coffee flavoured chocolate and macadamia nuts....crivvens almichty is it good. Surely has to be the tastiest choccy bar in the United States. About a million times better than that hersheys guff. If ye ever get a chance tae try one of these babies...take it. You will not regret it. It is, for want of a better expression, The Brawness.

Beveriges - Coffee is a big thing in Hawaii. They have hundreds of plantations on the big island along the Kona coast (which we passed through at one point - very lush) and the coffee they produce is just amazing. Beautiful rich flavoured coffee that just puts a big smile on yer coupon when ye sniff it never mind sip it. It is actually pretty expensive tae buy so a lot of places sell blends with like 10% Kona coffee in. Actually these ones arny bad but the 100% stuff is just spectacular. Again...if ye ever get the chance...take it. Beer - noo, surprisingly, there is actually some quite nice beer in Hawaii. We havny actually drank a lot but whenever I've had the chance I've plumped for a local lager called Longboard which has a nice crisp fruity taste. Very pleasant indeed. Seems to be quite popular among the locals aswell. I also had the privelege of sampling a few local ales and another lager with a pizza I had on the big island one night and, though the pale ale and lager they gave me were no bad, the stout made with coffee was out of this world. Alas, I forget the name o it so havny been able tae hunt it doon, but it was quality. Dinny get me wrong noo, it wisny guinness, but it was no all that far behind it.

People - There is a smashing chilled oot vibe in Hawaii. Everybody is just taking it easy in the sunshine and it really rubs off on ye. Ye find yersel just strolling aboot the place, nae sense o urgency. How they ever get anything done here I don't know. There is this thing in Hawaii called Aloha which is a kind of generic term for folk being nice and friendly to ye. Total strangers say Aloha tae ye and gie ye a smile, people make this funny hand sign to ye using their pinky and thumb (like ye were making a pretend telephone wi yer hand) that kind of translates as 'hang loose' (according to T-shirts and bumper stickers we've seen it printed on). It's cool. Even the bums and groups o kids hanging around are kind of friendly wi ye compared tae, say, the slightly aggressive bums in San Francisco. They do tell ye though in all the guide books and talking tae people aboot the place, that there is quite a lot of crime, particularly car break-ins and thankfully we've no seen any o that. I mean obviously ye try no tae look like a tourist though or leave yer valuables on full display in yer motor. There is such a diverse mix of races in Hawaii. It's more mixed than anywhere else I've seen in the USA outside maybe New York. No that many black people though strangely but whites, asians, hawaiians (that kind of polynesian look) and these guys that look like they might have been white at some point but are just burned this amazing bronze colour. It's good to see. The ocean and beach play a huge part in the culture though wi people hanging around in big groups at sunset in beach huts (having a scran I think) and then spending any free time they have either swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing, boogie boarding, paddling or....

Surfing - By jingso dae the Hawaiians like tae surf. Seems people just get wind (pardon the pun) that the waves are braw at some beach or other and they just drop everything and hit the surf. No sure how they get away wi that at work likes. Maybe because their bosses aw surf aswell. Young guys, old guys, lassies - they are all at it. There are probably more surfing gear shops here than there are McDonalds and Starbucks combined (and that is saying something - believe me). It's great tae watch them. There is something hypnotic about it. If ye stumble on a beach where the breaks are just cracking and theres maybe a hundred or so folk oot in the water - ye could watch them for hours. Ye'll see one guy just pick up a wave at the start and ride it right along for about 200 yards and then cut back intae it and leap aff the top o it and plop intae the water (sorry I dinny ken the technical terms - something aboot pipes and wiping-oot?). It's great. Apparently surfing wis invented here. When Captain Cook and then the missionaries a' pitched up here in the late 18th, early 19th centuries they were amazed at these locals all sliding doon the waves in these wooden boards. And look at it noo - practiced all over the World.

History  & Politics - Apparently before we Europeans pitched up and took owr the place the Hawaiians were quite a wild bunch, knocking hell oot o each other and making human sacrifices tae their Gods. I'd heard folk mention aboot worshiping Pele and I tried cracking wi folk aboot how I thought his assist in that Carlos Alberto goal against Italy wis even better than that wan he scored himsel against Sweden but naebody seemed tae ken what I wis on aboot which I thought wis strange. Turns oot though Pele is actually the name of the volcano Goddess and is rumoured tae reside in the volcano on the big island. Well did I no feel like a right plum. They did eventually sort themselves oot though and unified themselves under a single king and were apparently getting on just dandy-o until we pitched up and decimated their numbers wi disease. Seems tae me that what happened tae Hawaii is the same thing that happened tae a lot o places aboot the world. We 'civilised people' pitched up, stole aw the best land and built golf courses and hotels on it. What's that Joni Mitchell lyric aboot paving paradise again? Hawaii disny feel like another American State - it feels like another country wi an American glazing. Apparently there are a whole bunch of Hawaiians who arny that impressed wi the deal they got ooto Statehood and they are getting more and more serious about it. Interesting tae see how that pans oot.

Onyways - I'd bettter hit the sack noo. It's aboot 2am and you would not believe the noise o the rain ootside the place the now. It's been like that for about 3 hours. They werny joking calling this place a rain forest likes. I widny be surprised if we wash awa intae the Ocean the nicht. I might no need tae fly tae New Zealand. I might just need tae grab a sturdy oar and paddle a bit.

Catch ye's aw later (If I'm no drooned).

McPissing Doon.



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