Written by Trang D. Nguyen
Before this trip, I, like most mainlanders, only knew of Hawaii as the popular tourist destination—the land of
beaches and hula dancing, tiki torches and luaus. But after these few days in Kailua, a town on the windward
(upwind) coast of the island of Oahu, I began to understand the local spirit of Aloha.
Of course Oahu’s Waikiki coast is a very famous destination, with amazing beach-front hotels. But I really
recommend renting a house near a smaller beach, to really experience the slow-paced beach life. Waking
up to roosters crowing and walking down a small sandy path to watch the sunrise on the beach, you can’t
get that in Waikiki!
Avoiding the popular tourist traps, we decided to visit places that were definitely more for locals. Shopping
centers like Don Quixote, and local restaurant chains like Zippy’s, are more accurate reflections of the
people who actually live and work in Hawaii.
Hawaii has an immensely rich history, with a long history of strong monarchies, and a people who are so
proud. I would see “DEFEND HAWAII” on shirts, stickers, billboards, everywhere! With a culture so rich and
deep, it’s would surely be a shame to not delve deeper than mere tourist attractions when coming to Hawaii.