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November, 2009:

Stay with a Purpose

I use Holoholo Wale to explore Hawaiian culture and history — typically I stay away from hotel and destination review pieces. After all, there are lots of review sites and plenty of “10 best” lists. But I do have a hotel chain that I rather like — it’s the Aqua Hotels — and right now, I have three nights at any Aqua Boutique Hotel in Waikiki to give away. I’ve stayed at two of their properties — the Coconut and the Bamboo — and I enjoyed them both. I liked the vibe, the cool design, the attention to details that made for a comfortable place to stay.

This giveaway is in support of Passports with Purpose, a travelblogger driven fundraiser. Our cause this year? American Assistance for Cambodia, a program that builds schools in rural Cambodia. If you want to learn more about why we chose this cause, read this. If you’re just thinking, “Hell yeah, I want three nights in Waikiki, go here, read the rules, and make a donation to our cause.

A few details. Airfare is NOT included (sorry, I did try!). Black out dates and availability issues apply, of course. The prize is for any one of Aqua’s 14 Waikiki hotels and is valid for one year after issued date. Additional details will be on the voucher.

The properties are conveniently located right in the heart of Waikiki, walking distance from, well, everything in Waikiki, really. And again, I’m a fan. So much so that I’d say three nights aren’t enough, but it’s a good start on your Hawaii vacation. Get these three nights, then book yourself for three more. That should do the trick.

Poke around in this site for Waikiki backstory, or head straight over to Passports with Purpose to make a donation and get a shot at three nights in Waikiki.

The Slippah Project

From my inbox. Thanks, G., for letting me repost this here.

Flip Flops by Kudomomo via Flickr
Flip Flops by Kudomomo via Flickr

It all started a few years ago when an online friend in Hawai`i (who I have since met in person) was living in subsidized housing in a very poor part of Honolulu.  Lynn is a formerly-homeless ex-drug addict, whose first husband died of ALS.  She raised three children on her own while battling her own addictions and issues; they are all grown now and have done/still are serving in the military.  She has worked for years to turn her own life around, is now remarried, has a job and has moved out of the housing project.

But while she was still in the projects, she realized that most of the keiki (the children) in the complex had nothing to wear on their feet – not even a cheap pair of the most common Island footwear, the rubber slipper.  So she decided to do something about it, and on her own, decided to ask friends if they would contribute a few bucks to buy “slippahs” for the neighborhood kids for one Christmas.

No bureaucracy, no overhead, no promotional team – just Lynn and word-of-mouth.  One friend set up a bank account to handle checks, another friend used a contact to get a slipper-maker to provide product below cost, and so on.  That year, the housing project’s Christmas party featured new slippahs for every kid – the story made one of the Honolulu papers.

In the handful of years since, the buzz has grown, and Lynn tries to obtain slippahs and a few other basic goods for families on several of the Hawaiian Islands.  Still no big bureaucracy – just Lynn’s Slippah Project, a truly grassroots idea that continues to grow and succeed.

If you want to contribute anything, there’s now a website at www.slippah.org.

Hawaii: True Stories of the Island Spirit (Travelers’ Tales)

I checked out a pile of books about Hawaii from the library prior to my recent trip to Oahu. Unfortnately, I alternated between being so crazy busy or tropically indolent that I had little time to read. I did, however, read Hawaii: True Stories of the Island Spirit (Travelers’ Tales) cover to cover, finishing up two days ago. It’s the best thing I’ve read about Hawaii in, well, ever, really.

Hawaii: True Stories of the Island Spirit (Travelers’ Tales) isn’t a guide book per se, but it does have some guide-like information in the appendix at the end of the book. All that stuff is useful and offers the editors’ excellent insight into island travel, focusing on such critical things as favorite beaches or who makes a smashing mai tai, but that’s not what this book is for. The book is a compilation of non-fiction¬† essays and excerpts from longer works that go beyond the shiny outer layers of Hawaii’s cosmetic packaging. It’s a three dimensional Hawaii, one that goes from luxury private bungalows to drug dealers and dance hall girls. There’s surfing and fishing and whoring and ghost hunting and wallowing in splendor and being an outsider and, well, it’s just a remarkable collection of short reads about Hawaii from a remarkable array of angles.

Because the selections are short, it’s great for reading while you’re in the islands when you either have to skip off to meet friends for sushi or you’ve fallen asleep in your hotel room with the windows open or you’re on the plane home trying to understand why, exactly, you’re on the plane home. It’s a fantastic read, I loved it and can’t recommend it enough, even for those who think they have an educated idea or two about the islands. It would make¬† nice gift for those who are Hawaii lovers or Hawaii bound.

If you get yours using this Amazon link, I get a few cents and it doesn’t cost you any extra. And hey, if you have must-reads for Hawaii, I’d love to see your recommendations. In the comments, please.

What’s Up With Holoholo Wale?

Aloha Readers:

A quick status note. I’ve just returned from an amazing ten days in Hawaii and have a head full of stories, but sadly, the day job encroaches on my time to sit and write them. I’m clearing the decks and hope to return to blogging here once or twice a week about the home of my heart, the Hawaiian islands, but in the meantime, I thank you for your patience and understanding.

If you’re interested in sharing your Hawaii stories here, please get in touch. I’m especially interested in stories about history, culture, music, and the environment through the eyes of visitors to Hawaii. Just drop me a line. [pam (at) nerdseyeview (dot) com]. There’s little in it for you but my thanks and gratitude for sharing your insight, but if that works for you, I’d love have your writing.

Thanks again for reading and for your patience. Can I just say I’m on Hawaiian time and assume you understand?