Island standards and Island surprises . . . . .



When people visit Oahu, Hawaii for the first time . . in fact, also for the second and third time, they will visit Pearl Harbor, of course, to hear the story of December 7, 1941 and to visit the Memorial.  They will go to the Polynesian Cultural Center to learn about all the cultures in the Pacific islands, to see their crafts, and watch a stunning show of dancing and song from the various islands.  And they will enjoy a luau, of course, either here or at some hotel or out on a sandy beach in the moonlight.

They may visit the old Hawaiian church and the cemetery where the early Christian ministers are buried. Of course they will tour the beautiful Iolani Palace, the only palace in the United States, and they will be fascinated by the stories of its docents.                   .

They may tour on a boat to look for whales, or take an evening dinner cruise to enjoy Mai Tai’s and a good Hawaiian meal while watching a gorgeous sunset over the ocean.

They will walk Waikiki, along the ocean shore, and the strip of stores, hotels and restaurants nearby.  They may sign up to see a show in one of the hotels or a major concert at the Blaisdell Center.  But the highlight of their trip may be when they rent a car and drive around the island, stopping to tour the Valley of the Temples near Kaneohe, and to stop in small communities to shop for shells, artwork and shave-ice, ending up on the North Shore to watch the high surf and the skilled surfers.

But one will most likely come here many times before they begin to discover the secret spots of unusual delight in Honolulu.  I had been here for almost forty years before I was invited to an evening concert in the cozy third-floor setting of a private home in the city.  It is an ongoing delightful entertainment sponsored by a lady who loved the arts enough to open her home to entertainers and their guests over a period of years.  Local people came quietly to this home on scheduled evenings, to as not to disturb the neighbors, and they often bring a small packaged meal or a bottle of wine to enjoy during the evening.  The lady has passed on now, but her son continues sponsoring the delilghtful concerts.

A few years ago we discovered a very private woods with a silvery stream and a small waterfall. It was near the cemetery where the royalty was buried, and we were told this small spot of paradise was one where the royalty used to bathe and enjoy peaceful privacy.

We enjoyed discovering the beautiful old Hawaiian Theater, which has been completely refurbished and is now the home of many wonderful shows. But more recently we discovered an entirely different type of theater.

Some years ago a Honolulu gentleman decided to share his love of the movie theater.  He established one, privately, and opened it to the public. He called it the “Movie Museum.” Movies of his choice are shown there on afternoon schedules, and he so enjoys sharing that he charges little and laughs at the thought of raising the price.  My daughter and I went there this Friday, and again on Saturday. The schedule includes a lot of foreign movies (with English translation) but American movies as well.  Today we say The Martian, with Matt Damon and Jeff Daniels.

Now, here was the surprise. This theater is well managed by a lady who thoroughly enjoys her work.  She takes reservations, then when the people arrive she describes the rules:  You must be very quiet.  You may bring snacks but none that make noise . . like a crinkly potato chip bags.  You must turn off your phones.  You must not talk in the theatre, or leave the room.  She gives you the key to the restroom so you can go before the movie starts.

You cannot enter the theater until it is emptied from the last movie. When we finally did enter, I was totally surprised.  The theater was filled with leather reclining seats.  Of course we were instructed that we must recline if our seat obstructed the view of the person behind us.  Good.  The reclined seat was most comfortable.

I happened to cough in the line outside, waiting to enter. The manager smiled and handed me a cough drop.  There must be no coughing in this private theater.

And the price? Four dollars to me, a senior, and five dollars for my daughter.

While Honolulu is thought to be an expensive place, it has its surprises.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Betty Clark
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 09:20:16

    Wow. That was a great written piece, as usual. How fortunate you are to spend more time than most in this lovely place and discover all the hidden treasures and events.


  2. Donna Thomas
    Jan 20, 2016 @ 10:21:47

    What a civilized theater experience!


  3. Kathy
    Feb 05, 2016 @ 23:27:24

    As always, Doris, I thank you for helping us to experience Hawaii through you!
    I have visited 49 states….but not Hawaii….I’m so glad you’re sharing it with me, as it may be my only view!
    Your descriptions were lovely!


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