Friday, November 10, 2006

Any consonants?

"These guys should trade some of their vowels for consonants with the Thai," said Big Dog. Like a typical English speaker, he has trouble with too many vowels. That's one of the reasons why I had an anglicized version of my name while I was growing up in LA. My real name has too many vowels for most Americans.

One time, we were driving to a friend's house, I, the trusty navigator, armed with a city map. Big Dog never slows down for me, so it was some miracle, I was able to navigate our way through streets named Ho'ohonua, Ho'onui, Ho'ohiki, Ho'okano, Ho'ohiamoe, Ho'olehua, Ho'omalimali -- well you get the picture -- to our destination.

"Get them some consonants!"

Which is probably the REAL reason why we moved from our tiny box of a room on Niu St. to a larger place on Seaside. NOT the fact that the "kitchenette" was a shelf in the tiny studio with a microwave and hot plate. NOT the fact that there was no phone. NOT the fact that the ceiling was so low even I could almost touch it.

It's a funky condo building with some construction going on in the parking lot. The wallpaper is lifting up in many places, the furniture is cheap and tacky, the particle board that makes the bathroom shelves is crumbling…but it's not costing us an arm and a leg. Maybe just an arm.

There's a bit of a security issue in Waikiki and every condo has multiple locks. Ours has a locked gate, then a locked entry, then a locked elevator (uh-huh) and then a double-locked door. But we couldn't figure out how our gate/entry/elevator key (which looks like an oversized dog tag) worked. An elderly resident had to show us.

There are lots of elderly people in Waikiki. Retirees living in the jungle of condos, vacationing grey haired couples. In these beach towns, whether it's Waikiki or Puerto Vallarta or Koh Samui, there are tons of old single guys but you rarely see old single women. Why's that? And another mystery: for some reason, a lot of women over a certain age seem to want to dress like teenagers when they get over here. Some dress like what they (thought they) looked like in their teens. Others dress like their granddaughters. And then there are a lot of skinny Japanese women. Some look very good, others not so much, but they all look like they need a workout regimen. The ones who don't, the ones who look fit and unafraid of muscle mass, look like locals.

For me, resorts feel too sterile and phony but Waikiki has a kind of trashy/kitschy quality I like. A low-rent drag queen aspect (no wonder all my gay friends love it!) When you go to a tourist stop in Japan, there are dozens of souvenir shops selling the tackiest of souvenirs. Shells stacked up to look like a fisherman, or a "kappa" water sprite. Brightly colored key rings with your name and the destination. Pens that reveal nude women when you tilt them. The kind of souvenir you wished your friend hadn't wasted money on for you. There's plenty of that here. I guess Waikiki IS a Japanese tourist town!

Ah, I must get a multi-colored sugary drink loaded with tiny paper umbrellas. And no consonants.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow talk about tuff luck...

4:17 PM  

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