Saturday, August 17th, 2002:

Imagine walking through the hustle and bustle of a busy downtown street, then having a gaggle of surfer dudes in trunks cut through the midst of it on their way to the drink. That’s Waikiki, a giant resort within Honolulu’s downtown core.

After a morning orientation of the area I paid a visit to the Waikiki Aquarium and a variety of strange-looking undersea life, including the world’s only captive specimens of the nautilus, a species millions of years old. Not content with joining the thousands of other tourists hanging out at the beach, I opted instead to check out Honolulu’s consumer culture, and do some people watching along the way.

The many Japanese visitors to the island give the scenery a welcome break from everything U.S.A. They may be naught but Asian hicks themselves (if there is such a thing), but seeing their game shows on my hotel room TV and their Pocari Sweat soft drinks in neighbourhood variety stores brought back fond memories of my trips to Japan and China. But when cultures collide at the huge Ala Moana Shopping Center, it is the Japanese department stores that must bow to the likes of Macy’s and JCPenny.

As for Polynesian culture, I’m way ahead of ya. Stay tuned!

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