Prince Kuhio Day:
It is one of only two holidays in the United States dedicated to royalty, the other being Hawai'i's King Kamehameha Day June 11.
It's a big deal too. It's a day off regardless of the day of the week. Most holidays get shifted to the nearest Monday or Friday in order to be more convenient for businesses. But people are out for PKD no matter when it falls.
Only three states existed as independent republics prior to joining the U.S.: Vermont, Texas, and Hawaii.
Unrelated to Hawaii, a unique work-related experience happened to me. I had to move 107 records from an Excel file into a database. It took a lot of massaging of the data to match the structure in the database.
But when I tried to import the data, it worked. Without error. The first time.
That never happens. Nothing like that ever works the first time. There is always a missing semi-colon or un-escaped apostrophe or something equally trivial that causes the import to stick.
It's possible, slightly, that I now have enough experience that I don't make the sorts of mistakes that result in errors for this kind of thing. But my guess is that I just got lucky.
I couldn't get a good photo as a I stood on the upper dune overlooking Hilo Bay. It was dusk and a skyscraper-sized cruise ship was turning around the end of the breaker wall while 8 or so outrigger canoes, with 6 paddlers in each one, raced laps closer to shore. Seeing the two types of boat sharing the same body of water struck me as an apt metaphor for this place. The out-of-towners, mostly white, in a position of affluent distance, relying on technology and a hired crew to move them from one side of the island to another, removed from the worst (but also some of the best) aspects of Hawaii and the Big Island. And the locals, mostly of mixed Asian descent, much closer to the Earth, working hard, using an ancient traditional method to go back and forth over the same short distance.
Leaf blowers are, unfortunately, very common here, especially around banks and government buildings. In this climate, tree-trimming, leaf and yard-waste removal is a year-round effort, but the blowers are unmuffled and really a nuisance. At only one non-residential building have I ever seen someone remove leaves with a rake and broom: at the Hilo Betsuin, one of the local Buddhist temples. I suppose this is in keeping with their stated focus on simplicity and respect for others. Amid the din of their neighbors' leaf-blowers, it was refreshing to see someone take the same amount of time with a broom to accomplish the same goal. I think I understand a little better the appeal that Buddhism has for some Americans - those who wish for a return to a quieter, simpler existence.
There's a guy living in a U-Haul truck by Bayfront Park. It's one of those $19.99/day rentals and he has all his stuff in there. Clean public bathrooms with showers are plentiful here, and I've seen him cooking dinner over a little grill. So although his place is small, he basically has a mobile oceanfront apartment for ~$600/month.
Leisure is an important part of life here - more than anywhere I've ever been - and I think that helps explain why this is also the only place I've been where so many men play with remote-control vehicles. It's very common to see a middle-aged guy in a park, controlling a car or an airplane. In any other state I think the guy would be seen as a loser or an eccentric at best. Here it's just something to do on a pleasant evening.
The poorer you are (to a point), the bigger your car (or truck). The richer you are, the smaller your car.
I want to live in a place that has an active "Maker" community, a place that does "circuit-bending" and other STEM-style activities to take the kids. Hilo has Hawaii Tech Works (http://easthawaii.org/program-areas/hawaiitechworks/) and the local Ace hardware used to have science demos every Sunday. But there just isn't enough population here and the weather is too good to sustain the kinds of clubs that conduct indoor activities.
In small towns with crummy weather you can have book clubs and quilting groups and cooking clubs etc. and you can have those things in big cities regardless of weather. But in towns under 100,000 or so that have good weather people are outside. They have fun and do stuff with other people while fishing, swimming, paddleboarding, etc.
I don't like crummy weather, but if I want to live in a smaller city and have a community of indoor-activity enthusiasts, it can only be in a place with crummy weather.
The people who move here prioritize weather.
We all have priorities. There are 20 or so facets of life that get prioritized consciously or not.
Some put work above friends, often indirectly. They may not intend it, but if they take a job one place and live in a home that is an hour and a half away, they aren't going to have time in the evening to spend with friends.
Some put family before job, meaning they have time together but not much money.
Some put religion before family, resulting in aloof relationships.
The people who move here prioritize weather.
The second priority is what distinguishes them as one group or another. Militant veganism is one secondary priority. Surfing and other water activity is another.
Some even prioritize career, ambition, and making money, although they seem like a small minority. It's that priority that seemed to define most New Yorkers, though. They certainly weren't there for the weather or water sports.
I like good weather. And in fact I can say truthfully that I hate bad weather. Yet avoiding cold weather isn't my top priority. I've met so many people here and in Florida and in southern California that hate cold weather. That's what defines them and that is the only thing they have in common with their neighbors.
I want to live in a place where what I have in common with my neighbors is a little deeper than a common dislike of snow.
Living here for (only!) 25 weeks has been like living in a metaphor. The phrases I use about our time here sound a lot like descriptions of mortality: e.g. "We don't have much time left so let's make the most of it"
What this has meant is that I've tried harder to do something interesting every day. It's not realistic to "live each day as if it were your last" because on your last day of life you wouldn't have to go to the bank or wash the dishes or think about how much dinner costs.
The lesson I've taken, that I hope to follow from now on, is to do something memorable each day.
It doesn't have to be unique, and most of the day can still be spent working, running errands, raising the kids, but as long as I go somewhere new or see something beautiful, or have a new or particularly good experience (i.e. novelty or pleasure) then I've lived in the spirit of carpe diem.
Driving a white minivan: boo!
Driving a white minivan to a volcano: yay!
I learned a fact about tsunamis. They stink horribly.
The water that goes into a wave comes primarily from the part of ocean just ahead of the crest; a trough appears because there is a wave behind it.
So a very large wave, such as a tsunami, takes an enormous amount of water just ahead of the crest.
People who have experienced tsunamis say they know when one is imminent because the water level at the shore starts droppping quickly, like a sped-up ebb tide.
A tsunami that is large enoughtakes so much water ahead of itself that the ocean floor is sometimes exposed - all the muck that has sat at the bottom of the ocean for decades or longer is suddenly exposed to the air and the stench can be smelled from a mile away.
A chicken has moved into the parking lot at our building. It has taken control over the bushes surrounding the pavement. A mynah bird has been pestering the chicken for a while, but the chicken always manages to chase it off.
A few people have come by to try and catch it and they have all failed in an entertaining way.
I think it may actually be a rooster. It looks like a chicken but it crowed today in a weak version of ER-er-ER-er-ERRRRRR.
Can chickens exhibit male behavior when no other males are around?
I remember my basic mai tai recipe (or what I call a mai tai) as "2-1-2" which is also the area code for Manhattan (at least before the proliferation of connected devices allowed the addition of "6-4-6").
2 parts sour mix or mai tai mix. (I like to use plain passionfruit juice, which is effectively concentrated fruit juice, but
sour mix is fine.) To make your own mix that doesn't taste of malic acid and fructose corn syrup, mix equal parts brown sugar, water and lime/lemon juice. A cup of turbinado sugar mixed with a cup of water makes simple syrup, and adding a cup of sour fruit juice (such as lime) makes a very good sour mix.
1 part dark rum. I tried the Maui dark rum and it was good, but maybe too dark. Even mixed in a sweet cocktail, I could taste the wood sap of the aging. So a conventional dark rum is probably better.
2 parts seltzer or ginger ale if the run is string-tasting and you need to sweeten it a bit.
Serve over lots of ice
We use coin-operated washing machines and go through a lot of quarters - sometimes a few dozen in a week. Most of the quarters I see are state quarters, with a different U.S. state represented on the back. And many others are the new ones that depict different national parks.
Most of the state quarters I see are for Hawaii (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2008_HI_Proof.png), which suggests to me that state quarters are released to banks in the relevant state, although I don't know that.
And most of the national park quarters (officially named, "America the Beautiful" quarters) I see are for the Volcanoes Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2012-ATB-Quarters-Unc-Hawaii.jpg).
Excluding those, however (as well as the plain old eagle obverse ones), I get a bit of a picture of where our fellow money-users have been. For example, almost all of the other America the Beautiful quarters I've seen show Denali park in Alaska. Many tourists are here after visiting Alaska, and I've met many Alaskans who spend the Winter in Hawaii. The only other one I've seen is Acadia park in Maine.
For state quarters, the most common one after Hawaii is Nevada. And that seems to be the most popular destination for Hawaiians looking for work on the mainland. After Nevada, the most common quarter has been Virginia, but that probably has less to do with my theory and more to do with how money moves - and is past the point of significance anyway.
There are also a surprising number of "drummer boy" quarters from 1976. I thought people collected those. Their presence could be a sign of how American history isn't as big of a deal here. Or maybe it's a sign of how old stuff tends to linger here.
I don't know anyone's surname here, and I don't think they know mine. Things operate on a first-name basis
Too many modern baby names are titles of jobs at renaissance fairs:
fletcher, cooper, mason, archer, tanner
One of the (numerous) advantages of "having" to take the bub to the beach every day is that my feet haven't been this healthy in years if nogt decades. The salt water and sand exfoliation have made them look and feel better than I can remember.
Another advantage is that watching the surf wash in and move sand around is a great focus for musing over life's questions.
Today's conclusion is that The Butterfly Effect is hogwash.
The concept (first conceived, or at least written down, by Edward Lorenz) is that a single flap of a butterfly's wings could cause a hurricane weeks later.
Even if we disregard such a bold hypothetical scenario, the concept is appealing, especially when looking over longer spans of time. "If Caesar had crossed the Rubicon one day later, would Hitler have still risen to power nearly two millenia later?"
But watching the beach has taught me that most small changes to the environment are marginalized to the point of insignificance by larger forces.
I can dig a big hole in the sand but after a few waves come in, the hole is obliterated and the beach looks the same as before. Individual grains of sand are in different places had I not interfered, but the beach as a whole is completely unaffected, and certainly no hurricane will or will not exist because of my actions.
Human beings can have an impact on the world and on future events, but the initial action has to be huge, such as an oil spill.
It's narcissistic to believe that our small actions have any effect on the world.
Living in Hawaii has also been a lesson in economics. Part of why the economy is depressed here is that people just don't need as many goods or services here. There is no market for heating oil or boots or building insulation or any other thing related to cold weather.
In cold climates there is a lot of demand for things related to being cold, and not just hot drinks but all of the infrastructure required to serve people hot drinks. As long as people here are content to simply sit outside and eat home-cooked meals, the economy here cannot rival that of northern states.
The tides here are not as significant as they are on the mainland. I realize that it's because when the tides move in along a continent, they have nowhere to go but up. While in the islands, the water just moves around the bits of land forthe most part.
There was obviously a boom time in Hilo in the early 1930s and another in the early 1970s but there seems to be have been little investment into infrastructure since then. The buildings all seem to date from the 70s and have not been maintained. So many towns suffer from overly aggressive real estate development that adds some extra local property tax dollars for a few years and then becomes an eyesore and/or a slum. But Hilo could use a bit more development.
It's odd to see tourists come in and many of them are obviously disappointed that there isn't more to do. This is the first stop in Hawaii for many of the cruise ships and people have money that they want to spend, but can't find ways to spend it.
Actually, the 1890s were a boom time as well, which suggests that there's an economic boom here every 40 years and there should be one happening right now. Or maybe it's just around the corner...
The 1920s were an interesting time for Hawaii. It was effectively an American colony, still decades away from statehood and it was during this "landrush" period that many families built the foundations of the many mini-empires that now dot the island.
It was also a time when the US was trying to hold on to Hawaii however it could because of its strategic military position, and they did not want an independent Hawaii, nor did they want England or France to reassert their claims.
So they enacted the Jones Act
which said that all shipments to Hawaii had to come from the US, in US ships, manned by US crews. This kept Hawaii dependent on the US.
It also had the consequence of making prices high to this day. Unlike other U.S. ports, the ports of Hawaii are unable to receive cargo ships from, for example, China, even though this would be an obvious stopping point on the way to California, for refueling if for no other reason.
In fact, given Hawaii's unique place on the globe, if it weren't for the Jones Act, goods would probably be cheaper here than anywhere else.
Walked over the Mehana Brewery the other day: http://hawaiinuibrewing.com/
Not a long walk although I had to go on a few side roads that didn't have sidewalks - not a big deal but less ideal with a stroller.
My favorite of theirs is the Tsunami IPA but they didn't have that. They had their other 6 available for tasting. Tasting is free and they give generous 3oz pours for each taste.
I got a growler of the Hapa Brown.
I asked where they got their ingredients and the lady said they'd like to grow as much of their own as possible but Hawaii regards hops as an invasive species (it takes over like kudzu once it takes root) so they import the hops from New Zealand orthe mainland.
I appreciate protecting the environment here from invasive species, but there seem to be many many examples of regulations that end up hurting small businesses.
Saw a woman driving while eating today - with chopsticks
Finally got a new pair of sneakers.
Mike, the guy at the Sports Authority was very nice and helpful - like most people I've met who work in retail here. He's a marathon runner and I got more and better advice on selecting a sneaker than I have ever before.
Went to the Mauna Kea visitor center the other night night.
We thought of making it all the way to the top, to the telescopes we can see from our window, but that is at 14,000 feet of elevation and we were warned to not take that trip with a little one. Driving from sea level to that height (over 2 & 1/2 miles upward) can essentially cause "the bends" which divers can get if they surface too quickly, and can damage the less developed eardrums of young children.
We made the mistake of visiting when the Moon was nearly full, it was easily bright enough to read by, but so bright that it masked the light from stars and there wasn't really much to see.
Also it was very cold up there. It was around 80° at the shore, but 34° at the visitor center (from the bottom we could see snow at the peak last week). It's been a long time since any of us has had to experience that kind of cold.
I call it a Laotian cocktail since the ingredients come from the trees of a woman from Laos:
- Juice of 1 grapefruit, strained
- Juice of 2 tangerines, strained
- Juice of 1/2 lemon, strained
- 1/4 cup rum
mix and serve over ice
The grapefruits have so much more juice than the other fruits, and the tangerines this year aren't so sweet. So next time I'll try 3 tangerines
A few years ago we visited the town of Hawi in the north and it was such a charming visit that it cemented the idea that we would move here. We made a point of visiting the town and were surprised how uncharming it was on this visit. What had seemed quaint now seemed run-down and what had seemed interesting now seemed like a tourist trap. There was something inauthentic about the town that I didn;t notice when I was just a visitor here. Now it seems to risk becoming the ultimate insult to any Hawaiian town: an outpost of southern California.
We hung out in Pahoa this afternoon and it was a striking comparison, less pretentious and expensive than Hawi. I think we made the right choice to live in Hilo, though.
The bub's words so far:
- Tomato ("day-doh")
- Helicopter ("ekicoker")
And some others, almost one new one each day
This destroys my earlier theory that his first words would be about actions rather than things. Nouns are clearly the most fundamental aspect of language, at least for him.
He also says 'hot', suggesting that attributes of nouns (adjectives) are the next most fundamental aspect of language
He repeats some other words, but these are the ones he says frequently, without prompting.
Unlike other kids his age, he has no word for clock (and often toddlers' pronunciation of the word is memorable) and I realize it's because we don't have clocks displayed.
In the old house we had a highly visible clock in almost every room. Here, sunrise and sunset are the two most important times of day and everything else is done by the clock of our stomachs.
Went to the Kalapana viewing area to look for lava just before dusk but all we could see was steam from the vents. Part of the problem is that the last big flow in January ate about 2 1/2 miles of road so instead of driving we would have had to hike over the lava field, which is not practical with a stroller.
On the other hand, the full moon rose while we waited for dark, and that image was so striking that the trip was worth it for that alone.
Met a guy who's grandfather moved here from Portugal. He explained that it wasn't just Asian laborers who were brought over to work the sugar cane fields, but many Portuguese as well. His grandfather didn't like the hard work of working the cane fields and was looking for other opportunities. He noticed that families typically buried their dead without coffins, partly due to tradition and partly due to lack of coffins. So he became a coffin-builder.
He also explained that the reason prices in Hilo are low is because the port is here. Elsewhere on the island and in the state requires yet more shipping and trucking, which adds to the cost.
One of my price benchmarks is one of my favorite cheeses, Humboldt Fog by Cypress Grove. In Decatur, GA I found it for $24.99/lb and thought it was a good price. In Delaware I've seen it for nearly $40/lb and in New York City for around $29/lb. I can walk to a place in Hilo that sells it for $21/lb.
Tried the Kōloa dark rum from Kaua'i
Very nice. Quite sweet, almost a caramel liqueur
Given the heritage of sugar plantations here, I'm surprised there aren't more rum distilleries
When you strum a ukulele in standard tuning without any fingers on the fretboard, you get an a-minor 7th chord (GCEA) which is a chord that manages to be happy and sad at the same time.
Compare that with almost every other stringed instrument, which make a more dissonant chord (uaully e-minor 11th) when playing all the open strings. The exception is the banjo, which makes a solid G-Major
There is some kind of music revue show in town and the performers have so much makeup on that I can't tell whether it's a drag show or not.
I guess that probably means that it is.
There don't seem to be any uniquely Hawaiian Thanksgiving traditions. People here have turkey and stuffing and squash and cranberry sauce, etc. There is also usually rice because there is always rice at every big family meal. But that's true in parts of the south as well.
Hawaii does not fluoridate its water, mostly due to the general fear of governmental intervention that is prevalent here.
But I discovered that the water in Hilo has quite a lot of naturally occurring fluoride. According to the local water department, samples taken in 2009 and 2012 show, respectively, 0.46ppm and 0.50ppm.
Tracy says the literature suggests that water with less than 0.3ppm of fluoride should be augmented. So we shouldn't need to worry.
Wells are a common way of getting water in many rural parts of the mainland. Here, catchment is much more common. Wells are difficult since most of the island is effectively bedrock at the surface, and there is nothing to drill to. Also, the heavy amount of rain throughout the year means plenty of fresh water as long as you have a way to collect it.
I am now able to walk around outside without thinking, "HOLY COW, I LIVE IN HAWAII!" every few minutes
The past few days have been damp and rainy, each day more humid than the previous one, which ruins my fantasy that this town isn't really as damp and rainy as people say. Today I saw several mosquitoes behind the apartment - possible now that there is standing water since the puddles don't have time to dry out - ruining a second fantasy that there aren't as many mosquitoes here as in other warm places.
Fortunately, the damp weather only lasted a couple of days and the good weather has returned. And the mosquitoes only stick around with the rain.
A fascinating article about "wayfinding", explaining how ancient Polynesians were able to navigate around an area that is 1/3 of the surface of the earth.
"Some stars are special. To see why, we need to remember that as stars rise and set, some follow northerly arcs and others southerly arcs. Only the special zenith star passes directly through the line of your erect spine. The gold-orange Arcturus does this at the latitude of Hawaii because it’s the same degree north of the equator as Hawaii is. Arcturus, called Hokulea 'star of joy' in Hawaiian, points the way to Hawaii because Hawaii is the only Pacific island directly beneath it. So Hokulea is a 'guiding light' for native Hawaiians, much as the Star of Bethlehem is for Christians. Other stars are guiding lights to other islands: Sirius to Tahiti and Spica to Samoa."
The grammatical rule about not splitting infinitives is silly.
For example, "Not to plan" is subtly, but definitely, distinct from "To not plan".
The former suggests a passivity on the part of the subject, as though you forgot to plan.
The latter suggests intent.
There is a McDonald's in Hilo. It is attractively and understatedly designed and it fits well into the local architecture. They have some additions to the menu that take local tastes into account. Specifically, they offer 3 "local breakfast" options: 1] eggs, spam, and rice; 2] eggs, portuguese sausage, and rice; & 3] eggs, both spam & portuguese sausage, and rice.
Portuguese sausage is popular here, and one of the vestiges of Portuguese contact from hundreds of years ago (guns and sweet bread being two other obvious ones)
Went to a Chinese cemetery up on Ululani st today. It dates back to the 1870s and is striking in how weathered many of the stones are. The tropical weather has made 125-year-old gravestones look older than some of the colonial-era stones I've seen in Boston.
I was in line behind a deaf couple at the KTA (the main grocery store here, first opened in 1916) on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. They were clearly buying food for their big meal. The store was crowded and noisy with shoppers and the two of them had a long, involved, silent conversation about what to get. KTA was selling pumpkin pies for $5.99 and they had spent a few minutes looking them over before selecting one. At the cashiers, their selection of food was very modest: the pie, a small tray of 'poke' tuna (poke is essentially the same as ceviche in Latin American cooking, and is a common way of preserving fish in a little bit of lemon juice or other acid), and two individually-wrapped mozzarella sticks - one for each of them. I didn't know you could buy mozzarella sticks individually.
While we waited in line, the woman wandered over to the liquor shelf (you can buy hooch at the grocery stores in Hawaii - no archaic blue laws here). She picked up a small bottle of cheap brandy and looked over to show it to the man. He had a little black bag and he fished through the coins in it before looking up at her and shaking his head 'no'. The look of disappointment on her face almost broke my heart.
The public library here is very cute. There is a central courtyard surrounded by the bookstacks and reading tables and chairs with no walls in between. The books are exposed to the open air all day, 365 days a year.
Was careless and I reinjured my sprained foot before it had fully healed - shouldn't have walked around in flip-flops before it was 100%. I need better shoes.
The ocean that separates Hawaii from the mainland represents a kind of achievement for some people - in both directions. Many mainlanders who make it here feel they have succeeded by having collected the resources necessary to make the trip.
And for Hawaiians who say goodbye to their families and land jobs on the mainland (often Las Vegas), crossing the ocean means they have achieved something many of their peers have not.
And so, when I meet a Hawaiian who has come back (and something like 50% of them return within a few years), they act as though they have been defeated. They tried to make a new career and new life in the mainland, but couldn't hack it and have to settle for being back in their hometown. One woman I met did seem to appreciate the irony that her defeat, of a low-key life involving food, family, and perfect weather; evenings spent fishing as the sun sets over the Pacific, was a victory for many others.
It feels like we've been here a lot longer than 3 weeks, yet it also feels like we just got here.
There is a daily rainbow to the west of us each morning around 8am. Today it lasted for well over an hour, becoming more and less intense over time. I had never seen a rinbow move before, but this one lasted long enough to indirectly watch the Sun's passage upward; the rainbow's transit got lower and lower toward the ground while drifting northward, in exact opposition to the Sun.
There is a libertarian streak to the politics here, but more of the liberal, free-to-be-you-and-me variety. Part of that culture is home-schooling, which I realize now often means no-schooling.
Saw a cardinal at the pool. Didn't know they had those here.
Today was our first real rainy day since getting here, which meant overcast skies and sprinkles on and off for about 5 hours. Considering this town's reputation, we've been lucky so far. The question is whether the past few weeks have been aberrant or typical.
Hawaii, or at least our area of Hilo on the Big Island, is a lot less buggy than the places I've lived in the northeast and mid-Atlantic. In the park, I can sit on the grass and have no ants or other critters come by. Nothing flies near my face, needing to be brushed away. However, the northeast and mid-Atlantic are much less lizard-y. We have not had any problems with the vermin that some complain about in tropical areas: rats & roaches. But we have had 3 geckos appear in the kitchen. They're cute and yellow and seemingly harmless, so I don't mind them.
Saw a duck rape another duck today.
At least, it did not look consensual.
The rapist duck was very ugly.
It took a long time for him to finish.
Maybe because I was watching.
Went to a local craft fair. There were lots of Christmas-themed things that seemed very out of place in the warm humid air with palm trees in the background.
We are not even remotely in the holiday spirit.
Coconut milk here is cheaper than cream, sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, etc. so we're thinking of trying recipes substituting daily with coconut milk.
One thing I tried was what I call Hilo Coffee:
1 cup cold coffee
1 shot dark rum
1 tablespoon honey
1 shot coconut milk
mix well and serve with lots of ice
There is a meteor shower on the 17th but it is cloudy. We're planning a visit to the Mauna Kea observatory where we can see the sky.
Employees at the observatory are a presence in Hilo. I often see bumper stickers with in-jokes such as "Watch out for invisible cows"
It's common to have bright sunshine while it's raining. Sometimes it is a very pleasant sensation to have hot sunshine on my skin while simultaneously being pelted with cool raindrops.
I don't know if there is a name for the phenomenon but I call them sunshowers or rainshine.
I have a theory about why the Hawaiian language has so many fewer consonant sounds than English.
Specifically, the sounds in English that are not in Hawaiian tend to be what are called 'sibilants' or 'fricatives', the hissing sounds such as:
s, z, sh, ch, zh (as in 'pleasure' or 'treasure'), th, v, and f.
Traditionally, there has also not been a distinction between the letters k and t.
What these sounds all have in common is that they are masked by white noise, specifically by the sounds of water moving, the sound of waves.
Imagine being in a longboat a mile from shore and trying to have a conversation with someone 100 feet away in another boat.
It would be very hard to distinguish s from f snd sh, and k from t, and zh from v. As your language evolved, you would have pressure to rely more on the easily distinguished sounds, specifically vowels.
This would explain why the Hawaiian language has so much more distinction between how vowels are pronounced, at least in comparison to English.
Just with 'A' alone, Hawaiian has 'a' (ah), 'aa' (ah ah, the glottal stop is assumed when two adjacent vowels are the same), 'ā' (aah), 'āa' (aah ah), and 'aā' (ah aah).
This dependence on duration is easily explained by the seafaring scenario, where that kind of distiction of tone is more obvious.
The theory could be helped if we looked at different languages and see how they depend on sibilants and vowel duration.
A land-locked country, or one that does not have much of a seafaring tradition, would presumably have more reliance on fricative sounds.
Languages such as German and Arabic seem to fit this description.
I sat beneath a wide, shady tree today and had a thousand thoughts and I didn't write any of them down.
The volcano blueberry (Vaccinium reticulatum) is a favorite food of the nene, the Hawaiian goose. The berries range in color from dark red to pale yellow when ripe.
The lure of polytheism is easy to understand here. I feel the presence of Pele whenever it rains.
It rains at two times of day here: when it's hot and humid and everyone needs a 15-minute cool-down in the middle of the day; or in the middle of the night when everyone is already home and the world needs a good rinse.
This photo collection saves me some effort
We're eating in a lot more but so far what we make at home is significantly cheaper, healthier, and as tasty as we can get out.
At some point we crossed over from not knowing how to prepare tofu to knowing how. Generally, using less oil and salt actually makes everything easier: the tofu and vegetables don't get soggy or break apart or stick.
You can get pork schwarma here - a sign that kailua pork transcends the traditions of middle eastern cooking.
We're drinking lots and lots of iced coffee, sweetened with local honey. I had never thought about honey + coffee, but it's good.
Saw a duck scratching its head with its foot the way a dog does.
The pool here uses barely any chlorine - about as much as when you get tap water that has a faint chlorine smell. It's great for the eyes.
My guess is the tropical sunlight is strong enough to kill most algae or bacteria.
There is mold here after all, and mushrooms - but not at all at the scale seen in the mid-Atlantic
They don't seem to have lightning here, so swimming in the rain is no big deal here.
It seems funny now that we had to leave the pool or pond whenever it started to rain.
Visited the Vietnam memorial which happens to be in the park behind our building. Tasteful, eternal flame. Striking to see the photos of faces of young Asian men who died fighting a war in Asia on behalf of the US.
Made a quart and a half of guacamole for about $2 worth of ingredients. Ate it all in 2 sittings.
Frito-Lay's Scoops are $5.69 at Cost-U-Less and $2.79 at the KTA just a few blocks away.
How I can tell that we're not in a touristy town is that there are no tiki bars here. There is no place I've seen here with moai totems and thatch roofs and torches, that sells cocktails with umbrellas.
Were walking to the gardens when a horse walked out of the jungle. It was white, dirty, with a tattered rope around its neck. It just stared at us. I had nothing to give it so we kept walking.
As in Florida, the 1920s were an important time for development on the big island, as evidenced by the Art Deco lettering on the old Hilo Ironworks building.
I want a boat
Agricultural land on the mainland is prized if it has a lot of topsoil. Part of the legend of European settlers arriving in the plain states was their discovery that that the topsoil was more than a foot thick.
Around Hilo, agricultural land is prized if it has soil at all. The more recent (geologically speaking) lava plains are just rocks with barely anything for a root to grab a foothold in.
So, lilikoi is the same as passionfruit, which explains why I couldn't find any lilikoi in our box of passionfruit.
We've put ourselves on something of an austerity budget, partly to keep us focused on work and partly to keep us from just eating out every meal. There are not a lot of great restaurants, but there are enough good ones and they're nee to us and look interesting enough to make us want to explore them - and we have a small kitchen and a toddler who likes to get into everything. So it would be easy to spend a lot of money eating out, but we'll try to spend our money on the farmers market and limit our restaurant usage to twice per week.
Saturday is when the tourists get off the cruise ships and visit downtown. It hasn't been two weeks but I already feel contempt for the tourists. The streets and stores here are local people's places of business, their homes - but the tourists walk through like it's n experience that they paid for (which they did, although not to the local people) and are disappointed in.
Bought some local honey today. Beekeeping is a popular hobby/industry here, which does not surprise me given all the flowers here. I tasted some that was made exclusively from christmasberry blossoms - very tasty. There was a tasting competition at the bandstand (where all local gatherings seem to take place) of local beekeepers. It reminded me of Vermont except for the palm trees.
Used a porta-potty today. There were a few available and at one was a Buddhist monk, in his red and yellow robes, just stepping out. I assued that the porta-potty that had just been used by a monk would be less nasty than the others so I went in. It may have been less nasty than the others, but it was still nasty.
Someone had made some graffitti inside and below that was written,"Kill the haoles" and then a smiley face next to that. Racism, Hawaii style.
I am sensitive to my being an interloper here. The Hawaiian people's identity is tied to the geography here in a way that no other American group is. Even native American tribes have been displaced to the point where their ancestral homeland is not the place they live now.
I sometimes felt like an interloper when I lived in Harlem, but that has been a largely black neighborhood for only a few generations, and the place is not an essential part of African-American culture. Most American blacks have never even been there. But Hawaii is an essential part of the Hawaiian culture, and I often feel that I'm intruding.
Not having a car may soon be a drag. We are close to exhausting the list of places we can walk to so we are looking at lots of repeat visits to places moving forward.
That is not so bad, but I'm used to having every day be very different, as it's been for the past 4 months, so I'm going to have to adjust to being in the same place for a while.
Went ukulele shopping today. The cheapest were about $45 and the most expensive were a few thousand. They all look very nice, but I want something more like a toy that I can bang around and not have to treat with much care.
In may ways, Hilo is not like Honolulu. There are no ABC stores with macnuts and musubi and cheap ukuleles. The music stores here are serious.