The Other Honolulu

deadcockThe styrofoam cup of Tequila next to me continues to devour the ice cubes I feed it. I purchased the bottle from a smiling hawaiian shirt clad lady in the lobby, which left me feeling like she is pretty successful at what she does, which isn’t hard, selling booze to tired travelers who just got in from the heat. Despite the pleasantries of cold agave on a hot day, I can not think of a worse beverage to accompany our dinner of strip mall sushi. Welcome to old Honolulu.

We didn’t expect to find ourselves here, away from the glamour I can imagine on Waikiki beach, but we literally just landed here after driving the whole way around O’ahu. Our hotel has that charming “old vegas” vibe, like staying at The Flamingo, while the Luxor flashes in all it glory across the street. Our building is full of the tacky grandeur of yesteryears. Furn printed footpaths surrounded by flower adored curtains, and every sentiment of beige. This whole building exists from a time when it was practical to have 350 rooms, stacked between the freeway, airport and industrial district. At at a time when “classy” hotels planners positioned the restaurant next to the slightly dilapidated pool.

planeOur fellow patrons seemed to be an instant margarita mix of working class people, hustlers and families with too many kids. Outside, a 5 lanes of highway seemed to run up and down the coast line like tracks on a junky’s arm. A small group of fellows chat softly, outside our window, the smell of marijuana hanging  strange  between them in the humid air. The cars on the highway and the planes landing serve as their background music.

Meanwhile, the label on the bottle of tequila swears it’s from the futile hillsides of Guadalajara but it smells like it’s from mexico city. I take a few sips and decide it is better to just go to bed. A motorcycle’s engine whines into the top of 3 gear. A 737 lands from Tokyo and my eyes close instantly.


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