Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kama'aina Cookies

I thought I'd share photos of a mural painted at the inter-island terminal at Honolulu Airport. The now defunct Aloha Airlines commemorated Hawaii of old with this painting. It was impossible to show the entire mural in one shot. I love how it shows the important places on each island using mostly images, not words - cities, fishing villages, volcanoes, ranches, flowers.

It's beautiful and I wish I could have seen Hawaii back then.

But I am in Hawaii of today.

Feeling settled in a new place takes time and certain turning points to establish the "I live here" moment. For me, it happened the day I left physical therapy on Kapi’olani Blvd., drove to the hairdressers to get my hair done and made an appointment to see the dentist. All things I do in a place where I live.

Hawaiians call it kama’aina; a person who lives in Hawaii.

Over on the Big Island, Mark, my sister and her family and I went to dinner at a large hotel on the water. Once we sat down, I handed a box of Honolulu Cookie Company cookies to each of my nieces. They make delicious shortbread cookies in different varieties; coffee, lilikoi, plain dipped in chocolate and coconut, some have fruit in the middle.

After dinner, our waiter, hands full of dishes he had just cleared, nodded to the cookies on the table. “Are those from Big Island Candies?”
I answered, “No, they’re from Honolulu Cookie Company. We live on Oahu and brought them with us.”
He looked at me, lowered his voice and said, “Do you have local ID?”
Mark reached for his wallet. “Why, yes, we do.” I said. “You give Kama’aina discounts?”

The waiter said, “You asked me, right?”
“Right.” I said. "I asked you."

He returned with our dinner bill and gave us a 12% discount. My brother-in-law loved the fact they gave discounts to locals. Everywhere we stopped after that he’d say loudly, in front of our servers, “You guys must really like living here.” Or to the waitperson, “They live here. Don’t they look like they live here?”

We never got a kama’aina rate after that.