The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Some of you have been here, some haven’t. I’m lucky enough to be a Canadian who gets to call the island of Hawaii home. Hawaii is an amazing place to live and work. It’s also a place unto itself, with unique cultural trappings that separate it from the rest of the USA and the rest of the world. I’ve compiled a quick list of quirks that make Hawaii unique for me.


Ho brah, if go Hawaii, pidgin is da kine. Drop some letters. Drop some prepositions. Add in some Hawaiian words and phrases, and you’ve got pidgin. I love it. Pidgin has its own accent, grammar and syntax. Pidgin is just mo bettah. Google it if you’re interested, because hearing it is the only way to get an idea of the glory that is pidgin.

Flip flops

Or slippahs as they’re called here. You can pick up a pair of slippahs for $3.99 or get fancy ones for $20 if you want to go for that “dressy” look. Wear them anywhere: weddings, funerals, job interviews; that first meeting with an important client. No occasion is too formal for slippahs - I made the mistake of showing up to a meeting wearing shoes and socks…we almost didn’t get the job.

Cooler Luggage

Forget Samsonite. Igloo dominates the luggage market in Hawaii. Wait for your luggage at any Hawaiian airport and you’re guaranteed to spot coolers inching around the carousel. Taped up, slapped with “inspected” stickers, stinking of fish. And no one, no Hawaiian anyways, bats an eye. If a state could have an object instead of a flower or bird, Hawaii’s state object would be the cooler.

Big Trucks

No, not big like Canadian farm truck big, I’m talking big like frickin’ huge, like you need a stepladder to get into it big. If big trucks could have a paradise, it would be Hawaii. In fact, I think I saw Gravedigger on the road just the other day.


Recent studies show that our perception of time is truly relative and dependent on task and mood. We all knew this anyways, that’s why that last hour on Friday takes forever, while the last few hours of Sunday night fly by. In Hawaii, everyone and everything is on Hawaiian time. Need something in a hurry? Good luck. Disregard for time must be one of the main reasons people are so happy here. I can’t imagine going back to the hectic pace of mainland life.


In my line of work we use a lot of consultants. The criteria used for their selection is different in Hawaii than it is on the mainland. Do they return phone calls? Check. Will they respond to an email? Check. Hired! Don’t bother with quality of work, meeting deadlines, etc. “What you after here, brah? No can work like that.” And in case you were wondering, the surf being up is a valid reason for missing a meeting. I have to admit it’s an infectious way of doing business. Who knows what I’ll be like after 10 years?


There’s a ton of things that make Hawaii unique, but Hawaii wouldn’t be Hawaii without the locals. Their openness to outsiders and welcoming nature are as much what Hawaii is as the beautiful beaches and cascading waterfalls. The scenery is what draws people in, but Hawaii’s people make it the land of Aloha. So a big shout out to all my Hawaiian braddahs.


Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

It sounds like heaven! Flip-flops and coolers is the two long weekends Canadians can carve out of their vocational momentum. To think it could be a year-round thing... Sigh...

Tue Jul 08, 11:11:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Oh, I want to be! We've made a few trips, including one to the big island a few years ago. Gotta get there this winter.

Tue Jul 08, 12:47:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Come on down! Anytime you want. All CWCers are welcome at chez Gajadhar.

Tue Jul 08, 05:33:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger T. Lee said...

This is not the Hawaii I saw; I much prefer yours! Mine had cockroaches the size of windjammmers. Arrogant things, too.

Mon Jul 14, 01:05:00 am GMT-4  

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