Although most posts won’t be like this, I write to you from sunny Hawaii where I am attending a family wedding, and hanging out with relatives that I haven’t seen in a million years because, well, they live in Hawaii.
All of that aside, Hawaii is a pretty amazing place, but one can’t help but suffer a little culture shock. Incomprehensible accents and crazy surfer slang are the tip of the iceberg.
Hawaii is a group of 5 islands in the middle of the pacific ocean. Like, THE MIDDLE. Its basically on the opposite side of the planet from New York. Which, needless to say, made me feel a little guilty every time someone from work called.
The island we stay on (also home to Mr Obama) is Oahu, and my family live in Kailua (also home to Mr Obama). I picked up this lovely item there:
I could go on a whole rant about Hawaii, and how much it has changed, and how its now a wall-marty paradise, and how very little of the old Hawaii exists any more, but that isn’t super interesting. Nor is it really my business.
But, aside from awesome Obama paraphernalia, great beaches, and my family, one other experience really stood out. This was the visit to Shangri La, the Hawaii home of Doris Duke. Long Story short, Duke was essentially the richest person in America when she inerited her fortune at the age of 12. She became obsessed with Islamic Art on her honeymoon with her first husband, and obsessed with Hawaii at the end of her honeymoon when she met her hawaiian surfer lover Duke Kahanamoku. At any rate, over time she built this HUGE mansion, filled with islamic artifacts (real and fake, the tour guide proudly told us that the camels flanking the door were bought at a local department store), in which to hide out. Now its a museum. Kind of. You go in a private bus on the tour, and an only see a few of the rooms. And they tell you nothing about her hilariously sordid life. Theres definitely something weird going on with the whole situation.
So, I leave you with this photo of the exterior of the “playhouse” at Shangri La, one of the few I was allowed to take.