Monday, March 16, 2009

MTM: In Bed With an Elephant

Click on photos to enlarge!Hawaiian Rainbows

"Don't buy the house. Buy the neighborhood,"
Russian Saying

Welcome to the HHV!

“Love thy neighbor--and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.”
Mae West

Wedding pictures at the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon.

Hilton Rainbow Tower behind.

That is the world's tallest tile mural.

"Canada, in sharing a border with the USA" is like a mouse in bed with an elephant." Anonymous

Some people want to live adjacent to a college campus. I live next door to the 12th largest resort in the world. This "campus" boasts the largest number of rooms at any resort in the State of Hawaii with 3,543 total. Of these 2,860 are traditional hotel rooms, 639 are time share, and 44 (in the Diamond Head Rainbow Apartments) may be rented by the month.

Welcome to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa!

When Duke Kahanamoku grew up here, folks still knew the area as Kalia, an age-old Hawaiian fishing village. Further down the beach were primitive tourist accommodations like Gray's Cottages (where Earl DeBiggers spent a summer, and found his most famous character: Charley Chan in local newspaper reports of the exploits of Honolulu Police detective Chang Apana).

In the Fifties, the early TV detective show, Hawaiian Eye, was filmed here. Remember Cricket (Connie Stevens) singing to the tourists, and local taxi driver Ponci Ponce playing his ukulele at the curb? Robert Conrad was the young "heart throb" of the show. All of the kitchey tiki paraphernalia has long since been purged. Pity. Arthur Godfrey (forgotten today - but BIG back in the day) sometimes broadcast from here. "How ah ya? How ah ya? How ah ya?" he said, mixing the magic name, "Hawaii," with "How-are-you;" pretty clever to a young kid (me). He too played the ukulele, and my earliest memories of Hawaiian Music are from hearing guests perform on his radio broadcasts. When I moved here, certain strangely familiar Hawaiian Classics gave me an unearthly memory of "small kid times." Part of my soul was here all along...

In the sixties, industrialist mastermind, Henry Kaiser, owned the property and prevailed on Buckminster Fuller to build one of his geodesic domes here. I walked past it many many times as long lines of visitors waited outside to be seated within for the dinner show. Today, the fountain with the three hula dancers (photo above) replaces the dome and welcomes visitors to Waikiki...

President JFK visited, as have many, many world personalities. I remember Bill Clinton drawing enthusiastic crowds to the lagoon, and George Bush rushing past less enamored crowds in his motorcade as he retreated to a closed fund raiser inside - or was it Cheyney?

The HHV is a small city unto itself. Almost daily, I walk down her beach, through her lobby, past her art, admire her carp, and over-hear her guests speak languages from around the world. Popular with corporations and conventions, the grounds often host grand private "events" with entertainment by famous artists. One of the high points of my life was presenting a paper about my work with youth to the annual meeting here of the Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists in 2001. A pleasant memory to conjure as I "schlep" through dressed like a bum, and covered in sweat on a hot day. . .

So this is my neighborhood. From my scow, I mean 'boat' I can see the bright windows of world-class hotel suites. There's no place like home!

A L O H A! Coudia