Hawaii -- Don't go!

Having just got back from Maui and Kona, I’m gonna echo these sentiments. The Islands are really stressed from a tourist infrastructure standpoint and there is a pretty significant level of fatigue among locals.

Interesting… I got back from a week in Maui just this past week…

I made it a point to chat with the coffee barista, the shaved ice maker, the restaurant server, etc etc… about how things are going…
Overall they really want the tourism… it sustains their livelihood… They do want more patience as things are a bit slower, staffing a bit less, kinda the same issue anywhere else right now… but they really are glad things are up and running again. They just want things done safely, people to mask up, etc.
Btw - what i saw was very strict/compliant masking. everywhere in doors, even some outdoors… some people were jogging on the beach boardwork, in that heat, with a mask on… In the hotel gyms, it was all masks etc…

On an experience side - I did not feel things were any busier in Maui than the times we went before covid. Some restaurants were harder to book sure, but that’s more due to 50% capacity constraints. Also on person there mentioned that b/c restaurants etc are more constrained, you see more people in the parks/beaches b/c they buy food truck food and picnic out, which makes sense. so there’s some trickling down effect… but yah overall the restaurants once seated, the grocery store, the roads, etc… not any busier than any previous visits.

Interestingly no one, (like not one person) i chatted with said “oh yah, it’s so crowded… or it’s over tourism” etc… Granted, i do recognize what i wrote here are all anecdotal evidence… not science/data backed trends etc…

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How sad what has happened in Hawaii!
From the start the state which is predominantly Asian population and
therefore accustomed to the culture of wearing a mask - and the Asian
population which is custom to think of the group - the groups well being.

We kept the COVID numbers down. For the entire state 100 cases per day
over all 7 islands went on for a year or so?
Visitors obviously have a very different view of life, COVID, mask wearing -
From the start of COVID in 2020, UNTIL July 2021 those numbers fluctuated
very little.
What was it that in July the incidence of infections skyrocketed up to 600+ each day?
August 31 - 884 new cases reported!
The state is only 55% fully vaccinated,
Today the Honolulu Liquor commission sent us a notice - a vaccination certificate will be
required as of September 13. This will be only for the island of Oahu - for now, .
I would expect to see other islands follow.

A patron cannot enter the premise without showing the vaccination certificate.
Sales, service and consumption of liquor for “on-premise” establishments to be cut off at 10 PM.

My customers have shared with me the difficulty they are experiencing keeping their businesses and
employee’s going with the 50% allowed of customer occupancy.

The people of Hawaii are very pleased for any continued visitors and understand reluctance.

Septembers can be beautiful weather through-out the state.

I imagine their are some outstanding ‘travel deals.’

Be safe and careful…

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Hawaii is a victim of its own success early on w COVID. We specifically chose it because they were being so responsible.

As far as deals go, William… good luck. We ended up using Turo because rental cars were unavailable entirely on Kauai and were super expensive on Maui and the Big Island.

Tours and restaurants were, as Mark says, limited to 50% at first and subsequently to a max group size.

People were for the most part friendly, especially folks who rely on tourism dollars. But we saw a big “Haole Go Home” sign outside Volcanoes NP and other similar signs on cars and (understandably) at the Saddle road Mauna Kea turnoff where the native folks had set up their camps in protest of the new telescope. We saw lots of Kanaka Maoli bumper stickers and big trumpy Kanaka Maoli flags flying from balconies and pickup trucks.

Drivers along the Hana Road appreciated that you’d yield but there was still a LOT of exasperation/anger at tourist drivers. At one hairpin turn as we waited for a school bus driver ahead of us to convince a long line of cars to back up, I asked a local in a pickup how many times a week this happened. His answer was a simmering “every day”. I yielded to oncoming traffic nearly every time if it was 50/50 and maybe the only time I decided to quickly follow the 2 cars in front of me across the bridge, I waved a thank you Shaka and got the finger in response. I wasn’t angry… I totally get it. The guy was just trying to get home from work and he’s tired and he’s just had enough of this shìt.

Maybe after natives had 1970s traffic and crowds for a whole year, this seems even worse to them.

Well that is detailed and does not sound good.
However, you were probably aware of the Hawaiian sacred territorial rights that are being trespassed on and ignored at Mauna Kea.
So you did visit an area that is being disputed for several years.

This does not make sense to me… I do not understand how flying the "Native Hawaiian people flag " is Trumpy? I cannot imagine that there is any support by that group for Trump.
Are you certain the anger on The Road to Hana was from locals?
That would be really out of character… for a local…

I hope you had good interactions as I’ve always found the “Spirit of Aloha” is real …

“Trumpy” as in those giant flags MAGA people drive around with. It’s an aesthetic/usage comparison rather than a political one.

Yes, I did drive on the saddle road…That road that gets driven by more local commuters than tourists. I am aware of the religious and territorial claims.

Yes, they were locals unless visitors drive around towing a trailer filled with lumber and masonry supplies.

Again, the vast majority of people were very warm and welcoming. The spirit of aloha was present every day.

Slightly OT, but I did notice a lot more (especially young) people worshipping in traditional ways than on my previous trips. Maybe it was chance but I saw traditional singing, and offerings being made a bunch of times.

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It’s not just my imagination….

At a news conference last month, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said, “We don’t have the authority to say stop, but we are asking the powers to be to help us.”

Interestingly We drove that too, because we forgot the disaster that is the road to Hana and thought our kids would like the black sand beach.
Anyhow drove it backwards and around 3pm, thankfully, it was clear sailings on the front side of RtH! I think I waited on one or two stops. The rest just sail right through. I can imagine in the morning going towards Hana, it’s a shit show. :joy:

But yah. Drive it backwards. Or just avoid rth it’s not worth it.

We drove counter clockwise too. Very glad we did. Traffic was great until maybe Wai’anapanapa State Park?

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I did a tasting with about a dozen locals yesterday and I shared some of the views expressed here and I’m embarrassed to share that these ‘typical locals’ had the same animosity and sentiment. I’m really out of touch. If I found that attitude to be common - I’d leave and no longer call Hawaii home after more than 35 years here. I guess my opinions were quite naivete.

We went to the Big Island in late March for similar reasons (seemed like the safest place to vacation). Sad to hear things have gone south. My two cents would be that the governor should require vaccination to travel to the islands, and also turn up the heat locally (sounds like that is starting to happen) to drive up vaccinations.

W- Was it mostly fatigue/frustration or more nativist?

J- You currently do have to be vaccinated to travel to HI unless you live there as a permanent resident. I think the state has done a great job getting buy-in throughout but there were mask protests in a couple places.

I can feel the awful decline in the air.
We are organizing a dinner in Waikiki for 6, (if folks are familiar with Michel’s at the Colony Surf)
our long time French restaurant with a absolute picturesque setting on Waikiki Beach,
a fantastic view of the sunset, and most importantly open air.

The restaurant is struggling with the 50% allowed requirement,

Ask a good client who is the mngr/buyer for fine wine outlets through out the state -
just yesterday he told me business is down by 40% since last month on the outer islands.

i can feel it…

How is it possible so many other countries have found a way to control this and the U.S. cannot.



The whole Hawaii sovereign thing is interesting to me. Clearly many issues regarding native rights have been handled poorly and should be improved but the idea strikes me as fancifully as Texas seceding, with much less geopolitical insight. If the US were to somehow leave the natives would be advised to brush up on their Mandarin, and quickly.

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You know the natives do not bother much with events and politics on matters beyond where our land ends.
Even with this tremendous inter-continental elevated high-speed road way which may end up directly connected to
Beijing or perhaps California.

Had dinner last night at THE local landmark French restaurant in Waikiki,
MICHEL’s at the Colony Surf.
Prior to entering the restaurant -we were met in the outer hallway, our local I.D. was inspected
along with our vaccination certificate.
During dinner we were handed a document - whom & how - to contact should later there be a discovery of COVID that evening.

Freedom spelled “selfishness”…