Archive for January, 2007

Walk Wise Hawaii

That’s the name of the newest artistic design placed on the lawn of the State Capital. The State of Hawaii is now listed as having one of the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities in the country. Oh, that’s nice. The saddest part of this statement is that I can see why we have earned that rating. Even before the first month of the year is over, five pedestrians have been killed on Oahu. While all five of them were killed in a dramatically short time span, our record goes back to much more than that.

We have had 156 pedestrians killed on our streets in the last five years. The Governor, Linda Lingle, has taken the bull by the horns, passed a law and put up an eye-catching display to remind people. There are 156 pairs of slippers (Hawaii’s signature footwear) hanging on this display — one pair to represent each life prematurely taken; the lives of men, women and children tragically lost. The sign says it best, “Every Ten Days a Pedestrian in Hawai’i is Killed.”

As a pedestrian myself I am very well aware of the dangers posed by drivers who are either reckless and not paying attention, or in a hurry and pushing the laws about yellow lights to the point of crossing the line! I almost got nailed twice in one week right before Christmas.

Are the Drivers Always to Blame?

Let’s not pass out sentencing quite so quickly. On the flip side of all this, as a driver, I will be the first one to say that pedestrians need to be more careful, pay more attention and stop acting like they own the road. We have people who don’t even look and cross the street… with a baby stroller! What is that?!? Brainless, that’s what that is. I have had to slam on my brakes more than once to avoid some young girl walking across the street while talking on her cell phone. Talking on her cell phone while being completely oblivious to the life-threatening situation she has put herself in!

It’s a two-way street and both sides need to learn how to respect each other and obey the traffic laws put in place for just these reasons — to protect the pedestrians AND the drivers. In an accident such as this, a pedestrian will lose his or her life, but a driver will have to live with that for the rest of theirs.

Thank you, Governor Lingle, for taking this seriously and for taking action. There is a monetary fine in place now. This regulation states that drivers MUST yield the right of way to pedestrians, or cough up $97. I agree with this of course, but drivers have to see those pedestrians in order to obey that law. So, it’s up to all of us to be good citizens and keep our home peaceful and safe.

I move that we start the New Year all over again. Let’s start with Chinese New Year on February 18th. Since we haven’t done a very good job so far we should just start from scratch!

Just Beyond Hanauma Bay

The point at Makapu’u is the most east-facing part of the island of Oahu. The surf coSandy Beachming from the west will hit along that shore first and then flow to either side around the island. Perhaps this is why Sandy Beach is a favorite surfing spot — it’s just around the bend from Makapu’u.

I finally found the entrance to the two-mile hike to the top of Makapu’u point that people keep talking about. I have also heard that, along with the wonderful views at the top of this thing, there are old abandoned bunkers left from World War II. I haven’t seen it yet, but I promise you guys that I will. I will tell you all about it and bring you pictures to go with it!

What I am very familiar with, and what scared me as a child, are the  sheer cliffs along the road that leads to Sandy Beach and Makapu’u Point. It is especially threatening at night, but daylight provides the visual for us here! It doesn’t scare me anymore because now I’m the driver. It scares my mother though… of course it might be my driving that scares her.

 

The Stuff Romance Novels are Made Of

Those cliffs remind me of the covers of some Harlequin romances  and of the old-time TV show, Dark Shadows. There was always that girl standing on the edge of the cliff with her hair and romantic, white dress blowing in the wind. Standing oh so precariously near the edge waiting to fall to her demise on the jagged rocks and rough surf below. Has he left her? Has she lost him to death or to another woman? Will he come to her in the cold night air? Will he push her over the edge? In reality, there are no such romantic tales to be told. Shucks! But, it’s still a lovely setting for first dates and a great backdrop for wedding photos.

Many people are drawn to this area. Tourists riding on tour buses and driven around in limousines frequent this area. Local residents go here to surf, to run, to bicycle and to just hang out. Even the street bikers are drawn here on their motorcycle runs. There’s a sense of freedom without being too far away from the city. There’s surf crashing against the rocks, great views and a little bit of romance and thrill to come so close to the edge of those sheer cliffs.

Be It Ever So Humble…

It was not until just the other day that I realized just how hung up I was on my hometown. Driving along and glancing at the hills that skirt our city, I suddenly had to stop thinking in order to keep my emotions in check.

The tears well up in my eyes whenever I contemplate the idea of living anywhere else. Yeah, okay, we all need to visit other places to broaden our horizons and blah, blah, blah. But, to LIVE anywhere else – I cannot even begin to imagine how heart wrenching that would be. This is home. I will take it a step further and say that I don’t even want to live on another island.

What’s So Great About It?

There is so much more going on in Honolulu than just hula dancers and flower leis. Yes, those are here too, but there is so much more. You never hear about a lot of these things because people just don’t talk about them.

I am delighted to be able to share some of the fascinating things about my Home Turf with everyone… along with my opinionated points of view of course. So, come on along and enjoy this blog as it grows and I get to share and expand on all the passion that Honolulu has to offer.