Monday, January 7, 2013


I’ve actually got a bunch of relatives here, and have been plenty of times myself.  So, this stuff never sounds quite as weird to me as it does to everyone else.

To tell you the truth, they all just sound like really bad Scrabble racks to me.  Ah well, here goes …

10. Honouliuli

Little Johnny had no trouble with Montpelier and Tallahassee.  Who would have thought he’d bow out of the spelling bee at Honolulu?

Just to make things interesting , Honouliuli is actually right next to Honolulu.  The name means something along the lines of “blue harbor” or “dark bay.”  “Honolulu” itself means “sheltered bay.”

Honouliuli was the site of an internment camp during WWII.  There’s not much there today except for a wastewater treatment plant.

And tourists just love
waste water treatment plants

9. Kealakekua *

I swear this one has more syllables than it does letters.  If that’s possible.  It means “the god’s pathway,” from an imprint in a cliff that a god supposedly slid down on.

Kealakekua Bay is where Captain Cook was killed.  The bay is actually on the other side of the town of Captain Cook from Kealakekua.  They’re all on the Big Island, just down the coast from Kona.

Today, Kealakekua is home to 1,600 people and a hospital.  The park on Kealakekua Bay is famous for snorkeling and kayaking.

I know Kealakekua personally from the song “My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua,” a Hawaiian music standard.  I grew up with Hawaiian music playing constantly on my Dad’s stereo.  When my wife and I honeymooned there, she was amazed that I knew the lyrics to all the songs, from "Aloha Oe" to "Tiny Bubbles."

I can hear it now

8. Laupahoehoe *

All of these places seem to stop at 10 letters.  But this one …  This one goes to 11!

Laupahoehoe means “smooth lava flat.”  You may be familiar with pahoehoe, the smooth, ropy lava, as well as aa, the rough, jagged kind.  The latter makes a great (and completely legal) Scrabble word, by the way.

Twenty-four students and teachers were killed here by a tidal wave in 1946.  Today, the town of not quite 600 people has a train museum, a beautiful park, and a music festival.  It’s on the northeast shore of the Big Island.  It has its own song, “The Boy from Laupahoehoe.”  But, then again, doesn't every town in Hawaii?

Very large tourists,
Laupahoehoe Point

7. Ulupalakua

Why do I feel like I’m in Finland? 

Ulupalakua is on the slopes of Haleakala, the enormous volcano on Maui.  It includes a ranch, winery, nursery, and school.

The name means “breadfruit ripening on the backs of carriers.”  Catchy, no?

Would you believe this place has its own song as well?  I couldn’t pass up sharing these lyrics:

Is `Ulupalakua
The pangs of the cold evening air
The home of the cowboys

My lei is an adornment
Of `Ulupalakua
The sweet scent of ginger is
Truly beautiful

Tell the refrain
Of `Ulupalakua
The pangs of the cold evening air
The home of the cowboy

Like the song says

6. Aiea *

Consonants?  We don’t need no stinkin’ consonants.

Not to be confused with the Association of International Education Administrators, the Association of Irish Energy Agencies, or the Arizona Indian Education Association (none of which I made up!) …  This town of 9000 is just on the other side of Pearl Harbor from Honolulu. 

It’s named after a type of native holly, Ilex anomola.  If my Latin is still up to snuff, I think that means “anomalous holly.”  Catchy, no?

Aiea is famous for its bowling alley
(I kid you not)

5. Kuliouou

I’d like to buy a consonant.

This one means “sounding knee,” from a native drum that was somehow or other attached to one’s knee.  (Don’t ask – haven’t a clue).

It’s a suburb of Honolulu, and features a great trail along the ridge overlooking the town, as well as one up the valley.  There are actually a surprising number of good hikes in the mountains right above Honolulu.   Just make sure you take plenty of water – and, er, some consonants – with you.

4. Kokomo

Whoa!  I think we took a wrong turn comin’ outta that tiki bar, Mabel.

Well, here’s another place with its own song.  Unfortunately, the Beach Boys seem to be singing about some place in the Caribbean.  They’re definitely not singing about the city in Indiana, I know that much.

Kokomo’s a real place in Hawaii, though.  It’s along the eastern Kauai coast.  Doesn’t look like there’s a lot there however.

Almost forgot …  It means “tree entering.”  “Tree entering?”   Yup, “tree entering.” 

Hmm, I think we got
the wrong Kokomo here

3. Nonopapa

Nonopapa is on the island of Niihau.  The "town" is little more than a tide station however.

Hawaii also features a Papa.  That one means “forbidden.”  So, I guess “Nonopapa” means “definitely not forbidden.”  Actually, it means “invalid.”  Just as weird, if not weirder, if you ask me.

A quick search of “nonopapa” on the Google, gives us a Louis Armstrong song, some Japanese sites, and a couple of cute kid videos on YouTube.

Beautiful Pebbles from Nonopapa, Niihau Mesh Hat
£12.30 on Zazzle

2. Haiku

We knew this was going to happen, didn’t we?

Haiku is on the north shore of Maui.  Population (including neighboring Pauwela): about 8,000.

This one means either “sharp break” or “speak abruptly.”  Take your pick.

And here’s my attempt at a little haiku myself:

Sports Illustrated
Photo shoot in old Haiku
Booty in jungle

1. Spreckelsville *

Man, how did this one get here?  And what’s a spreckel anyway?

Well, it turns out it’s a last name.  Spreckelsville was named after sugar baron Claus Spreckels. 

Claus built the largest sugar mill in the world here in 1880.  Today, it’s got about 400 people.   It’s on the north shore of Maui, one of the first towns on the road to Hana. 

Herr Spreckels
(looking rather like another
Claus I happen to know)

* - author has visited

No comments:

Post a Comment