Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Old Postcard Wednesday--The Moana Hotel on the beach at Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii

As parts of the U.S. (Oregon is one of them) are having unseasonable weather - even majorly disagreeable weather - this week it is no wonder I was attracted to this particular postcard in the box. I have been keeping an eye on the conditions in Rhode Island and Connecticut.....the flooding situation looks terrible and I feel sad for residents dealing with it.

It's crummy and cold outside in my town. Where we are certainly lucky to not have flooding here, the rain is giving it a good go in some areas.  I watched a squirrel running along our border fence today soon after I had put peanuts in the gazebo feeder. With full nut in mouth it charged madly in the rain toward the base of the maple tree and began digging in the ground with its front feet...testing, testing for the suitable spot to bury his prize. That didn't seem to be a satisfactory area so the little guy ran across the soggy lawn, stopping under a birch tree and began plowing with his "fists" and when he had a deep enough hole he dropped the nut into it, then punched and punched the sod back into place. It was a delightful autumn scene........except it is the end of March!

So, for those needing a mental vacation maybe this old postcard will help. I hesitate to point out the roiling dark clouds that appear to be coming onto the scene - a reminder that, even in "paradise," some rain must fall......

Now known as the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa -- and often referred to as "The First lady of Waikiki" -- the hotel has the coolest little book at its website describing
The Rich History of the Moana. As you click to turn the pages you are treated to old photos and a marvelous narrative that, in about five minutes, gives you a real sense of the place. I'm quoting a bit from the history (highlighting and emphasis is mine):

On March 11, 1901 Waikiki began a climb to global recognition as a tourist destination with the building of its first historic architectural treasure -- The Moana Hotel. . .  (It) had 75 guest rooms that were the height of fashion for the day, offering spacious accommodations, telephones and private baths, a billiard room, parlor, library, salon and the first electric-powered elevator in the Territory. . .

The rise of  "hapa-haole"* marks the beginning of Waikiki moving into full swing. The year was 1934 and Hawaiian music gains worldwide popularity. It begins when Harry Owens and his big band became icons of popular Hawaiian music, followed by the launching of the popular worldwide radio show Hawaii Calls. The show was actually broadcast from the courtyard of the Moana Hotel from 1935 until 1975 and a hallmark of the show was the sound of the waves breaking in the distance. Many new stars were created in Waikiki, including Hilo Hattie (Clarissa Haili: Oct. 28, 1901-Dec. 12, 1979) . . .

In 1952 a new hotel was built adjacent to the Moana on the east side, called the Surfrider Hotel. In 1959 the Moana hotel was sold to the Sheraton Hotel chain. After the sale to Sheraton a new tower was built on the Moana's west side in 1969. This new tower was named the Sheraton Surfrider Hotel and the old surfrider building was made into a wing of the Moana. . .

The hotel underwent a $50 million historic renovation in 1989. . .  In May of 1999 the resort undertook a $2 million completion of its historic Banyan Wing exterior enhancement project. . .  Today the resort has expanded to accommodate 794 guest rooms, including . . .

the Moana Surfrider Resort & Spa today

My Old Radio features three episodes of the old Hawaii Calls radio show. Click to access them.
*I've not yet visited Hawaii, and was clueless as to what "hapa-haole" was referring to in the history above. Maybe you are too. Interesting background and lots of songs are noted at this website: Hapa Haole Songs.
The blogosphere's very own 21st Century Hilo Hattie!
Hattie's Web is a great blog written by a blogger who lives in Hilo, Hawaii, and she offers an eclectic look at the world through her eyes. That is because she lived in Europe for years and travels everywhere, including this week....she is right here in the Pacific Northwest visiting relatives! (I love sampling her marvelous Essays and Fiction linked in the sidebar at her blog.)

On March 3, 2010, Hattie posted Why Hilo? in which she includes random links that indicate why she and her husband chose to live there. She writes:

I don't know. Explain why you love someone. Logic does not have much to do with it... 
We lived too long in Europe to fit in to most standard American communities, which we find unbearably bland. At the same time, we got very tired of being foreigners. So here is a bit of America where eccentrics like us can hang out and be happy. 



kj said...

lydia, what a great post!

i have always wanted to go to hawaii. do you know that cities and countries have astrological signs just like people? hawaii and i are compatible and i believe it.

i do not know where JB and i will eventually end up, so i really liked reading about how and why some one else made the decision.

♥ lydia,

Amy said...

Lydia, This is a great post and brings back memories of Hawaii in the late 60's - I can remember deplaning on the tarmac and being hit by the fragrance of the flowers - it must have been the leis!

I've been gone on a road trip so I didn't respond to your comment on the iris a few weeks ago - thanks for the information! Tomorrow I'll be on the road again heading north to Portland - it would be fun to stop and take in the gardens!

Melinda said...

I love Hawaii, Lydia. My (now) husband Les and I went on vacation there very early in our relationship. We went to Maui, Kuai, and Oahu-and that is where we really fell in love, hard. Hawaii is just the most romantic place I have ever been.

Snorkeling naked in the pacific ocean with Les, which was so warm it was just like bath water--that was just so heavenly. Hiking the Canyon in Kuai (which is actually bigger than the Grand Canyon), and spending sultry nights walking on the beach--good times. . . good times. Thanks for bringing back some really lovely memories.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Beautiful place, excellent post Lydia!

Lydia said...

kj~ I haven't thought about the horoscope system for cities and countries for years! Thank you for the reminder, as I'm sure the internet has lots to read about it. I'm sure you and JB will be in just the right spot for your spirits to soar. Are you reading Ronni Bennett's blog these days? At Time Goes By she is writing about her decision to leave the east coast for good and move to Portland Oregon. xo

Amy~ Lovely memories of your times in Hawaii.
Hmm. Seems there is so much movement toward Portland lately, either moving there (see comments above) or visiting, as is Hattie at Hattie's Web. I feel terrible about the weather...Wednesday had some sun and maybe you could catch some to see the iris gardens (Schreiner's Iris Gardens on the highway outside of Keizer are also a big draw).

Melinda~ Wow, what marvelous memories you have - and shared here - of your beautiful trip with Les to Hawaii. I had no idea the canyon in Kuai is larger than the Grand Canyon...
Thanks for the delightful tidbits.

Lydia said...

Phivos~ Missed your comment just as I was posting my replies! Thank you and I wonder have you visited Hawaii among the many travels you have enjoyed?

Hattie said...

Lydia:Hey, thanks for the nice words on my blog! I am just getting around to looking catching up with blogger friends, because I have been dealing with some very odd internet connections and have been so busy with grandkids, etc.
I am loving being in the Northwest, except for the weather, of course!

Lydia said...

Hattie~ My pleasure! Enjoy your visit (I know you are) and certainly plan on being indoors on Friday! I hope the winds aren't such that we lose power...



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