Friday, September 7, 2007

Fun Hawaiian Trivia

It's Aloha Friday! (whoop whoop!) Since I've started the countdown for when I fly out to Honolulu (next Friday, whoop!), how about some fun Hawaiian trivia?

Did you know that Hawaii is the most isolated population in the world? It is 2,390 miles (3,850 km) from California, 3,850 miles (6,195 km) from Japan and 4,900 miles (7,885 km) from China.

Did you know that Diamond Head State Monument was formed by short series of explosive eruptions about 100,000 years ago? It is the most famous and recognizable Hawaiian landmark. There's also a military history connected to the monument and you can see evidence of it as you hike up to the summit. If you've never hiked Diamond Head, and if you are in *fair* physical shape (that is, you can climb stairs without getting winded), then I would recommend the hike. It is certainly a site to see!

The Hawaiian archipelago spans the distance of 1,524 miles (2,451 km) making Hawaii the longest island chain in the world.

Did you know Hawaii was the 50th state (and last state) admitted to the union on August 20, 1959? Okay, this may seem obvious to some of you but I have met people, US citizens, while visiting Hawaii ask if they need their passports to get back into the States. I kid you not. I wonder if Miss Teen South Carolina knows where Hawaii is located. Oh wait, here's a quote from her when asked to identify Hawaii on a map:

Miss Teen SC: Hawaii? I personally believe, that some US Americans, like South Africa and Iraq...everywhere like that don't have maps, and that they should help our education over here in the US to help the US and our Asian countries such as Hawaii, so we can build up our future.

Outstanding! Brava, Miss Teen SC!

Hawaii became officially known as the “Aloha State” in 1959 by a legislative act.

Hawaii is the widest state in the US, when measured east to west. Hawaii also has the highest population density in the US (how about them *Big* apples, NY?).

According to the 2000 census, Hawaii has the most multi-ethnic background population in all of US, where non-whites are the majority.

Hawaii has its own time zone called Hawaiian Standard Time. Hawaii does not observe daylight savings time.

Hawaii has the highest life expectancy in the US (how about them...ah...years, Minnesota?). Life expectancy in Hawaii for males is 75, for females 80 years.

Honolulu is the “largest” city in the world. Honolulu constitutes all islands not named as belonging to a county, which includes the entire island of Oahu and all the other small, uninhabited islands, known as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Foster Botanical Garden is the oldest garden in Hawaii, built in 1855. It's a beautiful place to visit, especially if you're into orchids.

The island of Kauai is the wettest spot on Earth, averaging a rainfall about 397 inches (10 m) per year.

Lake Waiau on the Big Island of Hawaii is the highest lake in the US, an altitude of 13,020 feet (3,968 m).

The island, Niihau, is a privately owned island, owned by the Robinson family. You can only visit the island by invitation from the owners or one of the Native Hawaiians who live there.

And to top off the trivia, I give you -- the luau (loo-ow). The luau, to most tourists, is a showcase of Hawaiian style food, bad mai tais and flame twirling dances. Oh yeah, let's not forget the wahines in coconut shell tops. But actually, the luau is a Hawaiian tradition for celebrating accomplishments, honoring people and events. Ancient Hawaiians would have multi-day luaus to pay homage to ancestral gods with song, dance, and offerings of food.

Foods most often associated with luaus are:

  • roasted pigs (puaa) wrapped in ti leaves (in traditional luaus, whole pigs are roasted in underground ovens known as imus)
  • poi made from tarro roots
  • various fruits (bananas, pineapples, coconuts, etc.)
  • lomi lomi salmon (more of a modern day tradition)
Have a terrific weekend! It's going to be a beautiful one here in San Diego. Now go and eat well!

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