Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December 15, 2010: Oahu - Life in Waikiki - It's All About Shopping

My first full day on my own in Waikiki. I take the free shuttle from our hotel to the main "downtown" strip of Waikiki. It is all shopping, as far as the eye can see. After walking for a few hours it feels surreal - the same stores keep showing up over and over. Especially the ABC Stores, which are a corner store/tourist shop. They're like trail markers - you can always see the next one in the distance while standing at the door of the one you're leaving, although they don't lead you anywhere in particular.

I also discover that Waikiki is deeply pedestrian un-friendly. Most intersections only allow crossings on three of four sides - for instance, to get to the ABC store directly across from our hotel, on the other side of the road, it takes 5 minutes of crossing the other three sides of the intersection, and then the same again to return. You can't even run across the median as a shortcut because of the giant fence of impenetrable tropical plants. This city was built for cars and only cars.

But I found one interesting place - Origamido! This is an origami studio run by two biologists. One does the major design work, and the other creates papers to support them. Their work is primarily animals, and stunning. An alligator with hundreds of individual scales was folded from a six-foot-square piece of paper. They gave me a great tour around the studio, and I'm really looking forward to the documentary, "Between the Folds" that they're featured in. As luck would have it I'd already put in my hold request for it with the Toronto Library a few months ago while reading about another origami artist.

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