This morning we attempted to get our marriage license at the Department of Health. But it turned out that they were closed - on furlough. We could, if we really needed to, call up the emergency official and go out to their house to get a license. But we've still got Monday to take care of it, so there was no need to waste our time today on a monumental transit/taxi journey. I am, however, still miffed that my careful planning was foiled.
So Mark headed back to the conference while I went on to Bishop Museum. The museum had been recommended to me by Margot Mackay, one of my medical art professors, so it was high on my list. I was not disappointed - it had a great collection of historical and cultural artifacts from Hawaii and from the rest of the Polynesian islands. There was also an extensive program of tours with some of the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides I've had yet at a museum - I went on three tours and attended one performance, and all were excellent.
One of the most useful things I learned was the pronunciation of Hawiian words: each vowel is generally pronounced separately (not combined together as in English) and has only one sound (also unlike English). Now I can tackle all the intimidatingly long street names.
Also interesting was the history of the islands: how they came to be united as one kingdom (warfare and truces amongst tribes), then annexed by the United States (hugely unpopular with the Hawaiians) and eventually became a US state (regarded as better than being in some sort of limbo, but not as good as being returned to independent nationhood). The more I learn about it the less Hawaii seems to be American.
The main Hawaiian building was gorgeous - apparently it was closed for extensive renovations, and just reopened recently. The Polynesian exhibits are clearly due for the same make-over - the mustard yellow felt backdrops and faded typed signage looked like relics of the 1970s, although that had its own charm, and the artifacts themselves were still amazing. The American Museum of Natural History in New York City also has a large collection of Polynesian artifacts, but this collection felt more cohesive to me - not sure if that's due to a larger size, or just better organization.
We had dinner at The Chart House with friends from the conference. I got the porkchops with asparagus. Two full-sized chops. Six spears of asparagus (and I may be generously misremembering - it might have been as little as four spears). Where's the option to trade in one of the porkchops for a little more asparagus?! Who needs this much meat?