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Mauka and Makai

Postcard Map of O’ahu

This afternoon I finally took the plunge. I had been delaying reserving my flight and hotel in Hawaii until Martine got her passport (without which she couldn’t take a flight, as she doesn’t have a REAL ID drivers license). She finally got her passport in the mail on Saturday; and, today I went to the Culver City office of the Auto Club and made our reservation.

Now I have some direction and can do some more detailed planning on destinations and public transportation.

Speaking of direction, the whole north/south/east/west system of directions is generally not used in Hawaii. Think of it for a second: Hawaii is a collection of volcanic mountains upraised from the floor of the ocean. With few exceptions, most people live within hailing distance of the Pacific; and relatively few live in the interior. Therefore, the words Hawaiians most frequently used for directions are mauka and makai—namely, inland and shore.

In Honolulu, the same words are used; but since it is a big city, there are two additional directions: Toward Ewa (west of Pearl Harbor) or toward Diamond Head.

It’ll take some getting used to, but I can understand its usefulness.