12 Hawaiian Words Every Visitor Should Know
This article was written by Kyle Ellison on behalf of Viator.com.
There was once a time when it was heavily frowned upon to speak Hawaiian in public. Suppressed by missionaries and western businessmen who were working to supplant the culture, the Hawaiian language was only spoken in the privacy of family and friends. In fact, in the 1970s, it was estimated that fewer than 50 children could fluently speak Hawaiian.
In 1978, however, as part of a widespread cultural awakening known as the “Hawaiian Renaissance,” an increased importance was placed on the language and it was surely, but slowly, revived. Along with English, it was once again made an official language for the entire state of Hawaii, and immersion preschools such as Punana Leo began opening in 1984.
Today, Hawaiian language courses are offered at universities from the Hawaiian Islands to the mainland, and you can even format a computer and Google to organically search in Hawaiian. And while the overall number of speakers remains small—estimated at approximately 10,000 and growing—it’s a welcome change from the linguistic extinction the Hawaiian language once faced.
Though English is still the de facto language of business, commerce, and tourism, Hawaiian words are often interspersed in everyday conversation—so much so that you’re sure to hear a few while enjoying your Hawaiian vacation.
Most visitors know that aloha translates as “hello” and “goodbye” in Hawaiian, but there is a deeper meaning to this common phrase that is synonymous with the Hawaiian Islands. The sense of aloha, or spirit of aloha, is prevalent throughout the islands, and a loose translation of this deeper meaning is “to consciously manifest life joyously in the present.” It is the divine power living within all of us, and some even say the “breath of life” at the core of the human spirit.
Mahalo is a word that is written on many of the trash cans throughout the islands. Consequently, there is a bit of confusion that the word mahalo is literally the word for trash. Mahalo is a word that actually means “thank you,” and the signs on trash cans are a way of thanking you for throwing away your trash. More than simply on the front of trash cans, you’ll encounter the word at the exit to buildings or on the lips of many activity agents. It isn’t uncommon to hear locals concluding a purchase with a casual, yet courteous “mahalo,” and it’s an easy yet important Hawaiian word to learn when traveling in the islands.
This, on other hand, is the real word for trash that you won’t find written on trash cans. Instead you’ll find it on placards and signs saying “mahalo for cleaning your ‘opala,” and it’s highly likely you’ll catch some “stink eye” if you leave your ‘opala on the beach.
Even though they’re two separate words, mauka and makai are intrinsically linked since they’re important directional opposites. In the traditional days of ancient Hawaii, the islands were divided into pie shaped slices known as ahupua‘a. These wedges of land ran from the mountainous summits all the way down to the seashore, where to move “ma uka” meant going towards the mountain, and “ma kai” was moving towards the sea.
Today, mauka and makai are still heavily used when trying to give directions, as a restaurant that lies on the inland side of the highway is said to be mauka of the highway. Similarly, if you’re walking down a road with buildings on each side, and the water is to your left and the mountains are to your right, a storefront that sits on the ocean side of the road is said to be makai of the road. Forget everything you know about road numbers and highways—it’s all about mauka.
Perhaps more so than any other word, pau is a phrase that regularly infiltrates an English statement or question. Pau is a word that signifies “finished,” and it’s most commonly used when island waiters will ask “are you all pau with that plate?”
A variation of the word is the phrase “pau hana,” which signifies the end of as person’s workday. Many island bars will have “pau hana” specials in the hours just before sunset, and it’s an island variation on the traditional “happy hour” that’s found at most mainland bars.
If you plan on doing some hiking in Hawaii, or will be venturing to out of the way places, the word kapu might be the most important word to learn when visiting Hawaii. Before Christianity was accepted in Hawaii in the early 1820s, religious laws that were known as kapu regulated everyday life. Loosely translated as “forbidden” or “illegal,” breaking a kapu—such as allowing your shadow to fall on an ali‘i or harvesting fish out of season—in many cases was punishable by death and was often strictly enforced.
Although the kapu system of religious rule was abolished in 1819, signs with the word “kapu” can still be found in rural sections of the islands. The signs today essentially mean “keep out,” or letting hikers or trespassers know that continuing further is forbidden. Unscrupulous travel publications downplay the signs as unauthorized or baseless for visitors, but that’s not the view that’s generally accepted by the majority of the Hawaiian community. If you’re hiking in Hawaii and see a “kapu” sign, it’s best to simply stay out.
Families who are traveling to Hawaii with children will do well to learn this word. Keiki is the general term for “children,” and restaurants will feature keiki menus and activities have prices for the keiki.
Kokua is a word that means “to help,” and it’s frequently coupled with the word “mahalo” to form “mahalo for your kokua.” In English, the phrase would translate as “thank you for your compliance,” and it often references not littering or helping to keep an area clean.
Pronounced: (WICK-ee WICK-ee)
Wikiwiki means to hurry up! If you’re boarding for a Maui snorkeling tour, and realize you’ve left the sunscreen in the car, the boat staff might tell you “wikiwiki” when you tell them you’re going back to get it.
Pronounced: (Hah-na HO)
This is a cry most referenced at concerts when the crowd is calling for an encore. Hana hou can translate as “again,” and if a crowd is hungry for another song, boisterous chants of “Hana hou!” will be rained upon the stage.
When traveling in Hawaii, if someone calls you “akamai” you should definitely take it as a compliment. Akamai is a word that simply means “smart,” so if you tell a local that you packed lots of jackets for watching sunrise at Haleakala, they might come back with a “ho, akamai ah you?”
Ono deserves a special mention since it appears in two different forms. It mostly is found on restaurant menus describing the types of fish, as ono is the word that Hawaiians use for the fish more commonly known as wahoo. It’s the succulent block of grilled white meat at the bottom of your beachside fish taco, and the pointy-face fish you hope springs from the water as soon as you hear “Fish on!”
More importantly, however, ono is the word that Hawaiians use to describe a flavorful dish. It can be used in place of “good” or “tasty” and as a positive affirmation, and you know the ono will always be ono whenever it’s ordered in Hawaii.
With all these words in your linguistic repertoire, not only will things make a little more sense on your next visit out to the islands, but you can graduate on to more advanced words and phrases, such as humuhumunukunukuapua‘a—the Hawaiian state fish that literally translates as “big lips with nose like a pig.”
4 Reasons to Book Your Summer Travel NOW
This article was written by Rick Seaney, an airline travel expert and the co-founder of FareCompare.com, and originally appeared on Fox News Travel. If you're planning on taking a vacation this summer, here or abroad, I have some advice for you: Do not procrastinate. Here's why. 1. More are flying Not so long ago a lot of folks put vacation plans on hold, thanks to 2008's recession. Here are some passenger traffic snapshots of those days (domestic and international) for the month of August, courtesy of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. —2008: 67.7 million passengers —2009: 65.0 million passengers Now look at last year's numbers. —2014: 69.3 million passengers Even more people will fly in 2015. Thanks to a perfect storm of strong dollar and continuing cheap fuel prices and an economy on the upswing, airline seats will be at a premium. 2. Flights will be packed In the past few years, airlines have turned capacity-cutting into an art form; they know how many want to fly and how many seats they need to hold us all. Since more passengers are expected to fly this summer, the airlines have pricing power on their side. When demand is up, prices are too. 3. Watch for limited summer deals You may not be aware of this but since late December, Southwest Airlines sales have mostly been limited to flights on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Saturdays (prior to this, sales were good on flights any day except Friday or Sunday). Southwest isn't alone, either. JetBlue deals have long been limited to Tuesday and Wednesdays only and others have similar sale restrictions. Bottom line: Fewer days for sale flights means fewer seats at the cheapest possible prices which is another sign that the time to start planning a summer vacation is now. 4. Shop for summer now Most of the current crop of airfare sales are valid only for flights through June 3 or so. After that, watch prices jump (and jump again in late June) as more and more people vie for an increasingly small number of deals and seats. The airlines know that most of us wait to make plans within 30 days of departure, and price their fares accordingly meaning tickets will be more expensive. The sooner you move - particularly if you're going to Europe - the better your chance of getting the flight you want at the price you want, or at least coming close to a good deal. If you procrastinate, you may not get a seat on the flight you want at all. More from Fox News Travel: Secrets of a cruise ship captain Ryanair could offer $15 flights from the US to Europe As the euro tanks, European summer travel deals get sweeter Photos in flight: What you can and cannot shoot on planes Qatar Airways leader accuses Delta of flying 'crap' airplanes
10 Things Every Foodie MUST Know About Food Festivals
You can always spot the ringers at a destination food event like the South Beach Wine & Food Festival (known as SBWFF) in Miami. While noshing newbies in fancy footwear are literally sinking in the sand as they queue up to crowded booths, pro festival-goers are lapping the floor in flip-flops and sinking their teeth into the tastiest morsels before sidling up to celeb chefs for requisite selfies. While there's no "right" way to experience your first food festival (or your 50th) there are specific strategies you can use to get the biggest bang for your buck (tickets at SBWFF and similar festivals run from $20 for a kids event to $500 for an exclusive dinner). Put these expert tips into action, and you may get even more than you bargained for: a coveted invitation to one of the legendary SBWFF after-parties. 1. HAVE A MISSION Most food festivals span several days and feature several dozen events, from intimate dinners to walk-around tastings to late night parties. "You can't hit every event—you'd be tired, woozy, and overstuffed," says Robert Irvine, author of Cook like a Chef and host of Restaurant: Impossible. Decide which experiences are most important to you, and then purchase tickets to those specific events. 2. DRESS CASUALLY You've paid handsomely for tickets and you're in a glamorous location, so it's tempting to wear your finest duds to the festival. Resist the urge. "Remember that most SoBe events are on the beach, on sand, and exposed to the elements," says Franklin Becker, executive chef of The Little Beet in New York City. "Check the weather report, and dress for comfort." If you absolutely can't bear the idea of skipping out on your high heels, get creative and wear them as an accessory, as this festival-goer did (pictured above). 3. ARRIVE EARLY Show up at least 15 minutes before your scheduled event begins, recommends Irvine. "Otherwise you could be standing outside in a big crowd, waiting to get inside when the food is already being served." 4. FLOW AGAINST TRAFFIC "When walking into an event, it's human nature to gravitate to our right and move around the room counterclockwise," says Mark Gregory, former Food Network executive. "That's everyone else's instinct too—which is why there's often a logjam by the front door." He recommends escaping the early crowds at any event by walking directly to the far back corner of the space, then moving clockwise to hit as many booths as possible before the crowd catches up. 5. CHECK THE MENU No matter how early you arrive, or how strategic you are about your sampling, you're eventually going to wait—and wait—to grab some grub. "Before you step into an epic line, read the menu to see what's being served," says Ani Meinhold, Partner at The Federal in Miami. "So often people get to the front and realize that they can't or won't eat what's being served." On the flip side—if you're really a fan of a particular chef, don't be deterred by a mob of people queued up to see them. "In that case, be patient and wait," recommends Meinhold. "It'll be worth it for the opportunity to be served by someone whose food you're really excited about." 6. SAMPLE BEYOND YOUR COMFORT ZONE While events like Best of the Munchies and Burger Bash are loaded with comfort food nibbles you know and love, don't be afraid to try something that feels a little "out there" for you—like tripe or barbequed pigs ear. "If a top chef offers you a bite of food he or she has just cooked up, don't turn it down. Try a small bite!" says Guy Fieri, host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Guy's Grocery Games. "You might just discover something new that you love—and you'll show your respect for the chef." 7. GO LIGHT ON THE LIBATIONS Tickets to many food festival events also come with special extras like unlimited refills of wine, beer, or mixed drinks. "Whatever you do, don't drink too much on the first night," says Iron Chef Marc Forgione, chef proprietor of American Cut steakhouse in New York City. "Otherwise, you'll be limping around for the next two days. Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint." 8. BUDDY UP Unless you're the next Kobayashi [a world-famous competitive eating champion], you can't eat a full plate of everything served at the larger festival events, like Best of the Best and Meatopia: The Q Revolution. That's why Becker recommends grabbing a friend or two and sampling your way around the room or tents together. "Not only can you divide and conquer, waiting on different lines and picking up bites that appeal to everyone," he says, "but you'll reduce how much food you end up throwing out." 9. WORK UP AN APPETITE With so many tasty morsels to choose from at each food festival event, it's pretty easy to overdo it. Work up an appetite for the next eating orgy by going for a walk, jog, or bike ride along the boardwalk between events, suggests Paul Wilson, General Manager at the Biscayne Tavern in Miami Beach. This part-wood, part-paved stretch of sidewalk runs 40 blocks along the coast between Indian Beach Park at 46th Street and 5th Street in South Beach, a span of about 4 miles. 10. MAKE A MEMORABLE APPROACH Not only is it okay to chat up the headliners at the festival—it's actually encouraged. "Stand out from the crowd of fans and admirers by having a smart question or two to ask your favorite chef or food personality," suggests Irvine. "We want to help answer those questions and give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it is that we do in real life." Want to take a photo with your favorite food crush? That's fine, too. All you have to do is ask—respectfully. "Fans have helped put us where we are, so we're almost always happy to snap a picture," says Anne Burrell, host of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and co-host of Worst Cooks in America. "Just wait until there's a break in the action or conversation, and make the request."
6 Things You Need to Know Before You Visit the U.S. Virgin Islands
A nearby tropical paradise, no passport required? Point us to the closest airport and we'll be on our way. If your passport has expired and you need a quickie getaway now, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI for short) has all the trappings of an exotic island jaunt, minus the red tape. 1. You don't need a passport to enter the USVI. Located just to the right of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands have been a United States territory since 1917, so U.S. citizens don't need a passport to get in. With that little inconvenience out of the way, if you're feeling spontaneous and want to maximize your beach time, you can even hop a direct flight to the St. Thomas airport from U.S. cities including Atlanta, Boston, New York, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale. Spirit Airlines often offers short, less-than-three-hour direct flights Fort Lauderdale for less than $300. Bonus: Once you arrive, currency is the U.S. dollar, and there are ATMs on the islands. 2. Fifty islands make up the USVI—but St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix are the three most prominent ones. Discovered by Christopher Columbus himself in 1493, these three islands have unique identities. Remember them like this: • Cultural St. Croix is known for its historic towns (Christiansted and Frederiksted in particular), shops, and pastel buildings. TRY: Touring the 18th-century slave quarters, sugar factory, and windmill of the 12-acre Estate Whim Museum, the only sugar plantation museum in the Virgin Islands ($10, stcroixlandmarks.com). • Natural St. John is almost all protected U.S. national park: Two-thirds of it is verdant hills and underwater reserve, plus the striking beaches of Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Maho Bay. TRY: Packing a lunch and setting out on the guided three-mile downhill Reef Bay Hike through tropical forests, past sugar mill ruins, and alongside ancient petroglyphs. The $30 fee covers the hike, transportation to the trail head, and a boat ride back to the Visitors Center (nps.gov). • Cosmopolitan St. Thomas, on the other hand, is known for its shopping and dining. TRY: Lounging on the well-maintained white sands of Magens Bay, which is staffed with Red Cross-certified lifeguards and snack and drink bars, and has been called one of the world's most beautiful beaches ($4). 3. There's an underwater national park. (Really!) The 225-yard-long underwater snorkeling trail in St. John's Trunk Bay even has underwater signs to guide you among the coral and sea creatures. Bring the kids—it's an easy swim, and you can rent snorkel gear once you're there (nps.gov). 4. You can casually board a seaplane to island-hop. Sure, a ferry is always an option, but why not summon a seaplane shuttle as your chariot when you're exploring the USVI? Travel the 44 miles between St. Thomas and St. Croix in about 25 minutes on an airline like Seaborne Airlines or Cape Air, which have multiple daily flights (from $60 one way). 5. Three islands means three festivals, held throughout the year. Mark your calendar if you like parties, food, and fanciful costumes: St. Croix's Christmas festival is in December (naturally), St. Thomas holds its carnival the last week in April, and St. John celebrates June through early July. You'll be "limin'" (hanging out) with the locals in no time. 6. They drive on the left side of the road there...in American cars. Yep, you can rent a car in the USVI just like you can everywhere else (from familiar companies like Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, Budget, etc., to boot), but remember to channel your inner James Bond and motor like a Brit—even though the steering wheel is counterintuitively on the left side too. (Awkward.)
Airlines With the Best Wi-Fi
Courtesy of Fox News Travel If in-flight Internet access is important to you, there's some good news. According to a new survey by airline industry data firm Routehappy, on-board Wi-Fi is now offered on about a quarter of flights worldwide. In the U.S., 66 percent of domestic flights offering some form of Wi-Fi access-three times the number just 18 months ago. So which airline is the best? Routehappy analyzed all international commercial flights on a typical mid-week travel day that "met their criteria for having at least some chance of Wi-Fi by subfleet scheduled to fly on a flight." They found that while connectivity quality and speed are improving across the board, United has had the biggest Wi-Fi growth domestically over the past 18 months, but just over 20 percent of their flights over inflight Internet service. Routehappy CEO Robert Albert told CNN that Wi-Fi is one of the "most sought-after new amenities" fliers are looking for when booking travel and airlines are continuing to experiment with different ways their guests can gain access to the web with set pricing structures or gratis. Nordic Airlines Icelandair and Norwegian lead the charge for international carriers with the greatest web connectivity, offering Wi-Fi on more than 80 percent of their flights. Routehappy does not provide specific numbers in their study. Check out Routehappy for the full list international carriers with great Wi-If. For those flying in the U.S., the carriers below offer the highest percentage of flight miles with Wi-Fi connectivity. 1. Virgin America 2. Southwest 3. JetBlue 4. Delta 5. Alaska 6. American/US 7. United Check out additional stories from Fox News Travel: 6 interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower Seattle now shaming residents for not composting food waste Outrageous luxury Super Bowl packages and getaways