October 1, 2011

Lei - Necklace

Leis are one of those things we really wondered if locals use at all, or if they were just for giving to people when you pick them up at the airport. Turns out you see them a lot for special occasions and events, such as graduations and birthdays. Or when you are a VIP at a huge gala in your honor when you win an important award. But you don't wear them everyday, unless you win awards everyday...

Now, picture lei making. Are you thinking of cute girls on woven mats by the beach, delicately stringing flowers onto necklaces while ukulele plays in the background? Are you imagining them in an outfit like this:
Well, surely that happens sometimes. And when you takes classes on lei making at a resort, it happens more. However, Chinatown happens to be full of flower shops, and most of them sell lei that they make themselves. Your average lei maker tends to look more like this:
You can go to other places on O‘ahu to buy lei, of course, but here there are a ton to choose from and the prices are very reasonable. And you might even get to see them make one! Just look for this street and you'll be all set.
And it's not just the lei, they sell the most beautiful flowers too! Like the fragrant red ginger,
birds of paradise,
and delicate orchids.
The flowers are just one of many interesting smells you can find in my neighborhood. Later, you can learn more about the Maunakea Marketplace!

Another definition of lei is a beloved person (especially a child). This coming from the beloved being hoisted on one's shoulders with their legs hanging down like a lei. Kind of makes piggy-back rides seem even more special! Since Luke normally hides from the camera, I had to honor his request to be included as I kept snapping pictures of the neighborhood, so I needed to tie the keiki in somehow!
And of course, click through if you'd like to learn more about lei!

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