The Coach asked me out on a date tonight, so we sent Baby Girl to Grandma's and went for dinner at The Yard House in Waikiki Beachwalk. We had a really ono meal, then TC suggested we drive home through Waikiki.
There was a lot of activity there on Kalakaua; my head was swiveling madly, checking out everything that was going on on both sides of the street. Royal Hawaiian Center is looking amazing since their gazillion-dollar renovation, there was live Hawaiian music coming from the PK and the Marriott and even at Kuhio Beach. At a red light we pulled up next to a limo full of really happy girls; one of them shouted at us: "I'm getting married!!!"
Now, for TC and me, Waikiki is basically our back yard, our playground. We grew up there, in many ways. And back in the days of our youth, it was a much different place. Apart from the obvious - far fewer hotels, just a handful of restaurants, and virtually no retail at all, save for the old Liberty House and, of course, International Market Place - the place just had a completely different vibe back then.
It's a little hard to put my finger on it, but it was kind of like we owned the place in a way, yet we were willing to share it, to invite visitors to come on in and make themselves comfortable. We would play on the beach all day, then go back at night and play some more: eating dinner at the Snack Shop or Ft. De Russy, walking on the beach, listening to music outside the Halekulani.
As familiar a setting as it is, it doesn't feel like we own it anymore. That's okay; we can still enjoy it for what it is even though Waikiki has outgrown us to the point where it doesn't need us so much and we don't need it the way it is either. It's hard not to feel nostalgic for those old days, knowing they can never come back, but I think there's something comforting in just having the memories and knowing we owned a piece of something really special: old Waikiki.