Sunday, March 8, 2009
Leif & Jerri - Honolulu, Hawaii - July 1983 - Age 8
We arrived in Hawaii from Japan in July 1983, exhausted from the overnight flight. We were met by people from Peter W's new office at Camp Smith with traditional plumeria leis. I think I posted an earlier photo of Leif and me with leis that really wasn't from that morning arrival but another occasion. This one was the first morning. It was the beginning of three good years for us, though they were exhausting ones for me as I went back to school to finally complete my master's degree.
Until we got quarters at Red Hill, we stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on the 11th floor and enjoyed the environs of Waikiki. It was fun except for the lack of electricity during the great "Oahu Blackout" on "Black Wednesday," July 13, 1983. As I recall, it was caused by a fire in some sugar cane field. The entire island with without electricity for up to three days.
We found out that life on the eleventh floor wasn't nearly so pleasant without electricity! No elevator. No lights. No water (it has to be pumped up to that height), no flushing toilets (same thing). Since the blackout was island-wide, that also meant that most places couldn't prepare food, cash registers and gas pumps didn't work, and it was hard to even get something to eat. Grocery stores were closed and food that wasn't protected by emergency generators was a loss. People were out in the streets because there wasn't much to do. No TV. No video games. No video game parlors.
It didn't take the entrepreneurs long to capitalize on the situation and begin selling t-shirts saying "I survived the great July 13th Blackout" and other such things.
There was a talking parrot at the hotel that fascinated the boys, and we enjoyed the beach. Soon enough we got our quarters and had to settle in to real life instead of living at a resort.