Jul 11, 2014

Why I Love Today’s Kailua

Recently, the closing of Hungry Ear set off a lot of dismay about how Kailua has changed, and indeed it has.  When I moved here from Kahala 24 years ago, the place was asleep.  There were very few restaurants, fewer shops to shop at, there was a rowdy bar in the middle of town.  (not really asleep I guess).  Now, although some call it Kaikiki, and others bemoan the big box Target moving in, I love living here because it is lively, and busy and lots of people that live here own businesses and have jobs.  I have previously received comments that because I am co-owner of what is perceived by some to be a tourist venture (and have had the audacity to write about owning a business in a small town on O`ahu) I have contributed to the downfall and am in no position to talk.

Yea, but I talk again.  Today my husband and I were sitting inside of a very busy Crepes No Ka Oi, waiting for our yummy crepes and drinking their wonderful coffee.  The place was filled with happy chatter.  There were locals, Japanese visitors, and westbound visitors.  The staff was moving fast on their feet because they were understaffed today, but everyone was –as we would say in the sixties — copasetic.  When I moved to Kailua, or for many of the years since, there was no place like Crepes No Ka Oi.

On the other side of the window sat a Japanese family.  Their little boy, he of a most seraphic face, sat immediately across from us.  When he caught my eye, he burst into a killer grin, and started to lead me through an impromptu game of Simon Says.  It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time (before you say it, let me say that some of you might be thinking that I am short on fun times.  I am not).  We clapped, put our hands on our head, our cheeks on our fists, waved hi and blew a kiss.  It was one of those pieces of magic that can only happen serendipitously.  Smiles across the world.  It was wonderful.

The other wonderful thing is the very existence of Crepes No Ka Oi, which started out at Kailua’s Thursday night Farmer’s Market.  They’ve grown from there to their current location and are about to move to a new one twice its size.  They have grown from a place where you stood in line, to a place you may have to wait because of their popularity.  This couldn’t have happened in yesterday’s Kailua.


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Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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