ala wai canal 1920 to 1928



We lived for a year in an apartment in the Hilton Hawaiian Village which was very trippy. It’s the building with the big mosaic rainbow on it. I'm guessing I was about 13 or so around 1972. I remember getting my period and taking the elevator down to a convenience store in the ground floor and buying sanitary napkins, and trying to figure out from the printed instructions what to do with them.

In the mornings I waited for the bus at a little rose garden near Diamond Head where they had big hibiscus bushes too, and I'd often put one in my hair. Mainly I used Waikiki as a space to play in and try to imagine being someplace bigger and more adult - real space overlayed with imaginary space. My sister and I would wander the hotel lobbies and gift stores, and I remember we used to get my slightly hard-to-find favorite candy bar, the baby ruth, at the Ilikai hotel. My friends and I used the hotel swimming pools alot too, no one ever bothered us. And later our little mostly queer gang would drive through Waikiki in my friend Phred's van and play at being merry pranksters by putting foaming detergent in all the fountains. We all had fake IDs then and went dancing all the time at the Tomato and Hula's bar and lei stand (gay) and also this funny place called Spats that opened up under the Hyatt regency (straight). And we played elaborate real-life fantasy games where we pretended to be spies and various kinds of exotic characters meeting in hotel lobbies.

Sal Randolph, 2008