Hustlers in Honolulu

I used to think that I wouldn’t like Hawaii because I prefer mountains to beaches and also crowds annoy me. I was wrong.

During our overnight layover, Olivia, Trevor and I had fish tacos, swam at Waikiki Beach, then quickly left the beach because, yeah it’s warm, but not a swimming-at-sunset-with-a-light-breeze sort of warm. #worthit.

When we got dry, we walked along the main strip at Waikiki. It was still decorated for Christmas, which warmed my heart immensely.

About a mile into our walk, we found a grove of trees lit by a path of tiki torches. Obviously that was our cue to explore. After following the lights through a building and down a cobbled driveway, we ended up in front of a giant pink hotel called the Royal Hawaiian. My research told me that this was the hotel in which one of the movies we used to watch as kids, Gidget Goes Hawaiian, was filmed. Having fulfilled a childhood dream that I hadn’t even known I had, we followed the lights back to the crowds and began to wander back to our own hotel.

On the way, we noticed a crowd forming around 5 people with a sound system and sweet dance moves. We paused.

At first the people were kind of funny–“The better energy you give us, the better our show will be. What were saying is, if the show sucks, it’s your fault.” They danced together for about 30 seconds, then a couple of them did some breakdancing solos. Not gonna lie, I was pretty impressed.

“Alright, time for the grand finale! But first we need some volunteers!! First, we need 2 sexy white guys up here!”

No one moved.

“Come on! Thank you for helping us out!” The guy said, dragging two guys who had not volunteered onto their platform. “Now we need a couple pretty ladies!” Again, no volunteers. Again, people were led by the hand up there, though unlike the white dudes, they seemed to be having fun. They had to drag another woman up, who I think spoke limited English and was very confused, but they did get a volunteer for a kid and gave her $10 and told her to never give up on her dreams. Sweet, right?

With all of them lined up, they turned back to the crowd. “Before we do the finale, it’s time to get paid! Pull out your twenties and drop them in the bucket. Don’t worry, we’ll come to you!” They proceeded to walk through the crowd and act like we were robbing them if we didn’t put $20 in the bucket. Unfortunately, this is 2019, and I don’t exactly ever have cash on me, especially when I’m traveling to a country with a non-US currency.

Luckily, the rest of the crowd was pretty generous. Soon they had about $150 for the 5 minutes of performance we had watched, including the $10 they’d given the little girl.

Not satisfied, they turned back to the “sexy white guys” they had voluntold for their show. “You’re rich, throw in a hundred for us!”

One shook his head. The other smiled about pointed to his wife. “She has the money.”

“I already gave!” she said.

“This ain’t no two for one deal!” two of the performers replied in unison. When it became clear no one else was going to give, the main speaker turned back to the guy whose wife had already given.

“You guys are a bunch of cheapskates. None of you get to see the grand finale now. Get out of here and stop staring at us like we’re a science experiment.”

Ah, sir, a science experiment has the potential to be useful.

A bit flabbergasted, and extremely grateful we hadn’t given them anything, we continued down the strip in search of dessert. It was mostly places that sold ice cream for $10 a scoop, but about a block from our hotel we stumbled upon a gem of a restaurant, The M. Three hot fudge sundaes later, we returned to the hotel, repacked our bags, and got to bed early to prep for the next leg of our journey.

Published by Andrea Umfleet

Writer, Backpacker, Freelance Technical Editor. Owner of Trask Mountain Editing. I like the Oxford comma.

3 thoughts on “Hustlers in Honolulu

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures! I love to travel vicariously, keep it up. We will read every one. Eat a hot fudge sundae for me! Kathy


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