Story by Kathy Collins | Illustration by Matt Foster
Listen to this column read aloud in pidgin:
When da editah told me dat dis issue was goin’ feature da Great Beaches of Maui, I t’ought fo’ sure she meant me an’ my tita friends. Come to find out, she was talkin’ about oceanfront property, not strong female personalities.
Dass okay, I said, I get some good mem’ries an’ stories about da beach. Not as juicy as da stuffs I get about my friends, but nemmind.
Every year, get at least one Maui beach on at least one a da dozen or so Bes’ Beaches lists dat da so-call experts put out. In fack, ovah twenny years ago, in his first top-ten list, Doctah Beach wen’ name Kapalua Bay Beach da bes’ beach in da whole USA. An’ since den, t’ree more Maui beaches wen’ make numbah one on da doctah’s list. We even get couple, t’ree world championships.
So how come, aftah all dese years of intah-national recognition, da mos’ famous beach in Hawai‘i is still Waikiki Beach? Get couple dozen songs about Waikiki Beach, but you try Google or Bing “songs about Maui beaches” an’ you get Spongebob Squarepants. Hones’ promise, I no kid you. Da one musical tribute to our beaches come from one goofy cartoon sponge.
I donno, maybe bettah li’dat. Small-kid time, one a da bes’ tings about da bes’ beaches was dat nobody else knew about ‘em. Hard fo’ believe, but back den, you could go Big Beach or any oddah place on da sout’ shore, an’ no see nobody. Fo’ days.
Ev’ry chance we get, our fam’ly would go down da beach fo’ pick limu — whatchu call seaweed. My maddah would make musubi (rice balls) an’ fry up hot dogs an’ teriyaki beef fo’ our lunch. My faddah would decide where fo’ go — Waiehu, Kihei, Nort’ Shore, Lahaina. Wherevah we go, we take couple, t’ree goza, da kine straw mats, fo’ put down on da sand so we can make picnic. Aftah we pau kaukau, we go walk up an’ down da beach, pickin’ up da limu dat wash up wit’ da tide. Used to have so much, we could fill up one bucket an’ still leave plenny fo da nex’ fam’ly. When we get home, Ma would soak da dark red ogo in her vinegar-sugar sauce, or put liddo bit Hawaiian salt on top da fat green waiwaiole an’ mix ‘em wit’ tomato an’ onion.
When my son was small, I wanted fo’ give him da same kine good mem’ries from da beach. But we was living on O‘ahu dat time, an’ I nevah know which beaches was safe. So I used to take him down Waikiki Beach, where no mo’ big waves. I would make musubi an’ hot dogs, like my maddah used to, an’ we would find one space fo’ our goza in between all da tourists’ beach towels and giant umbrellas.
Waikiki nevah have too much edible limu, but once in a while, liddo bit waiwaiole would wash up. My boy would pick ‘em up off da sand, rinse ‘em in da watah an’ eat ‘em raw right there, jus’ fo’ watch da tourists freak out.
Nowadays, you no can eat limu straight off Waikiki Beach, get too much suntan lotion in da watah. An’ on Maui, you hardly evah see da good kine on da beach like in da olden days; you gotta go inside da watah fo’ find ‘em now. But dass okay. Even if no mo’ fresh waiwaiole, hot dogs an’ musubi still taste da bes’ when you sitting on da beach. Might be da extra salt from da sea breeze.
Tita is the Pidgin-speaking alter ego of local actress and Mana‘o Radio cofounder/DJ Kathy Collins. Both Tita and Ms. Collins grew up on Maui.