Girl-on-World: Aloha Spirit Fingers In The Hawaiian Sky

Tuesday – Diamonds in the Sky

My last full day in Hawaii, I felt well enough to take five ibuprofen and hike Diamondhead. It was an hour or so walk from the hotel, I’d brought my hiking boots and it was a beautiful day, because of course, it’s Hawaii.

photo via shutterstock

photo via shutterstock

I walked past everything we’d already walked past and then past a zoo and then I was about fifteen minutes away from the part where I could actually hike Diamondhead! It was a surprisingly residential and quiet neighborhood that I’d been lead to by Google Maps, actually, I figured it was a shortcut.

But then it started to feel like something was on my shoe? Like I’d stepped on something that was now flapping off the sole of my shoe.

It turned out to be that my shoe that was flapping on the sole of my shoe.

So I stood on the street in my hiking shorts and backback and my chunky Nike hiking boots and lifted one foot to see that  the entire bottom of my shoe had peeled away from the top, like something that had aged and soiled and was cracking open in the sun. It came right off so when I stood on what was left of the shoe it was like wearing a slipper, almost.


photo taken back at the hotel of the broken shoe

Then I remembered: I must have purchased these twelve years ago? I should get out more.

Anyhow, so I didn’t make it up Diamondhead but ’round about happy hour, I met up with Marni and her Australian co-worker for drinks with a side of sunset at Rum Fire (2255 Kalakaua Ave // Honolulu, HI 96815). The cocktails were delicious and so was the view.


Three or five drinks later we were at Bacchus Waikiki (408 Lewers at Kuhio, Waikiki, Honolulu), a dank second-floor gay bar that reminded me of my early 20’s, when I’d do the Hell’s Kitchen Gay Happy Hour with my gay friends and wonder why it was always so dark, even at four in the afternoon in July. But it also reminded me of how much more comfortable I am surrounded by gays, even if they’re all men. Britney Spears mega-mixes and other 90’s relics churned softly from elevated televisions and the pour was generous. Marni’s coworker’s husband showed up and from there we walked about six feet down to Siam Square (408 Leweres, Ste 200, Waikiki, Honolulu). It must have been 10 or 11 by this point, and so for the first time all week, we were seated right away.

Dinner was delightful, the company was fantastic, and we returned to our hotel for one final night in the giant bed.

Wednesday – Goodbye Sunshine

Our last morning in Hawaii. Could I open doors or lift suitcases? No. Did I want to stay forever? For sure! We spent the last morning hanging out poolside, reading and sun-soaking and eating Cheeseburgers. When it was time to go to the airport, the only taxi they had available was a limo but they said it would cost the same. I don’t know, it was super-weird and kinda hilarious.


marni living the high life

It only took about another week for my back to heal, therefore affirming my decision at the time that it was much more important to see the beach where Oceanic Flight 817 crashed than it was to sit in the ER all day.

In conclusion, the only thing that could make Hawaii more awesome than it is already would be if James Cook hadn’t shown up in 1778 to begin fucking shit up, following 2,000 years of successful self-governing during which the Hawaiians had signed peace treaties with foreign nations such as the U.S. and England which recognized Hawaii as an independent nation. I’m not an expert on this issue by any means, but just saying.

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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2943 articles for us.


  1. I just got back from Hawaii 2 weeks ago so I thoroughly enjoyed this article. Although we were there for 2 weeks and I cried when we had to leave, so kudos to you for successfully handling such a short trip (emotionally that is).

  2. This article doesn’t help my desire to go to Hawaii ASAP. Ya’ll look so cute/relaxed/adorable. I appreciated the historical details because it’s really important to note the history of imperialism with Hawaii & how it has enabled a tourism culture that got you there in the first place! Whenever I think of how Hawaii became a US state, I get so angry.

    Also I think it’s worth noting how fucking expensive Hawaii is. The only place I’ve been to that’s more expensive than Waikiki is London & I’m pretty sure that’s because of the whole $ to £ thing.

  3. I literally Lol’d at the “Low low price of your left arm and first born child” line. I would eventually like to travel to Hawaii, but it’s definitely important to note that doing so would be a pricey vacation. Thanks for the insider tips and the history. It sounds like you and Marni had fun.

  4. As someone who was born and raised in Hawai‘i, I thoroughly enjoyed this! You seemed to capture the tourist Hawai‘i while still being conscious of the fucked up happenings that made Hawai‘i the way it is.

    I also fucking loved your conclusion and have so many words that I want to say about occupied Hawai‘i but will leave it at that.

    Glad you enjoyed your vacation!

  5. great article, really enjoyed reading about hawaii! just a sidenote – i think it was captain james cook, not john cook who showed up in 1778 and began fucking shit up (just cause i’m from new zealand and he did the same here).

  6. I have a lot of Hawai’i feelings. My wife and I were married on the North Shore! Also my wife was born in Honolulu in the same hospital as Barack Obama, true story.

    I would highly recommend staying on the North Shore of O’ahu if you can. It’s not as developed and is really laid back. There aren’t any big resorts up there, so you’ll have to stay at a youth hostel or somewhere off of a site like airbnb or VRBO, but that’s pretty much how we roll most of the time anyway.

  7. I went to Hawai’i a couple years ago and as someone who is not a beach or sun person, the main high points were getting really drunk with my cousin and seeing where Captain Cook died.

    But if you want to know more about the overthrow and what lead up to it, I would totally recommend Sarah Vowell’s “Unfamiliar Fishes.”

  8. As a Native Hawaiian, you did right by me, Riese. When I saw this article title, I thought pleasepleaseplease don’t be another colonial take on my homeland. I don’t think I could handle that kind of heartache from my beloved AS.

    The reality of our continued occupation by the U.S. is so deeply hurtful, it’s often reinjuring to have to constantly educate people about our history. The version you shared here is authentically represented, and I hope anyone who’s interested will take the time to learn more and raise awareness by sharing with others.

    Me ka mahalo nui.

  9. This article was very educational for me both to refresh/ learn the history of the islands and to see a visitor’s experience. Thank you!

    I have to ask though, because I became much more aware of this when I went to the mainland for college, when you say your boot felt like a slipper do you mean a rubber slipper (aka flip-flop) or fuzzy slippers?

  10. This hits so many right notes for me; my travel mates have come to terms with how my feet will simply keep detouring into museums or book stores.

    On a side note, I do recommend Sarah Vowel’s Unfamiliar Fishes for a read about Hawaiian history- her writing blends a great mix of dark humour and information~

  11. This article was amazing! I have never been to Hawaii, but i love traveling to new places and discovering their history. I don’t know anything about Hawaiian history and you have inspired me to spend the next hour on wiki learning about it:-)

  12. Thoroughly enjoyed this article after recently returning from a trip to Hawaii. Funny that everyone thinks it is so expensive … being Australian we were floored by how cheap everything was. We could not believe that a cinema ticket was $1.75! Australians are flocking to Hawaii as an affordable holiday destination, hard to believe that it’s so pricey for some.

  13. Apologies, Riese. The gay scene here is very small and disjointed, for whatever reason. Legislation is attempting to create bits of sovereign Hawaii but there’s also 18 billion Hawaiian groups all claiming to be/have the rightful ruler of Hawaii and filled with their own share of not-so-great people that it might take a long time for everything to be sorted out.

    Full agreement about the bus award being for the rainbow on the side. It’s my least favorite version of transport.

  14. Born and raised in Hawaii, glad you enjoyed yourself!! Living here, I tend to lose sight of everything that makes Hawaii awesome sometimes. Seeing a vacationers perspective makes remembering a little easier. Also, kudos on taking time to learn Hawaiian history.

    Next time you come out tell somebody! Discounts, discounts everywhere… This is why we shake the lesbian phone tree.

  15. Hey, thanks for this. Planning to do a whole australia/NZ adventure next year and this makes me really want to add in a stop in Hawaii too!

    I’m also a big fan of learning the history of the places I visit and this article definitely made me want to know more. For anyone else that’s interested I went looking after I read this and found this documentary on youtube called Hawaii’s Last Queen .

  16. I’m travelling to Hawaii in May 2014 ..and have no idea where to stay and what to do…I’m not a really highrise on beaches kind of person. But I know a lot of other parts of Hawaii are awesome…need some help figuring those places out.

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