The Top 10 Things I Learned Doing Research About Hawaii

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It’s on my website, the “About Me” section of my blog, and my Facebook and Twitter pages, but some of you may not know how much I love Hawaii. I first went there on my honeymoon in 1995 and it’s been an obsession ever since. My third book, which is still without an official title, comes out next April (you’re right– I said it would be March, but things change and, unfortunately, I have no control over that) and you may or may not know that it’s set on the Island of Hawaii (yes, just like the state’s name. It can be confusing, so sometimes the island is referred to as the “Big Island”). It’s the story of Kailani, a sous chef living in Washington, D.C., who moves back home to her native island of Hawaii to take on the job of personal chef to a family of four. Beyond that, I don’t want to give much away because the book is still in the edits stages.

But I did tons of research for the book, and I wanted to share with you some of my favorite fun facts.

1. There has never been a case of rabies in Hawaii.

Learned that the hard way.

My husband and I were eating dinner in a nice restaurant (open-air) when a cat wandered up to our table. He (she?) was beautiful, gray and white, and I reached down to pet him. You know what happened next. So we called the ER when we got back to our room to see if I should go in for rabies shots and we were told, to my great happiness, that Hawaii is rabies-free.

2. Many years ago, Hawaiians brought mongoose (the plural of this word is up in the air–some say mongeese, some say mongooses, neither sounds right to me) to the islands to rid the land of rats.

What they didn’t realize is that mongoose are diurnal. And since rats are nocturnal, the two species have never met.

3. The state fish is something is called the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Say that ten times fast, or even one time slowly.

4. The Big Island is approximately double the size of the other seven major islands combined.

5. The Big Island has eleven of the thirteen climate zones in the world. Yes, there is snow in Hawaii. People actually ski and snowboard there, but only on the mountaintops.

6. Hawaii is the only U.S. state that grows coffee.

7. There are only twelve letters in the Hawaiian alphabet and the words in the Hawaiian language are more fun to pronounce than any other in the world (this last part was my opinion, not actual searchable fact). See #3, above.

8. Hawaiian cowboys are called paniolos. Their culture is exciting and their history is diverse and they are responsible for some fabulous food and music that come from their mixed heritages.

9. The island of Moloka’i is where people with Hansen’s Disease, commonly known as leprosy, were sent forcibly until as recently as the 1960s. If you’re ever in search of a great read about this, pick up Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. It’s a beautifully-written, honest, and heartwrenching story about the leper colony on the island.

10. If you ever find a gecko indoors, don’t worry–they’re good luck!

Cockroaches, not so much.

11. BONUS! Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two mountains located on the Island of Hawaii, are the two largest mountains in the world when measured from the sea floor.

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Got any fun facts from somewhere you’ve been? I’d love to hear about it!

Until next week,

Amy

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9 comments on “The Top 10 Things I Learned Doing Research About Hawaii

  1. Love Hawaii, and love your fun facts.I did not know about Molokai. Until 1960? It’s amazing that it was kept secret all those years.

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    • amreade says:

      Glad you enjoyed them, Michelle! Alan Brennert’s book tells a haunting story about the leper colony on Moloka’i. I couldn’t put it down. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  2. Sharonag13@gmail.com says:

    🙂

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  3. Fascinating! I especially like #5. Thanks for enlightening those of us who haven’t been there.

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    • amreade says:

      Nancy, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I don’t know that I have a favorite, but #5 is, indeed, pretty cool. I enjoy reading about your neck of the woods, too. Lake Norman looks wonderful! Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Sharon Aguanno (Armymom) says:

    Very Cool Topic… I sent your link to a friend who is headed to Hawaii next month.

    Since I lived in AZ for 3 years, I thought I would look up some facts about the state… found some interesting ones, Some may be new to folks, and some they may already know….

    1. The saguaro cactus blossom is the official state flower. The white flower blooms on the tips of the saguaro cactus during May and June. The saguaro is the largest American cactus.

    2. The bola tie is the official state neck wear. (I would have thought this would be TX)

    3. Arizona observes Mountain Standard Time on a year round basis. The one exception is the Navajo Nation, located in the northeast corner of the state, which observes the daylight savings time change.
    (I love this about AZ)

    4. In 1926, the Southern Pacific Railroad connected Arizona with the eastern states.

    5. Bisbee, located in Tombstone Canyon, is known as the Queen of the Copper Mines. During its mining history the town was the largest city between Saint Louis and San Francisco. (Love Bisbee, Now, it is a quaint little town)

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    • Sharon Aguanno (Armymom) says:

      Good Grief, There are 4 kids playing in the house right now (Raining), and I forgot to say

      As Always, “Keep Reading and Writing.”

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      • amreade says:

        You are so funny. Thanks–my day wouldn’t have been complete without your “Keep Reading and Writing!” And good luck with those kids–rainy days can be long! But fun, too.

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    • amreade says:

      I can’t believe Arizona has an official state neckwear! I wonder if other states do, too. I’ve never been to AZ, but it’s on my (very long) list of places to visit. It seems to be a place with lots of contrasts, like city/desert, hot/cold, etc. And the pictures I’ve seen of it are beautiful. Thanks for sharing what you learned about it!! 🙂

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