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Tips on being culturally respectful...

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Vancouver, Canada
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Tips on being culturally respectful...

Hi, I'm a Canadian going to Hawaii for the first time this summer and I'd love some tips or suggestions on how to avoid unintentionally offending people.

Other than the obvious, are there some phrases, gestures, actions that are uniquely offensive to Hawaiian people that the general public may not know about?

Thanks in advance!

California
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for Oahu
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1. Re: Tips on being culturally respectful...

Common courtesy does the trick. It's American ... and unless you are trying to speak Hawaiian and say something offensive, I doubt that you will offend.

Kauai, Hawaii
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2. Re: Tips on being culturally respectful...

Don't take anyone's picture late at night outside a bar without their permission...

honoluluadvertiser.com/article/…905290333

Napa, California
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3. Re: Tips on being culturally respectful...

Actually, it is a good point about making sure you avoid locals in your photos when in non touristy areas.

In 05 or 06 a law student was killed when he was taking pictures of Makaha beach, with a local in the shot.

You won't have problems in the mainstream tourist areas, but if you are off the beaten path - you may want to avoid.

Kauai, Hawaii
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4. Re: Tips on being culturally respectful...

That was actually at Nanakuli Beach Park / campground near midnight.

Makaha is up further up the West side past Waianae - no campground there.

The guy ended up getting 20 years for his post photo sucker punch...

…starbulletin.com/2008/…story04.html

Elk Rapids, Michigan
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for Lanai
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5. Re: Tips on being culturally respectful...

If you see a sign somewhere that says just "Kapu" that means forbidden or keep out, I suggest you do even if your handy dandy travel guide book says it is ok.

Do try to speak a bit of Hawaiian (aloha, mahalo etc..) and if not sure of a word, ask. Do NOT try to speak pidgin, you will never master it.

Don't give anyone "stink eye"....translated that means:

"stink eye. A facial expression of doubt, distrust, or dislike; a dirty look; skunk eye, the hairy eyeball."

laguna niguel, ca
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6. Re: Tips on being culturally respectful...

The most important thing to remember is they are on Hawaii time. The irate tourist thing just does not fly in Hawaii. You need to be flexible and not rushed, if a activity gets canceled or they lose your reservation or you don't get the exact room you want it will do no good at all to scream and yell. Take it slow, small talk with the employees and just hang loose.

Hawaiians just do not feel the need to get upset. We know you spend countless hours figuring your trip internary down to the closest minute, but it just is not that important becasue you are in Hawaii.

Obama is just your classic Hawaiian, just nothing seems to bother the guy. Its all good.

California
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for Oahu
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7. Re: Tips on being culturally respectful...

<Do NOT try to speak pidgin, you will never master it.>

There is no need to try - and if you do ... you will look stupid.

It's hard for some of us to chill ... especially after a long flight and overwhelming expectations. Patience and understanding is good ...

Pahoa. HI
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8. Re: Tips on being culturally respectful...

If you decide to rent a car, don't beep your horn...

La Mirada...
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for Kauai
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9. Re: Tips on being culturally respectful...

Know what the "Shaka" sign is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaka_sign

I've never driven on Oahu, are there one-lane bridges like on the other islands? You need to know one-lane bridge etiquette:

When approaching the one-lane bridges, yield signs and white lines indicate where cars need to stop to allow on-coming traffic to pass safely. Driving beyond these white lines, without noticing if there are on-coming cars leads to traffic jams, accidents and locals giving you stink eye.

If you are the first car to arrive at the bridge and no one else is waiting on the other side, proceed slowly and enjoy the view. But please, no stopping for pictures.

If you are in a short line of traffic and someone is waiting to cross from the other side, it is OK to go if you are the second or third car. However, somewhere after the fourth or fifth car it is polite to stop and allow those on the other side to proceed across. You'll know you gauged this right if a local gives you the shaka sign for waiting.

Lastly, if you and another car appear to be approaching the bridges at the same time, it is better to stop than race to get over first. There's "no hurries, no worries" here, besides its your vacation, relax and enjoy.

3Chihuahuas

Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: Tips on being culturally respectful...

Ah, these are great tips! Thank you. Keep 'em coming. :)