On Friday night my family and I attended the event Two Museums and a Palace. It was jointly held by Iolani Palace, the Honolulu Museum of Arts (formerly known as the Academy) & Bishop Museum. It began at five and included a beer garden and shuttle service between the venues. Need I say more? I was excited to be able to sample beer from the new Aloha Brewery at the beer garden set up at the Ionlani Barracks. We were there fairly early and debated whether or not we wanted to stand on the line for the Palace tour. We decided to do it and were glad that we had. After being in Hawaii for more than ten years, I had finally visited the Palace on a Kamaʻaina Sunday a few weeks ago. I don’t know why I never visited. I loved it. I love visiting historical places – to actually be in the place. When I lived in Thailand we visited Ayutthaya (apparently the second Siamese Capitol – I actually know very little history) and it was breathtaking. I realize that sounds sappy and contrived but it is the truth. I felt the same way our tour of Iolani Palace especially when they took us into the room where Queen Liliʻuokalani had been imprisoned for 8 months for her alleged knowledge of a revolutionary plot. That room, the imprisonment room, felt sad to me. When the docent began speaking about the quilt which the Queen began as a means to communicate to her people, I actually felt a little choked up.
The reason the Friday night tour was even more fabulous than a regular tour was that they let us take photos (usually prohibited). I know it sounds dopey but I was thrilled. There was a pianist playing in the reception room and for the first time in twenty years the Palace was allowing people to use the staircase to access the second floor. The wood on the stairs is one of the only places where the original wood remains. The last time we were there the staircase was covered in carpeting. They had told us it would be removed and so it had. As we ascended LKY said, we are walking where the King walked. It was too cool.
After the tour we hustled to the Barracks to guzzle some beer before catching the shuttle over to what I can’t stop calling the Academy. There was beer at there and a couple of lunch trucks. I am having a lunch truck love affair these days. We strolled about and watched some guys making ceramic rocket ships and bowls. Then it was up to ghost stories in the Hawaiian art gallery. Always a mistake as the 7 year old is still traumatized by some ghost stories he read in summer school. We only caught one having to do with a doppelganger of a little girl. Just in time to have the storyteller say that if you see your doppelganger that means you are going to die. Yeah, we had to leave right after that.
While we were perusing the galleries, I physically ran into a youngish girl after almost doing so a few minutes earlier. When we went to catch the shuttle this girl was on the line right behind us and ended up sitting with the three of us in the back of the van. We chatted with her and she asked about visiting Bishop Museum since the shuttle line was so long. We recommended the Palace. She told us she had been here four weeks and was teaching at Central Intermediate. She had seen the line for the Palace tour at 5:00 when she was leaving work but wanted to stop home first. The line was longer now but the Palace lanterns were lit and it was lovely. We parted and said goodbye. The entire time we were with her, I thought, she is me. She is me alone in this state years ago wondering if I will stay. Going to new places and finding her way. Part of me wanted to get her contact information but that would have been odd. We wished her luck and I meant it. I hope that Hawaii loves her as much as it loves me and that even though she is not my real doppelganger, that in ten years time she is on a shuttle with her love and her kid having the same thoughts about the just to the islands girl sitting next to her.