The setting of Book 3 in my Disaster Crimes series is Oahu, Hawaii. Just as when I had to research San Francisco for Book 2, Seismic Crimes, I had a lot of fun learning about Oahu. I checked out travel guides and books from the library and visited many websites to get the information I needed to make the setting real and descriptive.
Below are the 10 most important things about Oahu you should include if you choose this island as a setting for a book:
1. Diamond Head
A volcano that’s been dead for about 100,000 years. It has a 760 foot crater in its center and tunnels that lead inside. You can follow the trails on a steep incline three-quarter miles up to the rim of the crater. You can also take a helicopter ride over it.
2. Waikiki Beach
The world’s most famous stretch of beaches. Waikiki’s 2-mile long beach is actually divided into 7 sections: Kahanamoku Beach (the widest stretch), Fort DeRussy Beach, Gray’s Beach, Royal Moana Beach, Kuhio Beach, Queen’s Surf Beach, and San Suoci Beach.
The east end of the beach is next to Diamond Head. At the west end is the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon. White sands, coral reefs, waves for surfing, and major hotels make up Waikiki Beach.
3. Pearl Harbor
At Pearl Harbor a special USS Memorial honors the over 1,100 sailors that died on the USS Arizona on December 6th 1941. The memorial was built directly over the ship in the middle of the harbor so you can peer over the side and see the ship’s hull.
Shaved Ice – a cone-shaped cup of ice is sweetened with flavored sugar. You can request sweet beans (azuki beans) to be added under the ice. Shaved ice is sold at stands all around town.
Barbecue Sticks – pork, chicken, or beef marinated in Teriyaki sauce and served on bamboo sticks.
Pineapples – the most popular fruit with James Dole crops in Central O’ahu measuring around 11,500 acres.
A hand greeting in Hawaii. You extend your pinkie and thumb and curl your three fingers into your palm. Many shake theirs hands back and forth, too. If you ever watched Dog the Bounty Hunter, you probably saw him do this while saying, “Shaka, Bratha.”
A mix of English and Hawaiian languages spoken by the natives, especially young Hawaiians.
Aloha – Hello
Brah (bra) – Friend; brother
Howzit – How are you doing?
Mahalo (Mah-hah-low) – Thank you
Lei (lay) – Flower garland
Hula – Hawaiian dance
Ae (aye) – Yes
Oahu is the center of surfing among the islands. You’ll always find surfers catching waves, especially in the North Shore where die hard, professional surfers can be seen taking on beasts of waves known as pipe (aka Banzai Pipeline or Pipeline).
In the summer, trade winds stop blowing contributing to the rise of temperatures. Shirt-sticking weather is the reason why shaved ice is so popular. And air conditioning!
The temperatures in Hawaii don’t vary much due to its proximity to the equator. In the summer months it can be in the upper 80’s. In the winter months it can be in the upper 70’s, low 80’s.
9. Ala Moana Center
A shopping mall in Honolulu popular for shopping and dining. Bloomingdale’s, Macys, Kay Jewelers, Tiffany & Co, Nine West, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Godiva Chocolatier, and Barnes & Noble are some of the stores in this vast shopping center.
10. Flora & Fauna
Flowers – birds of paradise, plumeria, gardenia, hibiscus, red/blue ginger, orchid, oleander
Trees – Koa trees, Ohia trees, coconut palm trees, banana trees, Bayan
Mammals/Birds – sea turtles, sharks, manta rays, humpback whales, dolphins, monk seals, pigs (wild boar), goats, mongooses, ducks, geese, zebra doves, and feral cats.
QUESTIONS: Has Hawaii even been a setting for one of your books?
Do you live in Hawaii? Have you vacationed there?
(What else can you share?)