By C. LaRene Hall
I’m not big on jewelry although before the children era, I wore a lot. Sometimes during special dress-up occasions, I do wear a necklace and earrings. I have plenty in my jewelry box, but rarely buy any for myself.
I’m sure anyone who has traveled to Hawaii has visited the International Market Place where there are hundreds of booths with various souvenirs scattered throughout a large area. During my recent trip, the back entrance to this famous place was just across the street from our hotel.
In the evenings, my husband and I often found ourselves wandering among the many vendors. One day I was walking from one section to another and I made a big mistake. I stopped to admire a necklace. Immediately a woman pounced on me. She started to put a necklace on me, then another one, and another one. She proceeded to put bracelets on me while I kept saying, “I don’t wear jewelry.”
I’m standing there trying to remove them as fast as she is putting them on me. Finally, in desperation I shoved them all at her and ran as fast as I could. I had never felt so violated in my life. No one had ever succeeded in putting so much jewelry around my neck and wrists in my lifetime. Actually, I don’t think anyone ever tried this stunt.
About 10 booths down I stopped to admire a dress and guess what? There she was again, “Name a price.”
That time I left my husband far behind and got out of there. From then on, I always entered the market place from a different direction, and I wouldn’t go near those makeshift stores the entire trip. I bought necklaces for my granddaughters, but not from her.
I never realized that vendors could violate a person in such a way. I also didn’t know they could be sneaky. One night while walking on the sidewalk in front of the market place a man walked up to my husband and put a parrot on his head. He then put another parrot onto the hand of the husband of my friend. He told me, “Take a picture.”
Of course, being a dumb tourist I did exactly what he said. He then told me to stand by my husband and he tried to put a parrot on my hand. I pulled my hand back and said, “You’re not putting a strange bird on my hand.”
He put the bird onto my head (thank goodness I had on a hat) and the other one he put on my friend’s head and reached for my camera. I can’t believe I gave it to him. What if he had stolen it with all my vacation pictures? And a digital camera isn’t cheap. Sometimes I just don’t think. This was one of those times. He took a couple of pictures and to my relief handed me back my camera. Then he said, “That will cost you $20 a couple.”
We told him, “No!” We finally gave him a five-dollar bill and hurried away. How dumb can we be? Are all tourists as dumb as we are?
I knew when I returned I would have lots to write about, but this isn’t the type of thing I planned on writing. Instead, I wanted to write about exotic places that I visited. I’ll get to that eventually, so return next week and I’ll tell you about the entertainment in Hawaii.