Sunday, 5 April 2015

Hello.

It will be obvious to you shortly that this blog was written before our vacation in paradise. 
I suppose I planned to use it but simply forgot. I guess I could save it until the next time we travel to paradise, but it is more than probable that I would forget it again and have to wait until the time after that. 
It's just easier to submit it today and be done with it.

This morning while I was lying in bed halfway between sleep and wake, I was thinking about how we use the word hello. Well, pretty much the same way, as a greeting between strangers and friends alike.

The reason I was thinking about “hello” is that Louise and I will soon be walking along a tropical beach and it will be necessary to greet other couple that are walking towards us. We don’t have to say anything of course but talking to people when you are a Canadian walking along a tropical beach is very much like pinching yourself in a dream to see if you are dreaming. Sometimes a conversation just develops if they notice you are wearing a t-shirt from whatever city or province they happen to be from. They might say “Hi there, are you from Coquitlam?”  Generally I will just say “No, but my shirt is.” After that we get into a conversation about the weather back home (of course), how long they have been here and when they have to go home and do they have any suggestions for interesting things to do on the island.

Twenty feet down the beach we may have the same conversation with another couple, but it never seems to get old. Perhaps it’s the waves lapping around your ankles, the eternal sound of the ocean or the sun and wind gently caressing your pasty white body or bright pink body. People just don’t look scary in bare feet, shorts and a wife beater. That might be why the Europeans carried guns and wore steel shod boots with armour when they were “discovering” new lands. I’ve met some very nice people walking on beaches.

In Hawaii they use “Aloha” for hello and goodbye. I’ve never heard anyone use it for goodbye, but most of the time I don’t know who is coming or going. I figure that it is only polite to use “aloha” while I am in Hawaii. You should use as many native words as you can whenever you are in a foreign country. If I ever go to France I plan to dredge up my high school French whenever I need a window or door opened and if by some stroke of luck I happen to run into Monsieur and Madam Thibote I have six years of classroom French to fall back on. Bring it on France!

The problem I have in Hawaii is that I just don’t feel comfortable speaking Hawaiian. I don’t think anyone else does either. Generally I say “Hello…er…ah…aloha.” which lacks the amount of commitment needed to pull the greeting off. It’s not as if they don’t understand English and they can tell I don’t know what the hell I am saying. It isn’t as if a visitor to Canada  will ever use the traditional Inuktitut greeting “Ainngai” when approached on the streets of Calgary. By the time I am ready to leave paradise, I will be used to saying “aloha” when appropriate.

I’ll never get used to saying “maholo”. It is the way of saying goodbye, thanks and it has been a huge pleasure, or something like that. I try to use it but the best I can do is a very quiet, mumbled “maholo”.

Well, hello, aloha, ola, hej, bula, hai, bon jour, bures, bone die, ciao, and sawubona.


Maybe I’ll just wave..

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