Honolulu International Airport

Souvenir Sunday: Pineapple presents from Honolulu Int’l Airport

Sunday here at StuckatTheAirport.com is Souvenir Sunday – the day we take a look at some of the inexpensive and sometimes wacky souvenirs many of us end up buying when we’re stuck at the airport.

This week’s souvenirs come to us courtesy of Pam Mandel, a lucky Seattle gal who just returned from an adventure in Hawaii. (Am I jealous? No way. I love cold, rainy June days in Seattle. Really…)

(Photo courtesy Pam Mandel)

You can read about Pam’s journey – and see some truly lovely photos – on Pam’s Nerd’s Eye View blog, but I caught up with her – via Twitter – when she was hanging around Honolulu International Airport.

It’s always hard to end a vacation. Especially one in Hawaii. But the Honolulu airport softens the transition with plenty of open spaces, art and history exhibits celebrating Hawaiian culture, and a trio of tranquil cultural gardens – Japanese, Chinese and Hawaiian – that can almost make you forget that you’re at an airport.

(Photo by Harriet Baskas)

But this is Souvenir Sunday – which is all about shopping.  I asked Pam to look around the airport shops for something under $10, “of” Hawaii and, ideally, sort of offbeat.

This pineapple slicer caught her eye – but at $13, it was a bit outside our Souvenir Sunday budget.

(Photo by Pam Mandel)

Plus – hello, TSA – wouldn’t a pineapple slicer need to have something built in – like a blade- that can actually slice a pineapple?

So instead we’re settling on these cute pineapple magnets.  Cute as a button, under $10, and a great choice for this week’s Souvenir Sunday.

Thanks Pam, for sending along these photos!

(Photo by Pam Mandel)

Have you found a great souvenir while you were stuck at the airport? If it’s $10 or under, “of” the city or region and, ideally a bit offbeat, please snap a photo and send it along. It may end up featured on a future edition of Souvenir Sunday.

Love the layover: airport adventures on Oahu and the Big Island

Snowstorms, mudslides, rain, more rain, and tornadoes.

Sounds like a good time for a trip to Hawaii.

If you go, or just want to dream a bit about going, be sure to check out the slide-show I put together for MSNBC.com – Cheap and Offbeat Oahu – about activities that are free, cheap or bit offbeat.

Included: the tale of the fish auction that takes place 6 days a week, beginning at 5:30 am;

Information about a free exhibit at the Hawaii State Art Museum that’s filled with historical objects and photographic portraits that tell the history of Hula,

(These pot holders are not in the exhibition, but you can buy them at the airport..)

And a reminder to travelers that there are a trio of tranquil cultural gardens – Japanese, Chinese and Hawaiian – inside the Honolulu International Airport (HNL)

If you’re going to go to Oahu, you should also pop over to the Big Island.  And if you do, you’ll be able to visit the Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center at the Kona International Airport.  On January 28, 1986, all seven crew members were killed when NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger exploded less than two minutes after launch. One of those crew members, Ellison S. Onizuka, was Hawaii’s first astronaut.

To space center has oodles of fun, hands-on activities as well as exhibits that include a moon rock from the final moon landing of Apollo 17 in 1972, an authentic NASA space suite, and personal items that belonged to Ellison Onizuka.

My favorite items in the collection are the freeze-dried macadamia nuts and the freeze-dried Kona coffee that NASA created especially for Onizuka. Today’s astronauts can still choose these items from the space menu.

Souvenir Sunday at Honolulu International Airport (HNL)

HNL airport - garden

There’s a major and much needed modernization program going on at Honolulu International Airport (HNL).  Shops, restaurants and public areas are being upgraded, but I’m happy to report that no one is going to lay a finger on what many people consider to be the best part of this airport:  the cultural gardens.

Surrounding the main terminal lobby, this trio of three cultural gardens – which honor the Chinese, Japanese and Hawaiian influences on the island – is an oasis offering lovely spots for relaxation, meditation, sunning and snoozing.

It will be tempting, but try not to spend all your time at HNL in the gardens, because the shops here offer plenty of treats.  So many, in fact, that I had a hard time choosing what to feature this week for Souvenir Sunday – the day we  highlight items you can buy at an airport that are under $10, “of” the city or region and, ideally, a bit offbeat.

HNL obama shirt

Souvenirs in the running ranged from all manner of items celebrating President Barack Obama’s links to Hawaii;

HNL Obama teddy

Food items such as pineapple and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, and of course leis made out of everything from flowers and nuts to candy. .

HNL candy lei

This cute and somewhat practical oven mitt caught my eye:

HNL hula pot holder

But in the end I chose this Surfing Santa ornament as my pick for Souvenir Sunday this week.

HNL Surfing Santa

Have you found a great souvenir at an airport?  If it’s under $10, not a shot glass or a magnet (too easy), “of” the city or region, and a bit offbeat, please snap a photo and send it along.

Your souvenir may be featured on a future edition of Souvenir Sunday.

Honolulu Int’l Airport testing wind power

In October 2006, an earthquake knocked out all the electricity on the island of Oahu and closed down the Honolulu Airport, which had inadequate back-up generators.

Now the state of Hawaii is testing a series of wind turbines that should generate enough power to keep the airport operating should there be another emergency situation.


You can read the details of the project in the Honolulu Advertiser.  But even if you’re not at all interested in kilowatts, turbines and voltage, take a look at the photo gallery that accompanies the article.   As you can see from these photos, those wind turbines are really quite pretty.

honolulu airport wind turbines 2

Bathrooms at Honolulu International Airport

When I heard there was a power outage on Oahu last week and that thousands of people were stuck overnight at Honolulu International Airport, all I could think about was the bathrooms.


(Photo courtesy Flickr user bsktcase)

Yes, the bathrooms.

I was in Honolulu back in October, 2006 when an earthquake knocked out power to the island.  More than five thousand people got stuck at the airport back then too – and there was a big problem with the bathrooms.

Turns out that without electricity the airport’s newfangled automatic-flush toilets wouldn’t flush. And pretty much all the toilets at the airport had just recently been switched over to automatic flush.

You get the picture….

In 2006, it took a while to get the electricity turned back on at the airport, so the non-flushing toilets were a big problem. This time, the airport’s generators kicked in much sooner, so it seems that the bathrooms had to be shut down for just a short time.

Lesson learned? At the airport, use the can when you can…