Talk story is just the Hawaiian phrase for chatting, gossiping or shooting the breeze. This is what good friends do on a lazy Kona day, just get together and talk story. This page is available to those of you who would like to do so. Send us any reflections on Hawaii, incidents that were memorable (good or bad), remarkable things you witnessed (or heard of), tall tales, etc. We will look them over and make you a world reknowned author. We just won't pay you.

Redemption (Submitted by Dave Thompson)

We decided to retire here and had just recently opened a new local bank account.

I wanted to buy an item stateside that only took money orders or cashier's checks. I went into the bank with the name of the recipient and amount written down, and handed it to the teller, with cash to cover it.

She carefully read off the name, Northwest Pawn, and looked to me questioningly for confirmation.  I said, "Yes, that's correct. It's to redeem my second-born son."  She gave me a strange look, but kept typing.

Expecting some sort of reaction to that, I continued, "Yes, the food bill got to be too much for them to keep him any longer, so I have to take him back." She gave me an even stranger look, but kept typing the check.

I waited a couple of seconds more, but still nothing from her. Finally, "I made that all up, you know."

She looked up at me, a moke-sized haole malahini, and burst out laughing. The ice was broken, and we are now friends.

The natives have a delightful sense of humor -- we newcomers have to keep trying.

Shopping for an Island Car. A Nightmare. (Submitted By Chee)

There are several ways you can find a used car in Hawai'i. The newspaper ads, friends, friends of a friend, and of course, a used car dealership. There are good one, then there are bad ones here, as in anywhere. The good one where I finally purchased from is Big Island Honda or a.k.a. Theo-Davis Euromotors. They are into new car sales and is also a Mercedes dealership. Ken Sugai, the salesman there is great and I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone. It is here that I found my "miracle" car, a 1994 Mitsubishi Mirage.

I have always heard and seen it portrayed on television, the typical "bad" used-car dealership with smooth talking salesmen but have never had the "pleasure" of the experience, until now. I have, in my lifetime, owned only one used car and I purchased from a friend of my Dad's and the car never had a problem and I later resold it for the same amount I bought it for. How's that for a used very old car (it was a Toyota Corolla)?

After shopping around the papers and looking at many, many cars in my price range - many of them, I was told had new engines put in, humm I wonder why, some won't pass inspection or have stickers about to expire. All the mountain driving in Hawaii take a lot out of even a good car. If it's a good car say, like a Toyota Tercel 4WD, people tend to hold on to them and drive it until it's total exhausted. Then some people would then put new engines in them and resell it. The problem with new engines in old cars is that sometimes the people doing the work can't find the correct engine for that particular car (remember we're on an island here, big expense and time consuming if you have to ship it from off island). So they put one in "that'll work in it". Yes, the car will run okay but may not be smooth or develops funny quirks. Unless you're a car mechanic, how do you know what engine they put in? Do you believe them when they tell you? So after a lot of searching and following up on leads, we stopped by a place that a friend told us to check out.

We decided to visit "the king of used cars" and we were immediately greeted by a very friendly salesman. Telling him of our price range, we were shown an International Harvester that "had only one owner and that the farmer only used it around his coffee farm". The truck had a roomy back seat, something we wanted after owning a Toyota MR2 for 9 years. It definitely was the original International Harvester with all original equipment, rather good condition we thought as we looked into the cleaned vehicle. Wow, it even had an air-condition unit (not built-in) you  know, da old fashion kind - a unit. "It just lacks some Freon".

So da kine salesman got us into the truck and proceed to start the vehicle. To our surprise and his demise, it won't start. After 10 tries, we got out of the truck (in the heat, mind you) and off goes the salesman to get help. He came back with a jumper cable and proceeded to jump start the truck with another used car on the lot. That did the trick, "it's been sitting for a while in the lot so the battery drained" da kine salesman proclaims as he herded us back into the semi-loud running 4-wheel truck.

We drove half-a-mile down the road and pulled into a small town shopping center so Kona can take the wheel (I certainly couldn't because my legs won't even touch the gas pedal or clutch). So Kona switched seats with him and got behind the wheel so da kine salesman continues to shows us the "features" of the truck. "How do we get this into 4-wheel drive?" we asked. Da kine salesman jumped out the vehicle to rotate the hub into 4-wheel drive and minutes later came back and said "just shift into 4 wheel drive now". The shift refused to budge and several two-handed attempts later we turned the wheel back to the salesman to have him put it in gear for us. After a few attempts, it got in gear and Kona took the wheel again and off we went down the highway (the only road there) and then back into the shopping center. "Let's get it off 4-wheel drive so we can tell how it really runs without being in 4-wheel" I said in my infinite wisdom. Us potential buyers can be very difficult these days. Again the shift refused to budge and several two-handed attempts later we turned the wheel back to da salesman to have him put it in gear for us.

Ten minutes (I kid you not), he was still doing this and I'm sure it felt like an eternally to him, I know it was for me! Looking into the rear view mirror, I could see the sweat rolling down his face and onto his chin, he did his darnest to move it out of gear while all the time this loud scraping sound is coming from the gears trying to "be shifted" and we are in the middle of this shopping center now blocking traffic and people are "noticing" us. All this "work" with the heat and everything - I'm in the back seat - in my delirium, I had this uncontrollable desire to bust out laughing in view of this WHOLE situation (da big "used car sales nightmare" picture).

I totally lost it and started to burst out in laughter just in time to gain control and turned it into something sounding like a loud sneeze or cough. "Good, I don't think anyone noticed" as I thought what Kona must be thinking by now. No one looked my way anyways. I give this poor salesman lots of credit for having so much faith in himself and this old truck, he decides that we'll just drive it back 4 wheel and all.

Back at the lot, he showed us another "one owner" old Honda in our price range (as we were really wanting out of there now) that this lady only drove it back and forth between Hilo (the biggest city 95 miles from us on the east side of island). "How much would you pay for that truck if you can drive it out of here today?" he repeatedly asks. (I'm sure he is probably a great guy in real life and he's got starving children at home.) This must be the punch line, I thought "drive? I don't think it will drive out of here today besides I wouldn't pay anything for it even if it did". "Okay, thanks for everything and we'll think about it" we said trying to get the heck out of "Dodge" (sorry, no pun intended) but he continues to show us this one and that one, all out of our price range, then finally he realizes we are walking out of the lot and out of his life, he gets the manager "to ask him when the next shipment of used cars in our price range would be in". Five minutes later we were running from the managers office and into our rent car and outta there for good!! Pheeww! This is da kine experience!!!


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