I first came to Hawaii two-and-a-half years ago. After having lived in every corner of the country (over a dozen cities, by my count), I thought I had a pretty good handle on everything the good ol' U.S. of A had to offer.
Boy was I wrong.
To be fair, it wasn't entirely my fault, as there is very very little about Hawaii that resembles anything anywhere else in the country. That's not a knock on either side, just that beside things like government, infrastructure, etc., this place is about as far removed from West Tennessee as a fella can get. Polynesian and Asian tropes are the norm, with traditional “americana” being a distant outlier.
Again, not knocking any of this. It's actually been great fun having the amenities of western civilization while essentially immersing myself in other cultures. Win-win. Go home happy. All that good stuff.
Of everything that I've encountered for the first time since arriving one of the more, shall we say, unusual, events is the Waikiki Spam Jam.
What the heck is that, you ask? Spam Jam is a dedicated day each spring to that pink gelatinous canned meat we have all turned our noses up at at one time or another. Every April they close down the busiest street in Waikiki and invite all the local eateries/businesses to the streets to celebrate it.
In the mood for some entertainment? They've got bands and concerts to cover ya. Just want some good photo ops? They have towers of spam and adults in life-sized Spam costumes.
Hungry? Oooooh my….every restaurant that comes out does so w/ a special “Spam-inspired” menu. Spamaroni and cheese. Spam sliders. Spam dusted macadamian nuts. You name it, they've got it.
(For the record, my history w/ Spam was to get two crunches into an aforementioned mac nut. Then it was gone and I was done….but I did try)
The craziest part? This isn't a joke, some tongue-in-cheek attempt to poke fun. Hawaii is the largest consumer of Spam in the country, dating clear back to WWII. Spam and eggs, as featured in 50 First Dates is a very real breakfast option that can even be found at McDonalds. If you were to walk into Safeway, they have Spam spreads that dwarf the salad dressing spreads.
I tell you, the whole thing is jaw-dropping. Don't believe me? Then come on dow