Mauka, Makai and Watdaheck?

Living back home in Hawai‘i, I neva gave a thought how foa find wea I like go. Directions so easy to understand. “Eh, Lika, I like come yoa hale. Tell me how foa get dea.”

“Oni easy, yeah? From yoa hale, go 6 blocks ‘Ewa, den turn mauka an go anodda 8 blocks. Den go Diamond Head anodda block, den makai  two blocks an my hale da one wit da mango tree out front.”

Oni easy is right! Turn dis way, den dat, and shaka! I stay ka hale o Lika.

Den I wen move mainland. I stay totally LOST!! Nomo da ocean. Nomo Diamond Head. Nomo ‘Ewa. Instead, peeps wen gimme dese lolo directions:

“Go East for two blocks, then North for three, then South and there’s the store!”

Wat? East? Wea stay East? Wea stay North? Wat kine directions dat? I like know, wea mauka? My head stay spinning. Show me makai! Show me ‘Ewa! No gimme da kine East/West/North/South cuz u stay talking one foreign language to dis island girl!

Even da street names lidat. Our first hale in Twin Falls, Idaho. Elm Street North. Den our first hale in Portland. Northeast Broadway. Den North Russet. Da mainlanders no can decide which comes first, da North, oa da Northeast oa da chicken oa da egg!! If dey no can decide, how I going figga out wea I stay oa wea I like go?

K’den. Da sun rises in da East. Sets in da West. I stay akamai enough to figga dat out.

Hea in Oregon, I wen try use da old familiar terms foa directions. Mauka. Should be easy, yeah? Mount Hood is one mountain. Okay, mauka going be towards Mount Hood.

20 January
Dat worked fine, until I wen realize dat get mauka going da odda way, too. Wat’s wit dat?

Get mauka towards da Coast Range in da opposite direction of Mount Hood! But try wait! Dat is makai! Cuz da opposite direction of Mount Hood is makai, towards wat? Towards da SEA, peepo!


Try wait! OMG. Get mauka up dea! Yeah, dea! Up above Oregon! Sometimes can even see Mount Rainier up dea!

And yeah, up dea can also see Mount St Helens. U know da one. Da one wen get hūhū and wen blow off her head. Da original pop-top.

And if dat’s not enuf, also get Mount Adams up dea! Only not so much up dea but litto moa mauka den da oddas. OMG. Wea stay mauka? I stay lost anden.

If you look on one map of Oregon, like ova hea

See da Cascades? See da Coast Range? Now, I ask u. Wea stay mauka? I live in da middo of two mountain ranges. Still yet, to me, mauka stay ova dea ——–>.

Makai stay ova dea. < ———. To get makai, gotta go up mauka, ova mauka, den down makai. How lolo is dat!

Da Portland Metro area stay divided in one pretty logical way. Makai across da Willamette Rivah stay West. Mauka from da Willamette Rivah stay East. But Washington State mauka from Burnside stay North, and oh! Nomo Diamond Head! Nomo ‘Ewa. K’den. Down dea, like if u like go California from Burnside, stay South. Make one kinda cross da kine, and not so hahd foa figgah out wea u stay in da Portland area. All addresses within dat quadrant start wit NE, SE, NW, SW, and N. Oh yeah. Get one tiny corna all to itself dat is Washington mauka and makai of da Willamette Riva.

Sounds pretty good, yeah? Except. If one street ends in “Avenue”, den da bugga runs Washington mauka and down dea California side. If ends in “Street”, den runs mauka and makai.  Unless it doesn’t.

But wachu going do wit dis street name? Southeast North Court. I tell u, is enough to send me running to da Red Roof Inn, begging foa get let in!

Today I stay working on one appraisal. I wen pull up da plat map. And wat do I see?
SE 202nd Avenue intersects wit NW 16th Street!!



This entry was posted in Da Kine: Sometimes Full-on Pidgin. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Mauka, Makai and Watdaheck?

  1. Experienced the same thing, hopefully you don’t have a “Loop” that basically circles the city…it gets confusing. But for me, when I lived on the different islands I discovered not everyone knows the Street names. You get directions like, “K once you get to the corner store go about I dunno five houses up, then you going see one row of green trash cans…not dat driveway but da next one, you going see our cars.”

  2. Kikue Mugen says:

    Awesome pictures Moki! I so enjoyed this and your grumbles about ‘directions’. Yes, Hawaii had a way with making life a little easier when one needed to travel. Mainland sucks having to travel so far with so little familiar landmarks. But what the heck, we always seem to find our way, don’t we? To think I left the sweet, lovely islands just because it was way too easy for this gal to get around. I enjoy the challenge of losing my way, and then relish in the victory of overcoming difficulties! It’s such a charge, I tell you. Maps, compass, more maps, Yahoo directions… and I’ll get there. Oh yeah.. lets not forget… a little prayer before we set out is a must! LOL Hugs Moki!

  3. AFK says:

    We get da same problem in Seattle. Mauka can be towards the Cascades (east) or toward the Olympic range (west). Makai is probably toward Puget Sound (west again), but what about the other way – toward Lake Washington (east again, and which is fresh water, not salt)? There’s no word called “mawai.” And there’s still no good Hawaiian equivalent for north and south.

    Someone asked last night at dinner where my home town was on O`ahu. I had to close my eyes, picture O`ahu in my head, and pinpoint Kane`ohe on dat mental map. ‘As why hahd.

  4. namhla says:

    Poor Mokihana! I get same way – took me forevah to figger out da streets, still get lost in Pland … I geev directions here “go towards Big Town (Portland), den turn down (south) at da beeg tree in da field, etc etc”

  5. Clare Bear says:

    I wen give up trying foa figga out. Now I juss say “hea, ask my hubby”.

  6. Julie says:

    no pilikia fo me…..jass follow da sun : )

    actually I nevah even read a street map til moving to Portland…before I just get on I-5 anden go (up or down) : )

  7. Mokihana says:

    Yea but watchu going do on one typical Oregon cloudy day? Nomo da sun, yea? Heh heh.

    Easy living in one small town but. U know wea everything stay!

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