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Kamana Wanna Lei You
Find many inexpensive souvenirs and "fun" gifts for the folks back home here at the Swap Meet
On our many trips to Honolulu, we always spend a Saturday morning a the famous Aloha Stadium Flea Market, held at, guess where? Aloha Stadium, just past the airport, on the way to Pearl Harbor and Pearlridge. It is easily reached on the H-1 Freeway no matter where you are in Honolulu or the island of Oahu. Free shuttles are available from Waikiki if you do not have a rental car. But I strongly suggest a car, for obvious reasons.
Located at Hawaii's largest sports venue, the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is a place where families can gather to share their cultural diversity with pride and a feeling of Aloha. Since 1979, the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet has become Hawaii's premier outdoor market, featuring over 700 vendors, crafters, artists from all over the world, a true melting pot of Aloha.
The swap meet encircles the entire Stadium on weekends. It is also open on Wednesday, although it attracts fewer vendors. My other big suggestions are: have breakfast first, along the way, and get there early. Early to avoid the heat, and early to find the bargains. Please remember to bargain, and if you are the first customer of the day,
Shop Until You Drop
A good walk around the Stadium is about a mile, with tons of bargains and variety of local goods and food.
you will be treated with a little more leeway. It is good luck in most Asian cultures to treat the first customer and sale of the day with kindness and respect. It portends a successful day of retailing.
So, after we pay our 50 cents per head to enter, we park our car in the shade. This is a must do. Then make a strong mental note of where you parked. Or better yet, put it in your memo pad of your blackberry or raspberry, whatever you have. Also, do not leave any valuables in the car/ If you have valuables, place them in the trunk BEFORE you arrive and park. Repeat, before you arrive and park.
Start by taking a slow walk in a clockwise fashion. I assume you have the good sense to dress properly for the heat, and wear comfortable shoes. The first order of business is the buy a hat to protect you form the sun. All shapes, sizes, colors, and styles are available. Might I suggest a summer straw for the ladies, and a Hawaiian themed baseball cap for the guys. The children can get the cute little hats with propellers, or Star Wars
Buy Buy Buy!
It is impossible not to buy something for everyone back home!
themed caps. I now pronounce you ready to shop, bargain, and have some great fun.
By getting there early, some vendors may not quite be ready to sell. No problem. If it is something unique, make a mental note to return to that spot after your first round trip. The first order of business now is to buy your gifts and souvenirs for the poor folks at home stuck in cold, rain, snow, sleet, and boring jobs. All the junk is available, like key chains, magnets, flowered hair clips, muu muus, beach towels, camouflage gear and toys. But I focus on two things. One, tee shirts are very inexpensive, and make a great souvenir or gift. About 3 for $10 is right. Then the other thing I did when I had employees was the buy something in bulk.
The trick to this is to start small. Ask for the price of one, even though it has a sign. So even if the item is $1 each, ask anyway. Then I will say, can I get 8 for $5. I continue up the ladder until I get to 20 or 30 that I need for my employees back home. I have purchased shell necklaces, badge holders, coin purses, phone charms, key rings, ear rings, and hair clips in this manner. And I end up with a happy employee for a day or two.
Now, we are getting ready for the heavy duty. You should be warmed up, totally primed, and hungry for big bargains by now. You may need a little snack to hold you over, or give you a quick burst of energy. Might I suggest the fresh coconut water, or some packaged fresh fruit, like mango, papaya, or pineapple?
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