Photo Essay: A Great Day Out in Hawai‘i

Photographer Sergio Goes took his camera around O‘ahu and found people and places that remind us all why we love living in Hawai‘i.


Most of us spend our time in three neighborhoods, at the most—the one where we live, the one where we work and the one where we play. When we’re feeling ambitious, we may go for a drive around the island to remind ourselves why we love living in Hawai‘i. That’s what writer Danny Simon and photographer Sergio Goes did—only they didn’t just drive. They met people, asked questions and took pictures. Here is a record of their great day out.



8:45 a.m.

After a 20-year hiatus, 48-year-old Cameron Tom returned to concrete carving to share the joys of skating with his two sons. The kids are in school, and Tom has the day off—and the Hawai‘i Kai skate park all to himself. Tom and other skate elders pass on etiquette to the younger generation. “We’re the uncles of the park. We clean it and break up the fights.”



10:00 a.m.

On a grassy area next to Sandy Beach, Robbie Smith practices holding a hang-gliding kite. The emergency first responder at Honolulu International Airport is calm, despite being tethered to the giant wing in strong trade winds. Smith smiles big and says, “Thermals are the goal!”



10:50 a.m.

Sergio just has to stop the van when we pass a beautiful pink house just off Kalaniana‘ole Highway. The Moses family greets us with total aloha, though little Makana is a bit put off that we’ve interrupted his brunch—Coco Puffs. Malia pauses next to a portrait of her then-ailing husband, John, and herself. (John Moses passed away on New Year’s day, 2007.)



11:35 a.m.

Kendra Rosser traded the world of retail fashion at Ala Moana’s couture boutiques for a more peaceful existence working the ‘aina. Amid hilarious back chatter on the CB, the stylish Rosser tends to her grove of bougainvillea at Sharon’s Plants, Waimanalo.



11:57 a.m.

Bonsai master Walter Liew has been creating and tending to bonsai trees for 54 years. He now runs the Dragon Garden in Waim-analo. “The hobby of keeping a bonsai improved my mental health, made my mind very happy, so I thought bonsai could be a way to make [other] people forever happy.”



2:17 p.m.

Gloria Alsip beats the midday heat by soaking in the sea at Hau‘ula with her grandchildren.



3:39 p.m.

Maine-based Jeff Brown has crisscrossed the nation on his custom Volks/Harley combo roadster to educate Americans about the plight of the homeless. Gawkers get more than a picture of Brown’s fabulous machine; they hear his message of compassion. “Every day, I talk to a minimum of 50 people about homelessness.” If everyone took something from their house and gave it to a homeless person, Brown says, “we’d see a change in relations in this country.”



4:30 p.m.

Basketball for all of the aspiring ball players at the Waialua Recreation Center.



5:56 p.m.

After a day of near-perfect surf at Makaha Beach, Eric celebrates his 30th birthday with Ryan, Melodie, Claudia, Sofia and Krista.



7:32 p.m.

Randall, a bartender at the venerable Chinatown bar Smith’s Union, is suspicious of photographers claiming to work for HONOLULU Magazine, wondering if they are, in fact, undercover cops.


Photographer Sergio Goes was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and has been living in Hawai‘i on and off for the past 15 years. His photography has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the London Biennial and the Honolulu Academy of Arts.


Author Danny Simon is a graduate student in American Studies at the University of Hawai’i. He is allergic to walnuts, pecans and Justin Timberlake.