How to dress, where to go, what to say. The Hawaii you'd otherwise miss out on.
WHERE: Honolulu, Hawaii
GUIDE: Matthew Delaney, 30, CEO of Marc Resorts Hawaii, a hotel-management company that manages 20 properties on five islands, including the Diamond Head Beach Hotel, on Waikiki, and the Embassy Vacation Resort Kaanapali Beach, on Maui. Delaney and his wife, Karen, moved to Honolulu from California two years ago. They have no plans to leave.
BEST ROAD TO DRIVE FAST ON (AND NOT BE TICKETED): The state-of-the-art H-3 freeway. It's part of a system of interstate and defense-access highways that were built as wide-open, souped-up routes linking every military base on the island to one another and the airport.
REPEAT AFTER ME: Aloha -- the universal greeting. Mahalo -- thank you or good-bye. Howzit? -- wazup? How's it going? Shaka -- Right on, or the equivalent of the universal surfer hand gesture. Broke da mouth! -- delicious! Slippers -- rubber sandals known to Statesiders as flip-flops or thongs.
BEST REASON TO LIVE HERE (AS IF YOU REALLY NEEDED ONE): Nobody wears suits, except for court appearances.
LOCAL FAST FOOD OF CHOICE: Loco moco at a plate-lunch shop: two scoops of white rice with a hamburg patty and an egg on top. Smother the whole thing in gravy, and you've got it. It's not exactly healthful, but it's broke da mouth.
HOW TO DRESS FOR A BUSINESS MEETING: Khakis and a Tommy Bahamas Aloha shirt.
BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH: Waikiki Beach, as advertised.
BEST SIDE TRIP: A place called Stairway to Heaven, off the H-3. It's a kind of built-in ladder that stretches from the bottom to the top of a cliff. You climb straight up. It's a total rush.
LOCAL BEVERAGE OF CHOICE: The Lava Flow, pureed strawberries added to a white piña colada in red swirls. Get the best Flow at Duke's Canoe Club, on Waikiki.
DON'T EVEN THINK OF LEAVING HERE WITHOUT TRYING: Surfing. It's considered safe off of Waikiki because the waves are usually relatively small, and because if you wipe out, you hit a sandy bottom, not coral or rocks. And the boards are so big you can stand up on them in flat water; they're like oversize doors. Oh, and there are no sharks.
BEST-KEPT SECRET: Lanikai Beach.
BEST PLACE IN TOWN THAT NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT: Sushi Sasabune, at the corner of South King and Keeaumoku Streets. Remember the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld ? Well, the chef here is the "Sushi Nazi." You don't place an order; the Sushi Nazi makes you whatever he feels is best. It's a wonderful place.
WHERE TO HANG TEN IF YOU DARE: The North Shore waves, from December through February. Surfers venture out on Jet Skis or are dropped from helicopters into 50-foot body-whomping seas. He who shoots the biggest curl wins some money, but longtime surfers say that's not what the sport's about.