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THE SANDWICH ISLANDS.

The following account is taken from the diary of a recent visitor, and fprwarded to us for publication : 6th June, 1881. —The firing of one of the? deck guns at 6.30 a.m., atanounced our arrival at Honolulu, add soon most of the passengers were on deck. A bright clear morning, delightfully cool. Before us we saw the town stretching along the shore of the My, peeping out here and there from among the rich tropical vegetiaiJilSb,

which almost hides it. The squkre - tower of the palace, the look-out of the fire brigade, and the spires of the different churches, were seen above the trees, light wooden buildings bf strange designs were ranged f\bsc to the water's edge, and lying lon Stages or-moored along the shore were numbers of canoes with thjeir : outriggers—a fit scene for dreamJland so peaceful looking. Behind |he 'town, rose fine ranges of volcanic mountains, the rich green of, the.. gijass Streaked with black, where the-basalt cropped out; and deep valleys and rpgged peaks were to be seen as far as the eye could reach. Boys soon appeaj-ed jswimming alongside, and made, small fortunes diving after coins, which tljiey seldom missed. Many of the passengers went on shore for breakfast.; I waited till afterwards, and went' to ?the general post-office, posted some lettfers, "arid got one from Liverpool, glad to find ...as. I had not heard ' "'for' r three months. The population of the town is abput 8,000, composed of Kanakas or ;natives, Americans, Germans, and English ; there are also a great mjiny Chinese, who occupy a district Iby themselves. Wandering through .the streets I continually saw sights J so strange that I could scarcely belipve them real. The houses are mostly built of wood, light and airy a? a summer house, and painted in ;the lightest of colors. One street I passed along surprised me by its wonderful fceauty, so unexpected in its way. For . about one- hundred yards there \fere light wooden buildings, with oben fronts, shops, and restaurants; then; on either side, standing in beautiful gar- -., dens».were private houses like bunga- '.' lows, rooms all opening out on |the verandahs, in many cases closed with trellis-work in the upper stories, likejthe .windows in a Moorish house. In jthe gardens, bananas, breadfruit trees, cocoa-nut and various other palms \iere growing in great luxuriance, and hanging over the road, one tree, of which I saw several specimens growing twenty to thirty feet high, was covered witjh a mass" of the most brilliant crirrjson flowers—no leaves —the sun shining through producing an effect quite indescribable. I saw several fine plants of the Hibiscus, a rich scarlet flower a large petal, a climbing plant, with a large yellow flower (single), I think, called Almonda, and another with a cluster of purple flowers, the coloj- of the passion flower. The first mangoes I saw puzzled me 'to know what tjhey were; the trees are as, large as skrcamores, the fruit is the size and colqr of a pear, but flatter, hanging in large clusters from long stems from [the larger end of the fruit. After lunch, Mrs B. (a fellow passenger) and I went for a drive to the Pali, a wonderful cliff up the mountains, from which there is a fine view of the other side of the island. The road rises all the jway after leaving the town, till it reaches the Pali, which is about eight miles out, and from there, the other side of the island appears to be a level plain a thousand feet below. The cliffs are quite perpendicular, and extend for miles like a wall, weather-beaten fantastic shapes; the wind blew up the gully with such force we had to }iold our hats with both hands. Some Chinamen made a good use of their tails by winding them round their hats and holding them on in that way. Going through town, we passed along a fine wide street, perfectly straight, with beautiful bungalows built of wood,-and standing in gardens of palms |and flowering plants, fenced with either iron or ornamented woodwork, the gorgeous masses of color were wonderful. . On this road we saw a bungalow being built for princess Katakalini, in a garden of the most exquisite plants. On the outside of the town we saw numbers of shallow tanks, with a broad-leafed lilly growing at regular distances. This I was told was taro, from which poi, the ordinary food of the natives, is made. The root is taken and pounded in water till formed into a paste, then set aside to allow it to ferment. Afterwards it is stirred up till it becomes one, two, or three-finger poi, according to the number of fingers required to lift it when eating. Onefinger poi is considered the best, and is given to guests. For miles we passed numbers of gardens with their airy wooden houses, little r better than shades from the sun, fields planted in regular rows with bananas, and when m the country we saw great quantities of guavas growing wild. They look like small lemons, and when opened they resemble large gooseberries filled with seeds in a pinky jelly, not at all. disagreeable to eat, slightly acid. Getting near the end of the journey, the road became so soft that I had to get out occasionally and walk. We passed on the way several gangs of prisoners in their "coats of motley," working on the roads, mostly Chinamen. Going and returning we passed many Chinamen walking or riding—the latter the strangest-looking sights imaginablewearing loose baggy clothes, barefooted, with sometimes a single spur, and sitting on a high-peaked saddle, the horse a bundle of bones with some skin over them. The natives we met riding were fine looking men, very like the Maoris. The women, good figures and good looking,

rode Mexican fashion, wearing loose wide dresses hanging from the shoulders and reaching the riding Boots. On the head they wear broad felt or straw hats, ornamented with natural flowers or bright colored silk arranged in patterns, and often broad collars made of leaves or flowers. Some of the riding dresses were in bright colors, such as magenta. A concert was given that evening in Queen Emma square in honor of our visit, and most of the passengers

attended. Our vessel was the first to enter port for two months, owing to .smallpox being in the island. The Royal Band, which performed, was placed on a high stand lighted with great numbers of lamps, and the lamps through the grounds and along the road give it quite a festive appearance. The concert was very good, the grounds were crowded with people of many nationalities, Kankas being most numerous; groves of palms and tropical trees,, a clear moonlight night, crowds of people well dressed promenading along avenues of lamps, was a scene more like Fairy Land than what I expected to see in the Sandwich Islands.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18811228.2.3

Bibliographic details

THE SANDWICH ISLANDS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 520, 28 December 1881

Word Count
1,156

THE SANDWICH ISLANDS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 520, 28 December 1881

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