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LETTERS

Homesick for the Oahu of old

October 26, 2003

Regarding "A Sea Change on Oahu" [Sept. 28]: When I returned to my beloved Hawaii in summer 2002 after a 33-year absence, I was heartbroken to see the changes. The buffing and polishing of Honolulu and Waikiki have turned this once unique tropical paradise into Any City, USA. The trendy stores, mall mentality, street reconstruction and huge traffic jams are reminiscent of the new Las Vegas and all the other major metropolises that have experienced gentrification. (There remains an unchanged oasis in the middle of town: the Hawaiiana Hotel.)

Friends had warned me that Waikiki had changed, and sadly, they were right. Kalakaua Avenue is not the same romantic stroll it once was. They even managed to rebuild a perfectly wonderful beach, changing the surf break I learned to surf on.

I have learned one very painful lesson: When you love a place and hold it dear, don't wait too long to return to it.

Robin Olney

San Pedro

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