National Geographic : 1954 May
jobs for laundrymen and cab drivers, flower vendors and musicians. Tourist money finds its way throughout the city. No one takes more pictures than tourists, unless it is men in uniform. Hono lulu sidewalks are jammed with both, camera laden. The large beach hotels employ more than 2,000 people. Some 500,000 leis, the flower garlands of the islands, are sold each year, bringing in half a million dollars (page 588). With airlines offering coach fares as low as $250 plus tax round trip from San Francisco and Los Angeles, and commercial jet flights from Vancouver promising a 6-hour flight from the mainland, no one knows the limits of this tourist trade. It will remain small in comparison to California's and Florida's, how ever, until more hotels are built. So crowded is this city that local courts once declared two mistrials-because no hotel had room for juries overnight! Sugar and pineapple are the less dramatic but dependable backbone of Honolulu's econ omy. Honolulu's little Wall Street, called Merchant, is short and narrow (page 618). From its solid, squat buildings is directed Hawaii's annual production of 1,000,000 tons of sugar-one-eighth of United States needs and some 29,500,000 cases of pineapple products-nearly three-fourths of the world's processed pineapple.* The Island of Oahu itself produces about one-fifth of this sugar, which is shipped from Honolulu docks. Most of the pineapple is brought by barge and truck to three big can neries in the city's industrial district. The Dole cannery, world's largest fruit-packing plant, alone employs 5,500 during the season (page 608). Imported Oil Provides Power Power to run Honolulu factories and trolley buses and light its neon barbecue and saimin (meat and noodles) stands comes from oil, 5,250,000 barrels of it each year, tanker borne from west coast ports. Leslie Hicks, University of Hawaii-educated president of the Hawaiian Electric Company, Ltd., looks to a promising future. "Honolulu," he says, "will have a million people some day. And to save all that oil for other useful purposes we will probably turn to atom power." Banks set up branches to serve needs pe culiar to each district. The Bishop National Bank's branch at Waikiki offers drive-in service and girl tellers in Hawaiian-style beach clothes who cash checks drawn on Des Moines, Nashville, or Yonkers, beneath Jean Chariot's colorful mural of Hawaiian history (page 603). W. O. Cogswell, head of the Visitors Bu reau, studies travel trends and finds time, too, for staging such stunts as an annual snowball fight at Waikiki, flying in snow from the Island of Hawaii for the occasion. I asked him the size of the transportation business. "Boats bring us nearly 500 people a week," he said, "and our airport is always busy. There are 800 seats on scheduled flights to and from the west coast each day, and often extra sections. There is a Stratocruiser a day to the Orient, and frequent service to Sydney, Australia." This talk of the airport recalled the grim contrasts presented there during the Korean War. Regular commuters to the west coast and expectant tourists muted their laughter as khaki-clad replacements filed through, board * See "Because It Rains on Hawaii," by Frederick Simpich, Jr., NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, No vember, 1949.