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Monday, October 20, 2014

The "International Market Place" Story

International Market Place as it used to appear.
It was ordinary day.  Talking with Jerry and Just Sue about some of the things we wanted to do while on vacation in Hawaii.  A few of the things that Jerry wanted to do were: visit the International Market Place, watch the changing of the guard and take in the breakfast buffet that we did on our last couple of trips.  Carol Googled the market place and said, "It doesn't exist anymore!"  "What!" Jerry exclaimed.  
Banyan tree at the market place.
Then she Googled the changing of the guard and ......  well, the same result.  And so with the third item we wanted to do.  Guess we were going to have to find new memories to explore.  When we arrived in Honolulu we checked in at the Aqua Wave Waikiki.  As Jerry was sitting on his balcony, five floors above ground level, he noticed a large area with construction taking place.  This was directly next to our hotel. Shortly, as we began a walk towards Waikiki Beach, we passed the construction site and lo and behold, it was the site of what used to be Waikiki's International Market Place.  The old market place seemed to be such a tropical oasis in the middle of Honolulu's 574 high-rises.  
Fence lining the International Market Place.
Shops selling trinkets and souriviners lined the half-block area which featured Banyan trees as well as Monkey Pod trees.  Tough to see it disappear.  And for what?  Well, another shopping mall.  It is said that some influential people decided that the tourists needed another shopping mall.  
One of the vendors.
Has to be difficult for the vendors, business owners and musicians who used to occupied spots in the market.  No more strolls under the huge canopies of trees or listening to the many musicians as they played Hawaaian songs from the past.  At the end of this past January, the market was enclosed in plywood walls and was demolished starting in April.  
Construction area.
Today as Carol and I walked past the construction entrance, I stopped to take a few photos.  Stepped acorss the yellow line at the entrance and was immediately approached by security.  Told me to step back across the line.  As I did, I asked if I could talk with him about the construction.  
Moving of one of the large trees.
He told me about moving of some of the old trees that will have new spots in the new International Market Place.  Then he told me about footers that were sunk for the new Saks Fifth Avenue.  Had to go down over 200 feet to bedrock.  Seems the water level where we were standing was about five feet, so quite a bit of pumping was needed to get to the the 200 foot level.  Target date for opening is sometime in 2016.  The new market will feature, besides the Saks, 75 retailers and 7 restaurants.  The construction company is located in the continental states, but only 5 bosses from the states are on site.  All the rest of the 1,000 construction workers are from the island.  And when the place is completed it will provide jobs for 2,500 locals.  Good or Bad?  Only time will tell.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an oridnary guy.

Projected new International Market Place.
  

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