honolulu, leis, oahu, Travel

Flowers from Chinatown

I’ve been trying to get organized for a field trip our homeschool group is doing this week.  Jennie and organized are not two words that are frequently used together.  That being said, I have written a list, typed a list, used a highlighter and made phone calls so in my world I’m so organized it hurts.

Part way through making reservations for our tours and setting up dates and times I realized we’d have a span of time where half the kids would be sitting around with nothing to do.  Knowing that just wouldn’t work I decided we could do a craft and get some playtime in the Leeward sun.  I turned to my trusty friend Google to locate a florist on the island from whom I could procure loose flowers the kids could string to make leis.  After perusing the options in Honolulu I settled on a shop where the woman over the phone was extremely helpful and patient with my questions.  I reserved 300 loose orchids and made plans to pick them up the day before the field trip.

Tada!   Today is that day.  First I had to hit up Costco for supplies as my fabulous in laws are arriving in a few days.  Once I had paid for enough bacon, potatoes, bananas and pineapple to feed a football team I punched in the address of the florist in my iPhone.  Hooray!  It was less than 2 miles away!

As I drove I realized I was venturing into an area of Honolulu I had yet to explore. When the GPS said I only had 1/5th of a mile to go I was pulling into Chinatown.  I was so thrilled to check out this part of town as we have been hearing about the amazing restaurants, shops and friendly people that inhabit Chinatown.  We heard right!  I quickly found the florist and a great spot in the municipal parking garage that only cost $0.75 for the 1/2 hour I was down there.  That’s a steal in Honolulu.

Cindy’s Lei Shoppe was bright and cheery with a red awning and a very welcoming staff.  The Lau family has been selling leis in Hawaii for over 50 years.  I get giddy thinking my Grammy might have purchased leis in the same shop when she lived here many years ago.  Maybe she had to tell my dad and uncle not to touch things and held their hands in her’s.  It is fun to imagine the possibilities.


I inquired about getting some ti leaves in case some of the kiddos wanted to braid them to do a different craft than the leis.  I was able to score 20 large tea leaves for just $10 more, so with the 300 loose flowers my total was just over $55.  Everything smells amazing and will remain fresh in my refrigerator overnight until the field trip tomorrow morning.  I think the kids are going to love the cultural experience of Queen Emma’s Palace along with the crafts and time together.  Score!

On my way back to parking garage I got to meander around some of the shops and see a different street as I’m prone to getting lost and get lost I did.  Here are some pictures of some of the shops and produce displayed along the sidewalk.


The smells wafting through the air were unique and distinct and I picked up familiar scents of several different teas I enjoy at home.  Next time we visit Chinatown I will have to see about getting some fresh vegetables and loose tea leaves to take home.  For now I am grateful for the beautiful flowers and surprise experience today.  If you haven’t been to Chinatown in Honolulu it is definitely worth the trip!

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