Kam Super Swap meet

The Americans love a good swap meet and Hawaii is no different. Unlike the polarising ones in Brisbane where its either junk that should be left for hard rubbish collection or small businesses peddling their wares (and knock offs), the Kam Super Swap Meet has a nice wide variety of items. The gaps between new and junk are padded a lot more liberally with quality used items and crafts and the standard of said items is a lot higher. Bless those hoarders.

Vintage shoppers and those after a weird relic souvenir will find plenty of treasures here as there are far more average Joes and families selling bits and pieces which can be over looked by locals but valued by us tourists. A prime example is a bicycle licence plate was a mere couple dollars but look for the same thing on ebay and it goes for $15-20 to the international market. Of course with the strong contingent of personal sellers a spot of light haggling easily brings the price down on multiple buys. Remember the flea market mantra, the more they sell, the less they have to carry back home!


Other items range from antique war memorabilia and household items to retail stores selling Dickies and other clothing. There is also a selection of food stalls, a big trailer with a roast chicken production line and quite possibly the best value shave ice on the island. $3 for a cartoon sized pile of ice means you’ll be sorted for the day… if only you didn’t have to race against the forces of nature to eat it!


Getting there

Getting there isn’t too difficult, once you’re within about 3 blocks, the traffic grinds to a halt as drivers are directed to the back of the venue through a winding path of raw uneven ground with bodykit and sump destroying ditches and rocks abound (Id hate to see (or go near) the place if it had been raining the day before). The movement is very slow but steady till a lead driver does the “I’ll wait to see where they’re headed then follow them back to their car” (only to have the person tell them they aren’t leaving or not having a car at all!) The key is to get past the initial dash for parks, this is still a bit of a walk back to the actual market so head back in the direction you came in, this will also give you a jump start on the stream of cars exiting.
But in saying that, I would say finding a park on an adjacent street or shopping area would be an easier and less frustrating way to go about it.

Aloha Stadium Swap meet


At the other end of the scale, you have the Aloha Stadium swap meet. If Kam was the Rocklea markets then this would be the Southbank markets. Gazebo’d/marquee’d stalls selling pretty much all new mass produced items, plenty of souvenirs and redundancy ad nauseam, not to say there aren’t some unique items. Kawaii printed kitchen wear (aprons, tea towels etc) were our favourite while tradition Hawaiian wear and shirts were put in the “but when would you actually wear it back home” column. “Everywhere!” I hear some of you exclaim, if this is the case, you’ll have a field day.
Another little gem we came across were Koa wood rings, made or trimmed with local Koa wood, which has actually been recently protected from mass felling.



The food selection follows the variety and quality of the stalls with anything from fresh fruit and veg and fresh cut coconut milk drinks to home made snacks and sit down pulled pork meals. The stadium’s fixed cafeteria and some of its toilets are also open to the public.



Travel tip: The markets are held in the circular carpark that surrounds the stadium and fills pretty much all of it so it doesn’t really matter where you park. Parking is available along the one-way ring road adjacent to the markets. Ample addition parking is available back near the entrance if you do a full lap.

Made in Hawaii Festival


This large annual event held at the Neal S. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall is a showcase of local arts and crafts and small businesses.
Quite a few of the usual souvenir items from the previous markets were rehashed here, some with their own unique flair but a lot were no different. The craft and art items were however definitely of a higher quality and originality highly likely due to being crafted by small businesses and not mass produced. Likewise goes for the home brewed foods. Shortbreads and potato chips samples were hard to deny, as were the closing time multi buy deals 😉



They even had every FM radio’s favourite game, the cash grab!


Travel tip: The festival goes for 3 days (Fri-Sun) each in around mid August and is open till 9pm (Fri. Sat) and 5pm on Sun. We got there around 8pm and found they had packed up the entry ticket booths so it was a nice price to get in 😉 Entry fee is normally only $4 anyway so its not going to break the bank if you have to pay. Speaking of bank, look for $1 off coupons at First Hawaiian Bank branches.

If you have any questions about our adventures, feel free to hit us up on facebook.

Hawaii 2012 part #1 – Arrival
Hawaii 2012 part #2 – Waikiki
Hawaii 2012 part #3 – Honolulu shopping – Part A
Hawaii 2012 part #4 – The Big Island – Volcano tour
Hawaii 2012 part #5 – Shopping Honolulu – part B
Hawaii 2012 part #6 – Tattoo Honolulu / Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit art exhibits
Hawaii 2012 part #7 – Pearl City area
Hawaii 2012 part #8 – Swap meets and Made in Hawaii festival
Hawaii 2012 part #9 – Cook offs and Car shows
Hawaii 2012 part #10 – North shore
Hawaii 2012 part #11 – Windward shore and Sealife Park
Hawaii 2012 part #12 – Chief’s Luau at Sealife Park
Hawaii 2012 part #13 – South shore – Diamondhead crater, Hanauma bay

Brooklyn Markets

Like a lot of NYC, if you look beyond the stereotypes you’ll find tight knit communities and lavish culture in the most unexpected places. A prime example of this is the Brooklyn flea markets. Catch the Coney Island subway to Flatbush Av. Station. (side note: Coney Island wasn’t on our list of destinations as it was in the middle of a be refurb scheduled to reopen towards the end of 2010)
The markets are held every weekend, out doors on Saturdays at Fort Greene and Sundays at the multi-level lush (ex-bank, complete with vault) space of Skylight One Hanson. During the cooler months they stay completely in doors at Skylight One Hanson.

Forget the thought of bootleg clothing, loud rap music and hawkers trying to hustle you for your dollars, think of it more like a combination of the Southbank and New Farm park markets (in Brisbane). It’s a huge blend of antiques, repurposed furniture, vintage clothing, collectibles, jewellery, art and crafts and designer items. It even has its own fresh food and food court areas with plenty of free taste testing. Check the website to view vendor layout on the Friday prior. Depending on your tastes, seeing the whole indoor venue may only take you a couple hours.

Sticking with the grown up theme on the day, we caught a bus down Flatbush Av. to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (note: they are on your left heading south. Easily confused (until after 15min of walking and not seeing any exotic plants) with the normal park on the right hand side). Entering the southern entrance, after the $12 fee, its instantly another world. Peaceful, quiet.

The best thing about fully fledged botanical gardens is there are always flowers in bloom all year round. Being the end of winter, we were treated to a field of Cherry Blossoms. Remember these only flower for a couple weeks a year, so if you plan on seeing them, time your trip accordingly. The Aquatic House houses a pond and a rainforest area with tropical type plants that thrive in humid conditions, like orchids. The Bonsai Museum is right next door with many of the tiny guys over decades old.

Further along there are collections of Magnolia’s and Daffodils leading to the Japanese pond and garden feature. Roses, Lilacs, Tulips and Pansies round out the top section of the gardens.

Back to the real world, Flatbush Av. is one of the “main drags” of Brooklyn so there are plenty of shops to venture into. You may, like us, wonder how some of the smaller stores stay open with the poor quality of their service and stand over tactics, we figured it was just their charm.

Speaking of shopping, we round off our holiday with one last bash at the Manhattan stores!

New York City 2010 part #1 – The flight in…
New York City part #2 – Shopping: Midtown
New York City part #3 – Bronx Zoo
New York City part #4 – Sight seeing – Manhattan
New York City part #6 – Shopping: Soho

New York City photo gallery here
Complete Brooklyn Botanical Gardens photos here