Blackout catches Waikiki tourists off guard - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Blackout catches Waikiki tourists off guard

Linda Peden Linda Peden
Mindy Haydar Mindy Haydar
Bjorn Haydar Bjorn Haydar
Ryan Su Ryan Su
Brooke Su Brooke Su

By Leland Kim - bio | email

WAIKIKI (KHNL) -  While many were enjoying Waikiki Saturday afternoon, Friday night it was an entirely different story. Imagine thousands of tourists enjoying an Aloha Friday when the lights went out.

Visitors to our island took the outage all in stride.

This is a sight of Waikiki most people have not seen before; the city enveloped in darkness, lit up only by headlights and tiki torch flames.

"I've been over here many, many times and I've never seen it like this," said Linda Peden, who is visiting from Orange County, California.

She says it's eerie to see Waikiki like this.

"It was a shock," said Peden. "I thought the generators are going to kick in, the lights are going to come back on, but it didn't."

The last time Oahu experienced a blackout of this magnitude was more than two years ago, after the 2006 Hawaii earthquake. Despite the unexpected disruption, folks in Waikiki are taking it in stride.

The blackout paralyzed Waikiki hotels and restaurants.

"It wasn't too scary but other people seemed to be alarmed," said Mindy Haydar, who is visiting from St. Louis, Missouri.  "Everyone was kind of worried about what was going on."

"Wow. I just paid for a hotel room and now there's not going to be electricity," said her husband Bjorn. "Now I can't take my wife to a place to eat for her birthday. So we're just kind of walking here, stagnant with the rest of the population here."

With no place to get food, many lined up at ABC stores in Waikiki.  The Su family flew in from San Jose, California, right when the blackout hit.

"When we were just flying over, I saw some lights but most of the area was blacked out," said 12-year-old Ryan Su.

"As we landed, we saw all the lights on the island go out, but there was some lightning here," said his 20-year-old sister Brooke. 

This isn't exactly most people's idea of a vacation, but the Su family stays positive.

"This is fun," said Brooke Su.  "This is like camping. We have glow sticks and water."

And since this may be their only chance to see Waikiki like this, many cherish the moment.

"I'm loving every minute of it," said Peden. "This doesn't slow me down. It just stops me from shopping."

Things were back to normal Saturday, as Waikiki hotels, shops and restaurants resume operations.

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