I will tell you about the disaster in Hawaii, but first I must do a retraction on my last blog. The one about Champagne. I made an error. I said my most favorite champagne these days was Moet. I meant to say Mumms. Oh, well, they both start with an M.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m sure Moet is very good too, I just like Mumms, the one with the red slash on the bottle. (I guess ’cause it makes such a nice vase when you are done drinking the contents).

I went to four different markets today to find a bottle of Mumms for Christmas Eve. No luck. I finally wound up at a fine wine shop and the man in charge showed me a bottle of what he said is a great champagne. Charles Ellner, (from France, of course).

I had never heard of it, but when he said it was $59.99 a bottle but today, only $29.99, he got me. I was all set to buy a $30 bottle of champagne for $30 anyway. I’m sure it will be just fine.

OK, back to the disaster. Here it was, four days before Christmas and at two in the afternoon the power blew out the electricity at the Ala Moana Shopping Center. This meant that seventy stores were without power or lights and had to close on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Macy’s was the largest of the businesses affected. They were supposed to be open until midnight for the big shopping day, but instead had to close ten hours early.

The children who were in the restrooms started screaming when all the lights went out. Just getting all the customers out of the store, with no lights, no escalators and two dinky elevators had to be a mighty job. Can you imagine the chaos of getting everyone down from the fourth floor with no escalators. At least there are outside entrances on the lower, main and second floors.

I wonder how much shoplifting went on in the minutes it took to empty the store. It couldn’t have been too difficult to snatch something and just put it in a shopping bag and walk out of the store. Especially easy prey would be items on the jewelry counters.

As if this weren’t awful enough, all the traffic lights on the major streets surrounding the shopping center were not working either. I am just glad that I was home and not caught in the resulting traffic jam.

Not only could cars not get down the ramps onto the street, but on the chance that they did make it to Kapiolani Boulevard, Piikoi or Keeaumoku, it was total gridlock.

On top of all that, this was the day that Mrs. Obama chose to go to Ala Moana shopping center to do some Christmas shopping. In the interest of security, the mall closed off an entire parking level in honor of her visit. It is hard enough to find a parking place this time of year, without eliminating a few hundred parking spaces.

So while other parts of the world are dealing with snow storms, airport delays, and power outages in entire cities, we in Honolulu were devastated by the disaster that hit our fair isles in the form of half the stores in a shopping center closing for half a day.