Stopped by my house to check on things and connect to the wireless — the Hanalei shop where I got on line yesterday was closed this morning.
My house looks much the way I left it, in dirty disarray, with a few dead cockroaches and geckos thrown into the mix and that telltale stench of pesticide. Fortunately, my pass through today is brief, and I’ll tackle all that tomorrow, when the house is (hopefully) thoroughly aired.
I’m happy to report the laulau-making project — my first — came off successfully. I’d assembled all the ingredients — washed ti and taro leaves, a bowl of salted, cubed pork, and a ball of string — and begun to slowly wrap a few, following my friend’s directions, when his cousin fortunately dropped by.
They raise taro and hunt mountain pig, so no telling how many laulau she’s wrapped, but she handled those leaves with authority and speed and after a few tips on technique, I finished the job with confidence. I’ve been steaming them all morning, a few at a time in my small pot, and the Hanalei house was filled with yummy smells when I left.
I’d forgotten, since the last time I stayed in Hanalei, some 19 months ago, about the tour helicopters — scourge of Kauai. They swarm the interior of this little island, and are especially noticeable in Hanalei, where the mountains come so close to the sea, and they they’re louder than automobile traffic and nearly as incessant.
I remember years ago the statewide attempts to bring their numbers and flight patterns under control. But DOT chose to look the other way, and the FAA wouldn’t do anything unless you could provide them with an identification number and some proof of a chopper’s transgressions. Stonewalled by the state and the feds, residents here pretty much gave up the fight. Even regular crashes don’t seem to deter tourists determined to see the aerial sights.
It’s a story I’ve seen repeated continuously in Hawaii. Residents trying to protect the environment and quality of life speak out, object, beg and plead, but economic forces always prevail.
The result is towns like Hanalei — victim of its own natural beauty, mystique and human greed. Here, big houses on big, fenced and gated parcels line much of the bay, as locals, a vanishing breed in their small homes across the street, struggle to hang on amid escalating property taxes.
Kitschy shopping centers crowd the taro patches, and the bay is often polluted with the bacteria that comes from sewage. Quiet can be found only in the dead of night, and folks here do lock their doors because ice addiction has produced a number of petty thieves.
I heard church bells ringing twice this morning, and though I’m not religious, I was inclined to pray, that we all might be saved from this mad swirl of money, power and things that spawn sad human settlements in splendid valleys like Hanalei.