Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Musings: Snappin'

It was chilly and the grass was wet with dew when Koko and I set out as the sun was rising. Wailaleale was mostly visible, obscured on the southern end by a few clouds cruising lazily by, and birds were chirping mightily.

The days are definitely getting longer — we gain a full 32 minutes of sunlight this month — although it’s been slow to lighten on the morning end.

Got an email from a reader, Terry Patterson, who observed we start our days on Kauai in a similar way. Apparently my musings prompted some of his own, as he wrote:

“Read an Obit about David Kaheleiki "Bear" Kaaumoana's passing. Takes me back to the Black Pot days---just groups of men with a love of music--and beer. Anyone with extra fish and food brought it to the Pot. I remember refrigerators plugged into a connection on one of the power poles--Best music in all of Hawaii played for their enjoyment only- my Dad playing the gut bucket- Me a 15 year old getting to sit with the men. Kauai was small then---One police officer based out of Kapaa. Miles to the Hardware store--when we pulled a nail out of a board it was straighten and put in a jar---Sorry this is so disjointed--I just get to rolling sometimes--thanks for listening.”

And thanks for sharing, Terry. It’s nice to be reminded of Kauai in a slower, simpler time.

It makes today’s report in The Garden Island about a youth arrested for throwing beer bottles at a tourist car all the more incongruous. Last month, another guy was arrested for allegedly popping a tourist who had reportedly caused a three-car pile up at Anahola.

The paper quoted Police Chief’s Darryl Perry today as saying he “can’t understand why this individual would commit such an act against our visitors,” a comment that struck me as a bit na├»ve.

While I certainly don’t condone such actions, they’re easy to understand. A lot of folks get frustrated by the way tourists drive, and some of them snap. Throw in some alcohol and ice, and you’ve got a whole lotta snappin’ goin’ on.

A taro farmer who has loi near the Hanalei Bridge gave me this account recently:

“I hear a lot of things on that bridge when we’re out there pulling taro. People screaming at each other, swearing, fights. One time it sounded like a guy was banging one other guy’s car on purpose. There isn’t a time we work in that field we don’t hear something like that going on. You’d be surprised how much road rage get at that bridge.”

All this raises — again — the question of just how much tourism Kauai can take. How long can we ignore the underlying social tensions caused by the growing economic disparity between residents and continued displacement of locals?

Meanwhile, Hawaii Superferry is in dry dock for two weeks. It went in yesterday, a day earlier than scheduled, because ocean conditions were unfavorable for travel. It seems surprising to me that the company so greatly underestimated the amount of down time it would experience due to rough winter seas.

As some readers observed, it was the ocean, not the courts or demonstrators, that kicked the Superferry’s ass this winter. Chalk it up to sea rage.


Anonymous said...

Actually, reading your article, we've been told it went in early because of sea conditions (which would have raised barf concerns). But who knows, maybe a part fell off or something. We wouldn't be told about that, would we?

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks, anonymous -- in re-reading my post, I see it wasn't written clearly. I meant that ocean conditions weren't favorable for passenger travel, that's why they skipped yesterday's scheduled voyages and went into dry dock early. But you're right, we probably wouldn't be told if a part had fallen off.

Anonymous said...

Kauai and the rest of Hawaii are overly reliant in tourists to support
our economy. The same goes with the
military, construction and real estate. Things won't change until Hawaii becomes more sustainable and
less reliant on the outside world.