Friday, February 11, 2011


So, we are surviving the night time traffic and the missing beach.  This is, of course, paradise.  However if there is one thing that drives wifey c r a z y, it is a rental landlord who promises a blender as part of the accommodation amenities, but fails to deliver.

The weather remains unsettled, with patches of blue amongst forbidding gray, and the periodic shower.  Today we slept in. I managed almost 12 hours sleep.  I am working my way up to the full 1/2 day of sleep.

After a morning walk on almost-empty Kekaha Beach, we packed our usual lunch with a tipple in the thermos, and drove off in search of solid sun. We managed a swim and snorkel at Salt Pond, with a bit of tanning thrown in the patches of sunshine, that is, before the smoking rednecks drove us off find a retailer.

You see: Wifey had discovered that the promised blender consisted of an Oster bottom end and a Sunbeam top end ... Or something like that.  Needless to say: It was NFG. 

So it was off to Wal-Mart in Lihue.   But first I wanted to try a gluten-free baker in Kapa'a.  On our way north through Wailua we came upon a two-mile tailback headed south on the Kuhio Highway.  Having missed our turn to the baker, we ended up having to pull a U turn and getting caught up in the terrific jam.

Since we first came to Kauai 13 years ago, Kauai's recreational developments haven't really grown, thanks to strict regulations on building permits. However the number of visitors has grown dramatically.  Where the two major state highways meet in Lihue, there is a constant backup of tourist rush hour in the middle of the day.  It used to take 2 hours to drive from one end of the island to the other.  It would now take four.  The blend of locals and tourists has mixed up a potent batch of frustrated commuters and confused visitors.

I can completely sympathize with the locals and their bumper stickers:  "If you love Kauai, go to Maui."

And we are part of that horrible rush that is bringing this island to its knees.

Kauai is starting to become everything that I dislike about Maui. Crowded, congested roads;  too few beaches populated with too many self entitled tourists; goods and services too expensive for the locals; residents almost completely reliant upon tourist dollars that are competed for with more and more local attractions managed by new immigrants and transplanted mainlanders; aged infrastructure groaning under the weight of the tourist burden with State and County budgets unable to keep up with the demands that the rest of the world is placing on these island jewels. 

We have spent many days on Polihale beach with not another single person in sight for three miles in each direction.  Now, the rutted 4x4-only cane field road is easy passage for anyone in their rental Jeeps, and there's a constant stream of those jeeps passing in front of our cabin on their way out to - what used to be - the end of the road.

We, on our fifth visit, are the problem, of course.  Soon, the silent Kauai refuges will have to be found in the adult swim hours, poolside, in some overpriced luxury resort with no privacy and demanding, boorish neighbors. 

People like us.

Call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye.

Is that the sound of a $15 Wal-Mart blender I hear? Well, then fuck it.  Wifey says it's time for a strawberry daiquiri. 


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