Monday, March 2, 2015

Sure It's Paradise, But................

Against our better judgements, my wife and I have returned from our two week trip to Hawaii to the dark cold of Wisconsin.  I could regale you this morning with stories of spending time on tropical beaches, or the rounds of golf I played in the warm sunshine or getting about ten feet away from humpback whales during our sunset cruise off of Maui.  But to make you feel better I will tell you about the few things that aren't quite perfect about "paradise".

  • Milk and dairy products are insanely expensive.  There is nothing cheap anywhere in Hawaii (even locally grown produce) but the grocery store where we shopped in Koloa Town on Kauai was selling whole milk for $10.57 A GALLON!!  That was more than three times the price of gas on the island!  Needless to say, I bought my milk at Costco the rest of the trip--and even that was over $5.50 a gallon for 2%.  It was also difficult to find a decent selection of cheese slices in most grocery stores over there. 
  • They now have roundabouts over there too.  On our way to Costco on Kauai we traveled a brand-new stretch of highway featuring a brand-new roundabout--the first on the island.  A quick conversation with a local found that they hate them as much over there as we do over here.  Fortunately, it's just a single-lane roundabout--and not a two or three-lane--so the learning curve should be slightly shorter for those drivers.  Of course with mostly tourists--it will likely still be a disaster.
  • Everybody is a tourist.  One of the neat things about traveling to "exotic" locales is the chance to mingle with people of a different culture and background.  Unfortunately, that is almost impossible to find in Hawaii anymore--as every place you go is filled with people from another state--or who just moved there from another state.  It's hard to find "local flavor" anywhere anymore.  In addition, the businesses are important the vast majority of their employees now--with most from the Philippines, China or Southeast Asia.  Of course that may be a good thing because......
  • The locals aren't all that friendly.  "The Spirit of Aloha" is a popular catchphrase in Hawaii.  Tour buses are driven with it.  Stores sell it.  Airlines deliver it as soon as you board the plane.  But if you decide to leave the beaten path and explore the "real Hawaii"--don't expect much "Aloha".  Walking back to our Jeep from a North Shore beach on Oahu, a beat up pickup truck drove within inches of us and the locals inside shouted something we couldn't understand before speeding off.  They also enjoy leaving you as little room as possible when driving on rural roads in Kauai and Maui.  And we witnessed another beat up old truck revving its engine for 15-seconds while tailgating within inches of a rental car in downtown Lahaina--because the tourist was going a few miles under the speed limit.  I don't think the native people are so enamored with the big bucks the millions of visitors are bringing to their state.
So hopefully, that makes you all feel a little bit better about braving the dangerous wind chills while Michele and I were trying our best to deal with the elements in paradise.

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