Discovering The “Other” Hawaii In Kauai

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Though intrigued by many aspects of the Pacific — especially its cultures’ haunting music, like what’s heard in the beginning of Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line — Hawaii has never garnered much interest for me. Perhaps because of its position as the go-to vacation spot (next to Mexico) for most Americans west of the Mississippi. But, as this recent SMH article discovered, it’s possible to find another Hawaii, one away from the expensive, tourist-filled areas around Honolulu, and it’s called Kauai.

Aside from its large population of hippies who’ve come to discover a love of a certain time of home gardening — if you get my whiff — the island of Kauai is a nature lover’s mecca, with its Jurassic Park-like vistas, more than a quarter of a million wild pigs roaming around, and a penchant for undeveloped land. As the article notes:

I’ve come to Hawaii expecting kitsch and a spot of surfing but what I find on Kauai, a short flight from Oahu (the island housing Honolulu), is an island far stranger and more intriguing than the brochures would have you believe.

Only 3 per cent of Kauai is developed for commercial and residential use and this is concentrated along the coasts. The heart of the island is an almost impenetrable wilderness of valleys, volcanoes and natural wonders such as Waimea Canyon, “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific”.

And as a fun side note, there was even a so-called “Battle for Kauai” in 2007 that involved a flotilla of hippies who warded off an incoming ferry service in ocean water, succeeding in making sure the only access to the island remained via plane. Where’s Kevin Costner when you need him?

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