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What I Learned on Kauai

I’m going home today, a little older, a little wiser, and somewhat fatter.

Here are some tidbits I discovered whilst slaving away on Hawaii’s Garden isle:

1) I dig Ni’ihau.

Kauai’s next-door neighbor is the island of Ni’ihau, but think twice if you want to invite them over for a family barbecue. You can’t visit. Locals insist that you’ll be shot on sight if you try, although I find that hard to believe. Still, the truth is pretty strange on its own.

The island of Ni’ihau is privately owned by a family of billionaires. The whole stinking island!

They bought it in the 1870s for ten grand. The handful of locals who still live there speak Hawaiian as their primary language – it’s the only place on earth where that still happens. They have a few electrical generators, but mostly they live a fairly Gilliganic existence, only without the help of the Professor.

In 2004, 40 votes were cast from Ni’ihau, all but one for George W. Bush. It’s called the Forbidden Isle, and you would think all the people there would be hardcore, Ted Kaczynski-type lefties, but other than the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, it’s the most Republican place on earth.

The owners continue to subsidize the place, and it’s costing them gazillions, mainly in property taxes, which run in the millions per year. Most Kauaians want Ni’ihau to continue as a sort of nature preserve for native Hawaiian culture, but the owners want to lease some of the land to the government to help create a missile defense system, much like the missile defense systems they had back under King Kamehameha.

2) Visit Kauai by plane, not by boat.

Kauai is also the place where the new Superferry will no longer go, because surfers and boaters repeatedly kept the ferry from docking. Apparently, big boats disrupt the ecosystem. So ferry service to Kauai is postponed indefinitely, while massive cruise ships that are about three times larger than the ferries make port several times a day.

3) The north shore rocks.

The north shore of Kauai is 73% more fun than the south shore.

4) If you take enough drugs, mountains can look like dragons.

Puff the Magic Dragon can still be found in a land called Hanalei, although, unlike in the song, the town is pronounced Hanalay, not Hanalee. The song was written looking out from Hanalei Bay, where a big mountain supposedly looks like a sleeping dragon at sunset, when you can’t see all the trees.

I think it looks like a bunch of rocks, but I’m not high, either.

5) Come to Kauai with your family.

Swimming in the ocean all by yourself gets boring in 10.3 minutes.

6) I need a haircut.

But I’m going to wait until I’m back in the mainland before I get it.

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