Aloha spirit

Na Pali Coast
Today is the last full day for Sweetie and me in Hanalei on the island of Kaua'i. This is the third time we have come here, and the second time we have stayed in this beautiful rental house nicely situated between beach and town. Each time we have come, we have stayed for a week. We keep thinking we should make it two weeks, which would allow a better balance of activities and relaxation, but this time we were mostly about kicking back anyway.

We took a catamaran cruise to the Na Pali Coast that included a great snorkeling interlude, and we had one hour massages side by side in a tent that opens onto the ocean. Those were our main tourist activities. The rest of the time we did a lot of swimming in water warm enough for a wuss like me, had a few dinners out and two dinners that we made ourselves at the house (ahi tuna both times), spent a couple of hours at the Kaua'i Museum in Lihu'e, and had a great shopping trip to a. ell atelier in Kapa'a, a boutique that features locally designed, locally made, and sustainable clothing and accessories.

There is so much that we love about Hawai'i in general and this island in particular. We both seem to thrive in a warmer climate. We find that the island has much more fresh, local, and often organic produce than it did just a few years ago. The Hanalei farmers and craft market was hopping! And although not everyone here is an angel, we do find a prevailing "spirit of aloha."

The word aloha is used for both "hello" and "goodbye" but the meaning goes much deeper. We hear a lot of talk about "aloha spirit," which means among other things a spirit of generosity, sharing, and living lightly with respect for nature. "Don't be a dick," actor Wil Wheaton famously tweeted. Aloha spirit is the opposite of being a dick. On a small island with a fragile ecosystem, people want to help each other and help the land.

Print dress from a. ell by Scrapbook Clothing
We always try to participate not only in a general way but in at least one specific way—to wit, by picking up at least one hitchhiker. There is a bus that runs along the main highway around the island, but it doesn't run very often. Still, some people don't have a car, so hitchhiking is common. Last time we were here, we picked up a young woman on our way back from Kapa'a and brought her to Hanalei. She was great company, told us some interesting things about local flora, and left us with several apple bananas, which we love, that she had picked herself. This time, we were driving back from a lovely dinner in Kapa'a in the dark, and we picked up a young woman and man and brought them to a produce farm south of Princeville. They were living in a cabin on the farm. Part of what they picked covered their board, and the rest made them cash. We were glad to be able to spread our own aloha spirit, if only in a small way.

Vacation is one thing. Living in paradise is another. The weather is being particularly crazy today. Everything is expensive here. You either get used to the feral roosters crowing, and not only at daybreak, or they make you crazy. And there is only so much to do here. I remember a boat captain on Maui who said that periodically he would fly to the mainland just so he could go to a few concerts that weren't Hawai'ian music.

The humidity is pretty amazing! If I lived here, I would probably have my hair cut differently. Right now, it's like a bush. The upside is that moisturizer for your skin is almost redundant! We learned last time that if you use your usual night cream on your face, it feels like it's still on your skin in the morning.

We do love this place. We muse about retiring here or even moving here before retirement, although Medicare is broke and the Affordable Care Act is not really what it ought to be yet and maybe won't be during our lifetimes. But it's probably best, at least for now, if we just come stay here periodically. Right now, I miss our house, our kitty, our band, our friends. I want to get back to my guitars and my gardens and having more ingredients with which to cook. We have a show to play on Saturday and two masters (alternates) of our upcoming record to listen to.

We will bid a sad farewell to Kauai but know that we will be back again. We will say a happy hello to Vancouver and do our best to bring aloha spirit with us to the place that is still our home.

Mahalo for reading!

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