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Books and Latte in A Small Town in Southern Kauai


Ed (shown here) and Cynthia Justice run a great bookstore (with some 100,000 books in inventory, many of them used, in the small town of Hanapēpē.

How are you doing in this age of Amazon, I asked? Ed said their business has been growing each month, a 65% increase in the last 2 years. 80-85% of their sales are used books,and many of these sales come via Amazon.

There's also a v. cool coffee shop in Hanapēpē, opens at 6 AM.

Books and coffee, 2 of the staples of life…

Waimea Canyon in Southwest Kauai

The canyon is 10 miles long, and up to 3,000 feet deep. That's Waipoo Falls, ann 800-foot cascading waterfall. It's a 2-mile cliff hike to get there (I didn't do it).

Details  of the canyon on Wikipedia here (check out their panorama).

"…The canyon has a unique geologic history—it was formed not only by the steady process of erosion, but also by a catastrophic collapse of the volcano that created Kauaʻi.…"

Stewart Brand's Summary of Jesse Ausubel's SALT Talk "Why Nature is Rebounding"

Nature rebounding? Agriculture doing well? Huh? I wish all this were true, but I find this analysis troubling. What's wrong here? What parts of this are right and what parts are not? I'm posting this for comment.

I don't like Stewart's (and probably Jesse's) take on GMOs. Gardeners, people who work with the soil and respect natural processes know intuitively there's something wrong with the GMO juggernaut. And I've just found out that Kauai is a proving grounds for the GMO giants: Dow Chemical (makers of napalm, right?), Syngenta, DuPont and their like seem to be poisoning Kauai and its people in their brilliant blending of genetic manipulation, poisons, and profit.

We are as gods, right? Wrong.

In the next few days I'll post my observations on all this. It's especially vivid because I just saw huge fields of genetic experiments (nary a weed in sight) on the road from Waimea to Polihale Beach.
—LK

Stewart Brand on Jesse Ausubel, January 26, 2015:
"Over the last 40 years, in nearly every field, human productivity has decoupled from resource use, Ausubel began.  Even though our prosperity and population continue to increase, the trends show decreasing use of energy, water, land, material resources, and impact on natural systems (except the ocean).  As a result we are seeing the beginnings of a global restoration of nature.

America tends to be the leader in such trends, and the “American use of almost everything except information seems to be peaking, not because the resources are exhausted but because consumers changed consumption and producers changed production.“

Start with agriculture, which “has always been the greatest raper of nature.”  Since 1940 yield has decoupled from acreage, and yet the rising yields have not required increasing inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides, or water.  The yield from corn has become spectacular, and it is overwhelmingly our leading crop, but most of it is fed to cars and livestock rather than people.  Corn acreage the size of Iowa is wasted on biofuels.  An even greater proportion goes to cows and pigs for conversion to meat.

The animals vary hugely in their efficiency at producing meat.  If they were vehicles, we would say that “a steer gets about 12 miles per gallon, a pig 40, and a chicken 60.“  (In that scale a farmed fish gets 80 miles per gallon.)  Since 1975 beef and pork consumption have leveled off while chicken consumption has soared. “The USA and the world are at peak farmland,“ Ausubel declared, “not because of exhaustion of arable land, but because farmers are wildly successful in producing protein and calories.”

Moonset

About 3 AM on the beach.

Camping on Polihale Beach

My experiences/photos are way ahead of my ability to post them. I'll throw out what I can when I get time.

This was at the very end of the road on the southern part of Kauai, at the end of the Na Pali coast.


Jungle Fowl of Kauai

They're on about every square foot of the island. Supposedly the great hurricane of 1992, which practically leveled the island, demolished most of the chicken enclosures and they're now everywhere. Pretty soon you get so accustomed to the crowing that it's no bother.

Most of them are the breed known as Red Jungle Fowl.

It wouldn't be difficult — heh-heh —to have barbecued or stewed chicken at any time (pellet gun or snare).

Kamokila Hawaiian Village

This is a recreated traditional Hawaiian village, on the banks of the Wailua River. There are maybe a dozen buildings and walking around (not many turistas) you can get a feeling for what life was like pre-gringo.



Candy and the Ship in a Bottle at Aloha-n-Paradise

Yesterday I discovered the espresso hangout in Waimea, called Aloha-n-Paradise, run by the very lively Candy Baar. While waiting for Candy to make my latte, I spotted a dust-covered bottle on a shelf on the porch. It was an exquisite little bamboo house, complete with 2 people and a palm tree impossibly ensconced in a bottle with a rusty cap with a diameter of about 1-1/4 inches. Did they build it inside the bottle, or have it folded so they could slip it in and then pull it erect?

I had to have it. Candy and I agreed on a price and when I get back, it'll be a star exhibit in the Shelter office.

Coffee is excellent and there's an art gallery and wi-fi connection.

Breakfast With Gina and Chantal at "Gina's at Yumi's Restaurant"

Yumi started the restaurant in 1978. She passed it along to her daughter, from whom Gina bought the business. As a tribute to the founder she calls it "Gina's at Yumi's." In the southern Kauai town of Waimea.

Chantal, Gina's mom was helping out when I was there.

A great breakfast.

Huge Surf ("…60-80 feet") Last Wednesday, King's Reef, Hanalei

I was in Hanalei this day, but couldn't see this from where I was (someone said Laird Hamilton was riding monster waves on a foil that day, but I can't find anything on it).
Photo: Terry Lilley
"…Asked about the best wave of the day, Kaeo said it belonged to “the guy having the most fun.” As for his own best wave Wednesday, he described it as “huge.”

'Maybe, like, bigger than this,' he said, pointing to the tops of the nearby palm trees. 'Bigger than this whole tree line. Yea, bigger than that. Out on the third reef, King’s. And just giant. I don’t know how big. I was too concentrated on how to surf it.'

Wolcott, Kaeo’s long-time surfing buddy, didn’t downplay his friend’s catch one bit.
'This guy stepped up to a record-breaker,' he said of Kaeo. 'Between 80 and 100 feet, guarantee … A monster. A mile or three-quarter mile ride. It was sick. Sick.'

And Wolcott didn’t let it go there. He made sure it was clear just how ridiculous Kaeo’s ride was.
'It was life and death, you could say. It was borderline,' he said. 'You fall on that you’re in big trouble.'…"
Chris D’Angelo - The Garden Island:  http://bit.ly/1C9Grds

Waterfall on Na Pali Coast

The 2nd part of my hike on the Na Pali Coast consisted of going 2 more miles from the beach up a canyon to this 300' waterfall, upon which I swam in the pretty cold water over to the rock face and got under the falls. I worried a bit about a rock or branch coming over the falls, but figured the chances were slight. A bunch of young people we doing the same.

By the time I got back to my car, I'd covered 8 miles (round trip) in 5-1/2 hours. It's about 11 miles to the end of the trail (you can't get through to the road north of Waimea (or at least it's very difficult), so you have to backtrack, and this means spending at least one night camping. I talked to a guy who went in for 2 days and ended up staying 11.

Local Food, Local Music



By way of asking around in Waimea (southern part of Kauai, where I've come today), I went to the Kaleheo Steaks & Ribs restaurant tonight, had a half order of baby back ribs with Hawaiian cole slaw, two local beers, and listened to local band Waiola do a bunch of covers (a perfect rendition of Percy Sledges' "When a Man Loves a Woman"), and then a stunning Hawaiian song where the singer hit impossibly high falsetto notes, the occasional yodel, and the maybe 25 customers were cheering.

This is out of chronological sequence with my trip, but I'll backtrack when I can.

The southern part of Kauai is WAY different than the northern part.

Buckwheat "Kauai Waffle" at Hanalei Coffee Roasters


Short Hike on Na Pali Coast

This is a steep, rugged section of land at the end of the road on the north shore of Kauai. I hiked in 2 miles to Hanakapiai Beach and it was tough! This is a mother of a trail, steep and slippery in parts. When I got to the beach, the surf was (sorry to use the word) awesome. 15'+ shore break. Anyone in the water would be more or less instantly killed, if not by the bonecruncher waves, by the rocky (no sand this time of year) shore.

A few observations:
1. There were just too many people on the trail.
2. I couldn't believe how many overweight people were making this trek.
3. There were also runners -- running no less.

At left, part of the trail going up…

This day's adventure to be continued…

Super-high resolution image of Andromeda from Hubble Telescope

From my friend Mickey
(Full screen please):

"Speaking of Tiny Places to live, here is an interesting video.

Each bright light is a star cluster or supernova. All the other points of light are stars. 100 million of them. They form a section of the Andromeda Galaxy which, in turn, is only a tiny piece of what we see in the night sky. And so many of those stars have planets orbiting them; many more planets than stars in this video, but unseen.

Makes our Earth seem very small. Tiny, actually."

Simple Wood Frame Home in Hanalei

Note how the porch is created by subtraction.

Wai`oli Hui`ia Church in Hanalei

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waioli_Mission_District

Elegant Building in Hanalei

"Waioli Mission Hall stands as a major monument of Hawaiian architectural history, the primary inspiration for the Hawaiian double-pitched hipped roof so widely popularized by C. W. Dickey in the 1920s. Built by the Reverend William P. Alexander, Dickey's grandfather, the plaster walls of the frame structure repose beneath a sprawling roof and encircling lanai. The roof, originally thatched, was shingled in 1851. Similarly, the freestanding, ohia-framed belfry at the rear of the mission was of thatch construction, but most likely received a covering of shingles in the same year. The form of the twenty-five-foot-high belfry drew upon a long British and American colonial tradition. Common in its day, today it stands as the sole surviving example of its type in Hawaii.
This was the third church building on the site, with the earlier thatched edifices falling prey to fire and storms. It remained a center for worship until the completion of Waioli Huiia Church (ka44) in 1912, when it became a community hall for the church, a function it still serves today. The building has been thrice restored: in 1921 by Hart Wood, in 1978 by Bob Fox, and again in 1993, following Hurricane Iniki, by Designare Architects."
http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/HI-01-KA46

Swimming, Birds, Coffee,Stone Age Polynesian Sailors, and a Harley Davidson Pickup Truck

Ocean I took a last swim yesterday before leaving the hotel in Kapaa, with fins and some new goggles. Saw fish, coral, sandy spots. Got out and swam 4 laps in the very nice fresh water pool just outside my room. I walked past a hotel guest on my way out of the water and he said, You looked at home out there. Well, all right…Headed north to Hanalei…

Birds All of them are new to me. A flock of little (finch-size) cinnamon brown ones with black heads, elegant color combo, that flit around like a small cloud, staying about 15' from admiring humanoids. A small grey/white one with a scarlet head. Small doves with blue beaks.

"I like coffee, I like tea, I like the java java and it likes me…Right now I'm at the Hanalei Roasting company with a 16 oz latte and a waffle with papaya and banana slices and, er, um -- whipped cream. No wi-fi --  hey-hey-hey; makes me think of Mung Noi, Laos village reachable only by water, and no motor vehicles. Remindful in the sense of being in a different world from my normal coastal (east + west) everything's-on-all-the-time mileau.

Kindred Factor I feel at ease with people here. Brother/sister appreciators of the ocean and the earth, tuned in to the beauty of the physical world.

Stone Age Polynesian Sailors It seems that around 3-400 AD, Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands reached Hawai'i (as well as Tahiti sand Easter Island) in wooden dugout sailing canoes, carrying plants and animals. They had maps made of sticks and shells. When I get time I'm going to Google around for "Discoverers of the Pacific," which appeared in National Geographic Magazine in Dec., 1974. Also book with fascinating title, The Vikings of the Pacific, by Peter Buck.

The S. V. Kauai The size of Kauai is exquisite. 25 X 35 miles, a ship in the sea. Multiple climatic zones, clean fresh air. It feels like I'm out in the Pacific in a (stationary) sailboat, with the ocean moving around me.
Note on travel writing: my blog is hardly viral. It's down from 2,000 people a day to about 1,000 these days (am posting less), so I'm not worried too much about ruining great spots by describing them. I feel that readers here are more or less like-minded people and should they visit these places, they'll be tuned-in and welcome visitors.

Hanalei is stunning, but I liked Kapaa a lot. The comparison is a bit like San Francisco/Oakland, or Medford/Ashland. One drawback in Kapaa is the traffic jams. I guess if you live there, you try to travel the highway during off hours. This is Sunday, can't believe this is only my 4th day here. Oh yeah, I'm staying in  a nicely-converted school bus belonging to newly-met friends on the outskirts of town here.
Old Harley pickup truck in Kapaa

Home Sweet Ocean

I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin about half past dead…
This song recurs to me now and then when I'm on the road. In Puerto Jiminez on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, a kind of dusty border town, the song came to me. And here this morning in Kapaa, on the northern shore of Kauai, I've got only a half hour from the airport and I love the  place. It's got the big touristy hotels, but there's a healthy local gringo culture here, haven't been here long enough to suss out local Hawai'ian culture, been here less than 48 hours now, gotta check out of hotel soon, so will post some of yesterday's discoveries before the maid kicks me out:
My Daewoo beater, duct-taped sunroof, $25/day (30 w.tax), perfect, not being the new Avis/Budget/Alamo brand new tourist rental.

Found a place to lay my head, got into ocean, perfect temp., not too cold/warm, oh my! 3 times in water yesterday, each time with fins, once with air mat, which I'm finding difficult to control, squirrelly; a little body surfing;  the sand is rough and granular, fluffy, soft, nice to roll around when you come back in. Last night swam in rain. No one else at least here, doing anything like this. I'm like a starving man sitting down to a banquet, the Pacific so inviting and comfortable, unlike the 50 degree NorCal ocean.

Small Town Coffee
Annie Caporufscio set up shop in this converted Ford airport shuttle van with her partner Jeremy Hartshorn; Annie had run the shop for 9 years in rented space, but got tired of the landlords rising the rent and "…didn't want to be bullied in the lease." Great barista crema, the muffins make a good breakfast. Local hangout, good vibes…




Kauai Beach House Hostel
$40 shared sleeping room, $80 for a solo room (of which there are 3). Looks doable to me, especially in the land of 2-$300 hotel rooms. On beach, clean, wi-fi, young travelers, kitchen, shared baths, cool place.

Shared room.














Paul Iwai's Rooster Farm
How many roosters, I asked. 200?
More, Paul said. Are they beautiful! Had great visit with Paul, from a Japanese family, on family land, born here, I know chickens, and we talked shop. Oh my again! Look at these beauties; beautifully tended. You should hear the noise!



I asked Paul where I could buy a knife and he gave me two. We ate macadamia nuts from his trees, he gave me grapefruit, tangerines, I'm sending him 3 books. Kindred spirits abound here.

 That's part of what happened yesterday, gotta pack up and head north now.