Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Other Side of the Vacation

I may have mentioned that there is racial and cultural prejudice in Aloha land. I saw it slightly when I lived there as a grad student decades ago. I was poor and young and probably missed most of it because of that and because most of my time was studying or working, not beaching or shopping. But native Hawaiians like our American Indians got bypassed in much of the money and development arena of Hawaii. Today they have a much stronger voice in halting development if they think a burial area has been disturbed.  They do have an island (generous of the white man) set aside for blood Hawaiians.

There is also poverty like anywhere else.  The authorities attempt to control the beaches from squatters and homeless, but it is an ongoing battle. Hawaii does provide shelters through churches and public venues, but like the rest of the world, there are more homeless as poverty grows. The public parks closed down for a while in an effort to move homeless elsewhere, although they claimed it was for maintenance. It does seem there are fewer homeless veterans. The State is considering establishing "safe zones" where homeless can set up and be free of being forced to move elsewhere. According to one article, the islands have over 7,000 homeless people, the highest per capita in the US and most of these on Oahu.  'Lack of affordable housing, an epidemic in the use of synthetic drugs, insufficient support for the mentally and physically ill, prisoners discharged without any safety net and people coming to Hawaii with misconceptions about opportunities and then running out of money." are the reasons for the increase in homelessness.  Still, it appears that tolerance for the homeless has lessened overall.

My kids exploring a banyan tree in downtown Honolulu.

When we walked around the tree and looked up...!
The ingeniousness of sleeping and making a home in a banyan tree must mean some marketable skills!

I do not think the woman in the photo below is necessarily homeless.  She may live in on of the houses across the road, but the photo shows how difficult it is to track tents and homeless in such a moderate climate.

Many Polynesians who are not homeless are still angry that their land has been taken from them.  They become politically active and let their arguments be known.

Taken at South Point, the southernmost tip of the United States.  The sign says "Kingdom of Hawaii is still here we never left."

We wanted to see the Captain Cook monument on the Big Island which is easily accessible by boat and not so accessible by hiking down a trail.  In case you missed your history Captain Cook was so loved by the Hawaiians, they killed him.  We naively thought we would hike the 1.8 miles each way to the sheltered cove.  Do not believe the tourist articles about this hike.  Parking is a nightmare just off the highway and room for only a half dozen cars.   The trail is NOT cleared but disappears for half a mile into 7 foot dense, tall grasses that cut the arms and legs.  Wild pigs hide and protect their young in these grasses and grunt if you come near, so make noise!  If you make it through the grasses and do not get attacked by wild pigs, you come onto open terrain and the rest of the hike is in the boiling hot sun.  Bring a few gallons of water!  Clearly, the locals could care less if you go to this monument.  We actually did not complete the hike as it just got way too hot and we were low on water!  We made it a mile and a half down and rested and headed back.  There was another family that had sent someone back up (all that way) for water!  People have been rescued from this hike.

This looks like a clear trail, but it disappears as you descend with those grasses on either side closing in over you.

I do not regret attempting the hike but opted out on another strenuous hike at the end of the trip as I had done it on my honeymoon.  ;-)


  1. I'm not surprised that there are many homeless in Hawaii because of the mild temperatures. We have people sleeping in doorways and wandering the streets with huge shopping carts with their belongings. They don't go away in the wintertime, but they must deal with rain and wind. That hike does sound strenuous! And wild pigs? Yikes! :-)

  2. I think human nature is human nature wherever it is with all the good and the bad that means. The hard part for human civilization is our increasing numbers and what that might mean. I watched a YouTube this morning on the dire possibilities. I don't think I'll watch more of them lol. And yes I do laugh-- but ironic not humorous...

  3. Where there are people there are problems. Sadly.

  4. Homelessness is a sad state of affairs. No matter where it occurs, it makes my heart ache.

  5. Darn, even in Paradise there is bad opinions about the homeless! Generally until it happens to folks you know personally, you don't realize it is happening to regular people! Housing here is very difficult also.

    I'd like to live in that tree! Pretty!

  6. Your post covers much to think about. Hawaii has been know as the most expensive state for decades. How the homeless situation can get so bad goes beyond reason.

  7. They have better weather, but the same social problems as the Mainland.

  8. Homelessness is ubiquitous and sad. You were smart to abort that hike.


  9. Hikes are supposed to be fun. If not, abort!
    Seattle has a huge homelessness problem and I am in turns repulsed by the garbage they strew about and saddened by their plight. I have no answers. I just donate to a local mission.

  10. Bravo to you for going back to the start. That kind of hike isn't fun. The pictures are beautiful tho.

  11. it's a travesty what happens to native populations, what white men do to native populations. and so much damage was done by missionaries. what a great idea to put aside some public land for the homeless population. I hope they follow through with it.

  12. What is that up in the tree? I see a bit of metal and a swath of canvas?

  13. Yes, many native Hawaiians do resent having their country taken from them and can’t say that I blame them.


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