Alexa’s Mini-Guide to Kauai (2013)
I’ve Lived here for four months and this is my guide to Kauai
DO rent a bicycle and ride the coconut coast trail in its entirety along the coast of Kapaa.
DO visit a farmers market, there is one on almost every day of the week. Wednesday in Kapaa is the largest and nicest I’ve been too with many stands full of local and exotic produce that you can buy with cash.
DO make your way to either Wailua or Kealia Beach. They have natural freshwater rivers to swim in that empty in to the sea.
DO rent a car so you can hike Waimea Canyon
DO make your way to Hanalei, the uptown of Kauai, it is an artist community to the north with the best shopping and beach.
DO get to the countryside in from the coast, it shows a lot of what Kauai is about, and also laden with fruit trees.
DO find up-to-date current events/festivals by checking the local Garden Island Newspaper.
DO enjoy spam musubi and the Pass-O-Guava drink.
A Few Interesting Things About the Island
- Temperature here regulates itself and windows are open year-round. It is usually 70 to 80 Degrees F tempered by a strong sea breeze. The warmth with the constant wind seems to the cradle the body while providing constant fresh air. Because of this there is no heating or air-conditioning in homes.
- There seems to be no boundary between inside and outside on Kauai.
- Kauai is eco-concious with a big farmer population, there is a lot of activism and hefty fines involved for things like littering.
- Electricity is expensive here so we have solar power and use drying lines for our laundry.
- No plastic bags here, it is the law. So at the checkout you have to buy a cloth bag if they don’t have paper bags or you forgot your last $0.50 cloth bag.
- Where are all the cheap Hawaiian exports like Anahola Granola and choco-macadamia nuts? They are at Costco and Walmart.
- Kauai is isolated, we have a few big-name stores like Costco, Walmart, Kmart, Home Depot, Safeway that have a monopoly on the entire island. There are also local businesses
- Prices are very high throughout the island, typically one and a third times that of mainland prices.
- We all get to know online shopping pretty well. Amazon, Zappos, and a few other retailers typically have free shipping. Shipping to Hawaii is also a lot.
- Being exposed to the fresh air makes food taste more vibrant, like eating food while camping. The Hawaiians have a different, more bland taste palette. Everything seems to have quality epitomized in poi—bland, heavy, fatty, sweet, with little salt or seasoning. My own palette has changed as well and I have made dishes here that I have made on the mainland that taste much too salty now.
More About Kauai Culturally:
- Kauai is like a small town in the state of Hawaii, a tight-knit community that is all about family.
- Trucker hats, booty shorts, surf logos, sandals. Muted colors, neon faze didn’t happen here. For the older woman a distinct lack of stylish options. Wall-Era East Berlin, brown, gold, and olive paisley.
- In reality Kauai is predjudist again Mainlanders, if you are only there for a couple of weeks you might not see this.
- The asian presence is everywhere and makes up Kauaiian cultural identity.
- As far as sexual orientation goes Hawaiians are relatively non-discriminatory. There are a lot of ‘butchies’ in the culture, women that choose a masculine role. One thing I have been surprised about it how many butch women have been readily accepted in this society.
- Newbies here are fleeced by locals. Don’t allow people to take advantage of you by taking what you have or offering to pay a suspiciously small amount for what you have in the name of the island spirit, this is bullshit. Mainland items here are coveted so protect what you have from theft.
- When people use Ohana they could not be related as at all. I tend to be wary of people that use Ohana because it can also refer to groups of people that live together to sleep together or do drugs together. When strangers offer you to be part of their Ohana in return for lodging or being part of this novel idea to you ‘Ohana’ recognize that this is common masked sexual proposition.
- In my experience cheap living situations here come at a high price. Stay away from Craigslist Room Shares Kauai.
- If you are talking to someone and they give you a meaningful look at the end of the conversation with an “Aloha”, they are making a masked sexual proposition. This is all referencing this attitude of looseness.
DO NOT hitchhike or accept offered rides. Women are taken advantage of just here like anywhere else regardless of how friendly the driver is. I have spoken to men that have been preyed upon as well (So if you want to avoid Mrs. Robinson, don’t take that ride).
- Don’t expect the top service most of the time—many people here care little about their jobs but don’t get fired simply because there is no one to replace them here.
- Drugs are everywhere but are still talked about with the guarded, symbolic language used elsewhere. I don’t purchase/do drugs but I know they are sold in places like thrift shops and coffee shops. Meth is particularly popular on Kauai so know the look. If you see someone that looks like they could also be a collection of old leather bags and acts erratically, they might be on meth.
- Half the time Haole isn’t as historical, it is used as a slur—A racist label on white people.
- Contrary to what I experienced in the city, I expect crime to happen in homes here instead of in the streets.
- I believe that most people that do harm genuinely don’t know that what they are doing is unethical to the world’s majority. There are kind and gentle people here but things are lax.
What is the Wisdom that someone that starved themselves for seven years can give? After almost-death I reached the conclusion that, “We are a product of the way we live”. And I pulled myself up out of death to let myself out of prison.
I see many trying to achieve the goal of beauty, but don’t expect goodness out of yourself or image when you try to get that by cheating yourself out of your birthright of feeling nourished and secure.
When it was no longer a matter of how long or how much is when it happened. It wasn’t until I let it all go that I achieved peace followed by a reclamation of natural beauty.
Ironically now I have little to appreciate as I don’t value physical beauty as I once did.