More than just hula skirts and coconuts

It all turned out this way because Tyson didn’t want to go to New Zealand.

I’d imagined hiring a motorhome, staying at cute little B&Bs in the mountains, sitting by a fireplace with hot chocolate and a good book. Instead, I find myself on a tropical island, staying in a B&B in the jungle, sitting on the beach with a cold beer and said good book.

It’s funny how we ended up here, really. My dislike of Hawaiian shirts and frangipani accessories (unfortunately both made tacky by my own nation’s people) has never placed Hawaii at the top of my ‘Must Visit’ list. In fact, it was never on my ‘Might Visit’ or even ‘Am Moderately Interested In Visiting’ list.

Until I saw pictures of the mountains.

Jurassic Park was filmed here, did you know? Right here on Kauai, the island on which we agreed to spend our 2nd wedding anniversary. You can really imagine it too – the jungle is dense, the mountains intimidating. There’s lots of rain, which creates lots of mist… you can just imagine gorillas poking their heads out… oh wait, that was a different movie.

Anyway, as it turns out, this small island (Hawaii’s oldest) actually has quite a bit more to offer than hula skirts and coconuts (though the latter are everywhere and the former can be purchased, wrapped in plastic, at the supermarket down the road).

I don’t mean really tourist things – though there are a lot of sailing tours available for the famed Nā Pali Coast and a few cool tourist attractions like a coffee plantation and a blowhole. But that’s not what’s really stuck out to me these first few days.

Rather, it’s the chickens, and the Mexicans.

You may think I’m joking about the chickens. I’m not. They are everywhere. If I could count how many chickens I’ve seen in Kauai and saved a dollar for every one of them, I’d quit my job today and write blog posts for a living.

But seriously. Chickens – on the beach, on the road, crossing the road (don’t ask why), in the garden, beside the restaurant, under the car. Scratching around like they own the place, clearly with not enough predators here as they are not usually the top of the food chain!

The other thing that’s stuck out to me is the Mexicans.

I don’t mean Mexican people, though with the amount of Mexican restaurants here you’d think it was Mexicans who colonised Hawaii. There are literally about 3 Mexican restaurants in every small town, and for a population of only 67,512 people, that’s a lot of Mexicans. Not only restaurants either – Mexican food trucks, Fish Taco stands, often pulled right up beside a more permanently erected Mexican restaurant. It’s bizarre, but obviously the locals love it. After eating it twice, I’ve had enough.

So, those are my first impressions of Kauai – all 1430 square kms of it. It’s lush, green, beautiful, and somewhat similar to our local beach Bargara in the town we grew up in, and there are chickens and Mexicans everywhere.

I wonder what more I’ll discover over the coming days…

 

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