Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Just outside of the fields in Hawaii

Hawaii's desert reminds me of pictures from the Mars Lander. The red dirt sticks and clings to everything.  Some days my rental car and I were completely camouflaged after a light rain and then wind.  In Oahu most of the fields used to be pineapple farms.  That is why you can see bits of black plastic.  The pineapple growers put down layers of black plastic, soil fumigants, and sterilizants to prevent weeds and pests. Soil remediation required mixing tons of charcoal into the soil and raking up bales of black plastic as well as a fallow period before other crops would grow.  

On the way back to the airport in Maui, I stopped by a bird preserve where they were trying to increase the populations of endangered Hawaiian Coots and Stilts.  It used to be a lagoon for farming catfish.  There was a pretty good sized flock of birds and I wished I had a decent camera with me.  If you squint, there is a stilt flying above the water.  I had other pictures of the coots, but I won't inflict smudges on the water on you.  If you go to Maui, it is just off the beach near Kihei.

They had traps set around the perimeter of the wildlife area to catch cats and rats, I think.  There are feral cats all over the island as well as bantam chickens.  I am not sure why the chickens have done so well there, but even the excess cats don't seem to be making a dent in their populations.  The native birds have a more difficult time.  They had carefully replanted the edges in native plants and if you squint and turn the computer around you can see the tiny butterflies on the native succulents.  I really need to bring another camera besides my cellphone. 

Oahu has clustered most of the hotels in Waikiki.  There are a few very expensive ones in other places, but 99% of visitors stay along the thin strip of hotels along the beach.  It is a fun place to stay if you like people watching.  There are crowds of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, European, and a few American tourists.

My first year visiting Hawaii I ate every night at Morio's Sushi - the Sushi Nazi of Hawaii.  Great sushi, low prices, but almost impossible to get a seat.  The waitress the last two years remembered me and saved me a seat at the bar when I was in town.  But, his tiny sushi bar in Waikiki closed and he moved to an even smaller place further away.  I tried to get in one night and couldn't so I ended up at a small ramen shop.  That was my new favorite. Most nights I was the only American there, yet it was packed.  I sat at the bar and sketched and listened in to the other people at the bar joking and gossiping in Japanese.  I don't feel bad at all about eavesdropping when I don't understand the language.  I also went to a Japanese barbecue/bar where not even the staff spoke English and ate something that had small pancakes and stir-fried cabbage. I have no idea what it was since the menu was only in Japanese.    

The beaches and water in Hawaii really feel like something out of a postcard.  It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.  Next time Leila has to come with me.   


Rhamnites said...

Great pictures! Looks marvelous.

Becca said...

You do need to take Leila! I am jealous of the amazing sushi place and wish you could have gone there again. Thank you for not inflicting smudges on me :). Have you seen "The Big Year"? I think you and Leila would like it.

Brian G. said...

It is on my netflix cue now!