Aloha! That word, meaning both hello and goodbye, is as overused as "actually," and "I'm good." Last week I visited with you about our recent trip to Hawaii, and I ended up mostly discussing the state of the homeless on Oahu, the third largest of the islands.
We spent seven nights at the Ilikai Hotel, in a privately owned condo with a great view overlooking the Pacific. Less than a block from the Pacific at the edge of the Waikiki Beach, it is a poor cousin to the Hilton Hawaiian Village next door. We prefer eating few meals at restaurants, so booking the condo saved both our health and bank account. Freeloading, we had a good view of the nightly luaus on the Hilton deck a few floors beneath us.
Heather had read the 1,030 page book, "Hawaii," by James Michener several years ago and gave me a copy for my birthday. If you have the patience, it's hard to beat a Michener book, and this was a good prep for our trip.
Crammed into an area 30% smaller than Plymouth County, Oahu has mountain ranges running from north to south near the east (3,100 feet high) and west (4,025 feet) coasts. The island is entirely surrounded, of course, by the blue Pacific and many of the world's best beaches, and with beautiful valleys down the middle where the Dole plantation is located. Don't waste your money on pineapple ice cream.
Honolulu streets are a bit difficult to navigate on, for nothing is straight and it seemed like every other street began with the letter "K." Forty percent of the 62 community names on Oahu begin with a "K" or "W." Several blocks of Kakalaua Street in Waikiki are similar to Colorado's Estes Park, with touristy stuff to very high end stores, making an interesting walk.
It is a shame that only ten percent of the population is "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders." 44% are Asians.
The helicopter flight around the island was great, as was our visit to the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. Other islands have great features, but they don't have Pearl Harbor. 1,117 sailors and marines aboard the battleship were killed, the greatest single loss of life in U.S. Naval history. This was not an act of war, but a cowardly sneak attack that caused us to declare war on Japan. Leaking oil, called "black tears," still is visible on the surface around the sunken ship.
Although we walked in parks a lot, we saw very little wildlife -- nary a rabbit or squirrel, and we learned there are none. Oahu has many species of seabirds, including terns, noddies, boobies, myna and frigate birds. In mountain valleys there are some wild goats, and pigs, and even wallabies, but we saw none.
Despised now there are mongooses, brought in to protect sugar cane plantations from rats and mice. Didn't work, for those despicable rodents continue to multiply. Instead, mongooses hunt birds, and bird eggs, thereby threatening several of the local island species. Another of man's good intentions gone wrong. I guess we did see quite a few boobies (beach), and cougars (bar) too, but that is another story.
Bottom line is Oahu good place to vacation but I wouldn't want to live there, not even if I owned a Plymouth County farm.
A sticking point in the Iowa legislature is the Earned Income Tax Credit, a misnomer if I ever heard one. It isn't earned; it is public assistance, pure and simple. I am not opposed to welfare for those in need but it shouldn't be automatic. Call it, and other welfare programs -- well, welfare, and it was earned - by others. At the federal level it was enacted in 1975 and has often been expanded, notably by the Reagan administration.
PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals) says, "Of course meat should be protected. Nestle it right in there between the mashed potatoes and the corn."
I heard a new word, paraprosdokian, a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected, causing the reader or listener to re-frame or reinterpret the first part. Such as; never argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with his experience. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong. Or, I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
I now Blog on the Sentinel's online site. This week I whine about the amount of air time devoted to another dead drug abuser.
Don Paulin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236 -30-