5th entry – kaua’i 2012

Kapa’a is the everyman town in the north-east sector. (Hanalei is for left-over hippies. Where else would old, bald counter-cultures land, than where the dragon frolics in the autumn mists?) The image is of the railing on the walking-bridge over the Wailua River. The pineapple filigree – a memory of long ago plantation indenture – borders the bridge-deck.

The locals fish from the deck, from the river’s shore, oblivious of the tourists in their Crocs and Keens. In Kapa’a the locals dress down. Here the locals go to bingo-night in cinder-block community centers. Here people have heft; their bodies have curves; their skin is brown; their eyes are coral-black; their hair is straight. (Here the resorts have security patrolling the disneyland grounds, keeping out them locals and making the gate-community native-free.)

The long beach that lines Kapa’a is populated by these locals, these real people who work 8-hour days and can’t sit by the pool basted in SPF 100+ sunscreen. They are the store-clerks, the construction workers, the park-rangers, the teachers. At one end, families fill the pools created by a barrier reef that is 20 meters from shore. At the other end, the reef is broken and surfers ride the waves that sneak through and run to the shore. In between, tourists monopolize the sands, but share the sun.

Along the beach, the town has built a trail that tourists walk. (There’s a voyeuristic element in walking the flat, concrete trail. It’s like come on down and see the real Kaua’i – the old men, their faces cracked like the glaze of ancient pottery, the skinny surfers riding cheap boards, the multi-generational families with no blond children.)

All this sounds rather duplicitous coming from someone who walked the trail, photographed the locals, wears croc slip-ons and keen sandals. Too bad, it’s my journal/blog; I’m the author; I determine content; and I don’t allow comments.