|Ke'e beach on Kauai's north shore|
I confess The Garden Island wasn't on the original itinerary. We'd actually put the Big Island at the top of the list. I didn't even know that Kauai existed. If someone had asked me to name the Islands I might have been able to rattle off four and Kauai wasn't one of them (Oahu, Hawaii, Molokai, . . . okay. Three islands). But a little research revealed that Kauai had its charms. No National parks but lots of state ones. Amazing beaches. Botanical gardens. Plus all the usual Hawaiian tourist attractions like luaus, helicopter tours, guided snorkeling trips, none of which have ever made a list of things I'd actually want to do. Heights terrify me, I can't swim, and we're too damn cheap to pay $100 each for an all you can eat buffet even if it includes unlimited mai tais and hula dancers playing with fire. So it was going to be beaches, botanical gardens, and some hiking. Oh, and the Kilauea lighthouse.
|Kilauea Lighthouse. When it was built, there was no road access.|
But, speaking of birds, if I recall correctly, the state bird of Hawaii is the nene goose. The goose is endangered. I find myself thinking that they got it wrong. The state bird should be the chicken. Feral chickens are every where. I started drafting this while we were still on Kauai. As I tried typing, kind of experimenting with doing a blog post using the smart phone, I was being serenaded by multiple roosters. Yesterday I heard an odd noise right outside the door. Turned out to be a hen with four or five half grown chicks. We went looking for a Kmart Sunday afternoon. Turned out to be part of a good sized shopping center. We had lunch in the food court. The chickens outnumbered the pigeons.
|One of several roosters in the parking area for Ke'e beach|
I have to say that for feral birds they were remarkably good looking chickens. Chickens apparently found an ecological niche to exploit in the Islands after arriving with the Polynesians a millennia or two ago and are thriving despite the cats and rats that must dine on eggs and chicks. I'm guessing those two predators are what keep chicken numbers low enough that although the chickens are numerous, they haven't totally overrun the Islands. I never saw a hen with more than 2 or 3 chicks at the most, and I know chickens are capable of having much bigger broods than that.
|Sleeping Giant (aka Nounou Mountain)|
One thing that struck me while we were in Hawaii, given the recent election results and some of the truly vile racist stuff that's emerged while President Obama has been in office, was that Hawaiian society encapsulates everything racist whites fear. The population is incredibly diverse, whites are a minority, and the overall attitude is laid back and very much "live and let live." No wonder so many of them insisted President Obama wasn't a U.S. citizen. To them, Hawaii would indeed feel like a foreign country.