Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kona Adventure - Part 9 - Paradise is Not Perfect

Once again, Thank You So Much for your prayers for Kristen. She is doing so much better than she was yesterday and the day before. You bless us every time we need your prayer support!

I got to go and see the girlies today, but no pictures were taken. The nurses took some pictures of Kate and Emma that I hope to get copies of tomorrow - I know we're all needing a K&E fix! I will tell you that they are each gaining an ounce a day, which is fantastic. Kate was able to really nurse today, and I know Emma will soon.

I hope you're intrigued with the title of this post. I have given a lot of thought to this part of the story, trying to decide whether or not I should share it. But it is reality, and I try to be real!

Which leads me to another subject - I'd like to join in the "ask me anything" show that's going on. So - Ask Away! I'll work answers in among the Kona Adventure and the Twin Drama.

The first thing we noticed when we got off the plane that Friday noon was the horrendous increase in traffic since our last visit there ten years ago. Any of us who live in a growing area know that traffic is worse every year, but it is not as noticeable when it happens day by day. Kona has become a very popular spot to start a new chapter of your life - don't think we haven't thought about it ourselves! But the City Fathers have not done a great job of keeping the infrastructure up with the growth - there is a single lane of traffic from the airport into the city because of a long-term road project. Not fun on a Friday afternoon! We found the traffic to be somewhat of a problem throughout our stay - it seems as if the locals have not really adjusted well to this influx of cars, and we had several close calls. Gas cost $3.65.

As we visited with business owners, we learned that, as is true in our town, the Big Box stores are hurting the mom and pop shops. The economy is struggling - high prices and low wages. There is a huge disparity between those with money and those without, in the way they live.

And of course, there is the great in between.

I noticed gang tagging this time, that I hadn't seen last time. Maybe I just didn't notice. As anywhere else, drugs are a nasty part of their lives.

As we talked to the coffee growers, we learned that a huge controvery is alive and well on the Big Island. There are many coffee makers who advertise their product as Kona Coffee, when it is in actuality no more than 10% Kona Coffee. The coffee farmers are really up in arms about this, and have lawmakers working on a bill that will force the blend to be at least 50% Kona Coffee to be able to have that title - preferably 75%, but they'll take what they can get. As a non-coffee-drinker, I have learned from others that the 100% stuff is fabulous. The 10% not so much - as good as Folgers or Maxwell House, but nothing to write home about!

We saw quite a few people who appeared to be homeless - one with a huge load of bags on his recumbent bike. Most of these people were sporting dredlocks - a hairdo which requires very little care once it is achieved! One looked like John the Baptist, in a white robe, kneeling down by a guardrail on the side of the road, patting it with water from a plastic bowl. We were in a really nice shopping center when we saw a lady with a grocery cart - her left leg up in the air as she picked a scab. She was using an upright Pepsi bottle as a "pillow," and she had her right leg resting on another Pepsi bottle on the grocery cart. The picture would have been priceless. I wish I could describe it better.

Kona is a real place. It is not just a vacation spot. People live, love, work, go to school, go to church, struggle, enjoy, swim, Boogie Board, wait on tourists, and probably wish some of us would go home! But it was a wonderful experience - MORE TO COME!


Diane J. said...

Great news about Kristen and the babies! ;o)

No matter where our vacation paradise may be it's home year round for the natives. I don't think there's any place that's not struggling right now, at least for the middle class and below in income.

I love coffee and would like to try the real Kona stuff, but no way can I afford it! I'll just have to dream...

Love and hugs,


Mary said...

I'm glad about the good news for Kristen and the girls. I am keeping them in my prayers. It's always difficult when our children are having health problems.

I love your photos. I still have lots of Florida ones to post. I am just taking a few days off.

Looking forward to more photos of the girls.


Nadine said...

I'm so glad Kristen is doing better. That's wonderful news.

Great photos of your vacation, keep it coming.

Anytime you want to post more pictures of those adorable little ones, you go right ahead.

Midlife Mom said...

So glad that Kristen is doing better and that the twins are thriving! Lots of prayers have gone up for those three! :O)

Your pictures of your trip have been just glorious! Makes me feel like I was there! The poor lady sleeping in the shopping center was sad though, guess even in paradise there is real life isn't there?

Laura said...

Glad to hear that Kristen is doing better...and for the progress that the twins are making! And thank you for presenting the side of the non-tourists who live on Kona...it is good to see that perspective!

Nancy said...

I'm glad Kristen is better and that the twins are growing. I look forward to the pictures.

It is sad that Kona has to suffer the growing pains. I hope the beauty will never be destroyed.

Okay~ here is my quesrion...
How are your son and daughter-in-law doing?

Linds said...

Great news about Kristen and the babes!

What are you looking forward to most about your retirement?

What is your favourite holiday destination in the USA?

I will be abswering some of mine tomorrow!

nancygrayce said...

Oh, I'm sooo glad Kristen and the girls are doing better. An ounce a day sounds good to me!

When Russell and I went to Cancun years ago...it was the same thing, as soon as you got out of the "resort" area, it was saddening poverty.

I don't have a question for you right now, but I'll think of something!

Maine Mom said...

I guess real life has to happen even in paradise.

I hope Kristen continues to feel better. I look forward to more pictures of the babies. :-)

Sharon Lynne said...

It's sad about the homeless. It's a complicated situation.

I bought a homeless woman a meal the other day. I asked her if she needed a ride anywhere. She said she was fine. I told her I was sorry she was homeless. She assured me she was okay. She was an older woman--and with a steak of independence. Some people are happier on the street--rather than someone scooping them up and taking them to unfamiliar territory.

But they do need to eat! (I've run into her twice now, and she always lets me buy her coffee and a sweet roll at Starbucks.)