Second Summer

We are well into our second summer on Kauai. It is much wetter and cooler so far, than last summer. We’ve settled into a routine with the seal monitoring, we aren’t quite as intense as the first year. It’s also helped that the seal presence on our south shore beaches has been much less frequent this summer than last summer. And of course I haven’t been able to get to the beach for much of the summer because of my foot injury. But I am looking forward to getting up to the north shore Sunday for seal pup duty. This week our fifth pup of the season was born. And speaking of summer, our mangoes are now ripe, and we’re again gorging on them. Viva la mango!

Charlie has been practicing with the West Kauai Senior softball team. After last week he was feeling optimistic about his return, after 30 some years so he was looking forward to practice on Tuesday. Unfortunately, 10 minutes into the practice he went running for a fly ball and strained his quad muscle. That’s what happens to us when our mind says we are 25 and our bodies says something different. The other players were quite sympathetic, they have all experienced this wake-up call and had multiple suggestions, the most important, to warm up your legs as well as your throwing arm before practice. They all encouraged him to continue the practice so that he can play on the team next year. Their last game of the season is this coming Saturday.

We took a tour of the Grove Farm homestead on Wednesday. Grove Farm was the home of one of the wealthy sugar barons, George Wilcox. Wilcox, an engineer, born in Hawaii and educated at Yale was very instrumental in mechanizing much of the sugar processing in the 1800’s. He made a great deal of money in sugar exporting and used it, unlike many of the sugar barons, not only to house his workers but also pay them (the other sugar facilities fed the workers but didn’t pay them). Robert, a docent at the farm, led a small group of mostly seal volunteers around the property. Donna who is a good friend of Robert, organized our tour which was very interesting. The plantation house was built by George and since he never married, invited his brother, Sam and his family of 6 children to live with him. The house is designed in the traditional plantation style and furnished exquisitely with oriental rugs, koa furniture and thousands of books covering a wide range of topics. Sam’s daughter, Mabel, inherited the estate and upon her death designated it as a museum. The homestead encompasses about 900 acres and divides Lihue by a deep valley into two distinct areas with no roads connecting the two sides through the middle.

Earlier this week we attended a political forum featuring four candidates for state representative. While all of the candidates were passionate, we couldn’t help noticing a distinct Hawaiian characteristic of some of the candidates. Many of the locals speak Pidgin English, and this was very evident in two of the candidates. Most visitors to Kauai don’t interact with the locals, so don’t realize how prevalent this type of speaking is. The guys on Charlie’s softball team are 90% locals and also speak some Pidgin English. We find that it can be hard to understand, and we really have to concentrate to understand what they’re saying. We saw a local a few days ago wearing a t-shirt with the following saying on it:
“I not late – I stay Hawaiian time”
This combines the Hawaiian philosophy of living a leisure life, not being rushed, and expressing it in Pidgin English.

The Wilcox homestead.

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Robert and me.

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The valley separating the two sides of Lihue.

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After our tour we took a ride on one of the original steam engines that the Wilcox plantation used to transport sugar cane.

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The annual BON dance, held by our buddist community in Koloa was planned for Friday and Saturday evenings so we planned to have a cookout at our house followed by walking over to the dance. However, because tropical storm Walli was predicted to bring heavy rains to Kauai on Saturday evening, Charlie and I decided to go to the dance on Friday in case it got rained out Saturday. The dance is fun to watch as many people coordinate their movements while circling a central stage. Most of the dancers wear kimonos or Japanese clothing, and they can be very colorful. The movements are graceful, and depict activities associated with honoring their ancestors. At half time a youth Taiko group drummed and danced. They’re very energetic, and well rehearsed. This celebration is to honor ancestors and is very interesting. Our mayor (as usual) danced in the circle too (perhaps because he is running for re-election). We stayed just past half time, and really enjoyed the performance, plus the cool evening breeze. A fun evening! We lucked out on the Saturday evening party, as the rain didn’t come until late night so the party took place in the back yard. We had neighbors, seal volunteers and several others, including Archer, our neighbors 2 year old who was the life of the party. All in all about 16 lounging in our back yard. We cooked hamburgers and Italian sausages, plus had lots of salads, pupus, watermelon and brownies.

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Then the BON dance. The dancers arrange themselves inn four or five concentric circles, and dance individually around the center ring. All the dancers make the same movements.

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Then our mayor….dancing too.

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The West Kauai senior men’s softball team had their last game of e season on Saturday morning, unfortunately they lost, great guys though.

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