Hawaii: The Rainbow State

Because Hawaii is the rainbow state, and because rainbows are our sign of choice for celebrating our recent ruling on gay marriage, and because I have yet to gather my Kauai photos together–and because I’m truly trying to create the longest sentence ever–I’m giving you, my faithful viewers, an oh-so-simple photo post.

Here is a rainbow of colorful photos that are very, very representative of this lovely state. And no, I didn’t put any actual rainbows in here. That would be just too literal, and aren’t rainbows full of mystery and wonder? This is surely a lame excuse for not posting stories from Kauai, but with medicine, prayer, and a good-ol’-fashioned bit of patience, I’m sure we’ll both make it through the waiting game.

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A gecko sits atop a giant red flower in Akaka Falls State Park

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Do sunsets get any better than this? Not a smidge of editing needed.

Mango and pineapple shave ice atop ube (purple potato) ice cream. The. Best.

Mango and pineapple shave ice atop ube (purple potato) ice cream. The. Best.

The beautiful green Akaka Falls

The beautiful green Akaka Falls

I think dis is pretty blue. Hiking the Na Pali Coast, Kauai

I think dis is pretty blue. Hiking the Na Pali Coast, Kauai

The Milky Way, as seen from Puako, Big Island

The Milky Way, as seen from Puako, Big Island

15 Facts You Don’t Know About Hawaii

Here on the Big Island of Hawaii, things surprise you. From scenery ranging from lava flows and houses that looks like they’re in Greenland to lush rainforests and fog so thick you can’t see 10 feet in front of you, this island holds much mystery. Here are some of my favorite little-known facts!

#1: The endemic Happy Face Spider lives here. I haven’t seen one, but look at this thing. It will totally crack you up.

#2: I was out in the middle of nowhere taking photos of a waterfall when…I was approached by a couple of Hawaiian Jehovah’s witnesses. I kid you not. Luckily they let my Christian-ness be and gave their paper catalogs to some other hiker. I’ve never felt so religiously molested in the woods.

#3: Approximately 18.7% of your Facebook friends are involved in pyramid schemes and post daily to get your participation–a sure sign of the fact that they are indeed involved in said pyramid schemes–but are in denial of this fact.

#4: Fact #3 has nothing to do with Hawaii.

#5:  I thought the roads in St. Thomas were the worst I’d ever seen. Then I came to Hawaii. The roads in St. Thomas are utterly atrocious.

#6: Though everyone (my mother) complains about how hot ‘n’ humid Hawaii is, it really isn’t that bad, especially here on the island of Hawaii (Yes, it’s called the Big Island, or Hawaii. Just to confuse you.). In fact, its highest recorded high (100 degrees F) and lowest low (12 degrees F) don’t even come close to New York State’s range. I remember 106 when I was 11 years old, and -10, I dunno, bloody last year. It’s not even that humid here! In fact, where I live I wear pants and a sweatshirt to bed every night, and I’m still cold. There are so many climates here, you can drive through what feels like 10 different states in two hours.

#7: There are three main colors of sand here: white, black, and green. They all look different, depending on the angle of the sun and how you look at it. Sort of like Rachel Dolezal.

#8: Kauai is better. JUST KIDDING! The BIkG ISaLuAaNiD is better.

#9: It’s the adults who have the pot problems here. Yes, young adults smoke up, but gatherings of old Hawaiian men drunk and smoking are far more common, and youngsters worried about their parents being addicted to marijuana is a thing here. Driving high is also of concern. Luckily most car crashes involve lava, not other people.

#10: French-Canadians are just as obnoxious as regular French folks. Also, due to the fact that they know they’re right all the time, I was told that I was wrong about thinking a part of the sky could be the Milky Way. “No, it’s just clouds. How do you not know that? Have you ever even seen it? Pffft.” I took a photo just to check.

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Stupid French-Canadians.

#11: When I drive to work many afternoons and leave my li’l mountain town, half of the time it’s raining and cold–though it’s clear, hot, and bright by the time I get to my work side of the island. This means that often in my rear view mirror, I see beautiful rainbows during my daily commute. The scenery is so distracting, it’s hard not to crash.

#12: Plastic bags are no longer allowed on the Big Island. You’re allowed to have your own from the past, but grocery stores don’t have ’em. Pretty cool that they’ve made the step to not kill our environment so fast!

#13: The hooker I photographed tipped me in cash. $12. Hey, you gotta use those dollar bills up somehow! She also gave me a ceramic Hawaiian flower from her cleavage. I already went through my storehouse of Purell.

#14: People are always shocked when it rains in the rainforest.

#15: People think Hawaii is all rainforests. Or a little lava and rainforests and beaches. In fact, the islands are incredibly diverse (from the rest of the world, as well as from each other), with the Big Island being the most diverse. There are different colors of lava, desert regions, snow, fog and moss, beaches, rainforests, mountains, savannas with galloping giraffes, polar bear sightings, icebergs, Williamsburgs, smorgasboards, and snozzcumbers.

So…how many of those facts did you know? You’re surprised and learned something new, right? This place is an endless pit of fascination and lava tubes, so luckily I haven’t grown bored here. Heck, even the chickens are beautiful. Aight folks, over and out for now. Next time…Kauai and the epic Na Pali coast–plus homeless people, hobbits, and more!

The 5 Senses in Hawaii

Everyone always says that the sights of Hawaii are unmatched. But what, I thought, about our four other senses? In order to find out, I closed my eyes and went about my day, taking in all of my other senses. I also crashed multiple vehicles, was mistaken for Helen Keller, and accidentally became a cannibal, but that’s to be told another time. Here’s what I picked up on this round:

Smell – Opening the door to my house each night, being greeted with the unmistakable scent of used cat litter mixed with dirt-embedded/unvacuumed carpets and decaying bodies, most likely.

Sound – My landlord snoring in his room, despite being behind two closed doors.

Taste – That sweet, sweet influx of diabetes as I ate mango, lilikoi, and pineapple cream shave ice over ube (purple potato) ice cream. Holy cow that eep is good.

Touch – The feeling of ants running up my arm as I took out a piece of moldy bread and unscrewed the jar of peanut butter.

Sound – The rich tunes of silence as I turn on the car radio, realize I live out in the middle of nowhere, and forget it’s even still scanning until I nearly jump out of my seat when it picks up a signal 15 minutes later.

Smell – The overwhelming mix of perfume and/or ammonia that a literal hooker wore for her photo shoot. I don’t know which was worse: Looking at her or having to smell that. She was actually super nice, but…yeah, I guess my G-rated photos are about to appear on an X-rated site. I’m scared to look. Private message me for the link.

Touch – Black sand on my feet. There are beaches here with white sand, green sand, and black sand. Unsurprisingly, it just feels like…sand.

Taste –  Blood, as I bite my lip to keep from screaming as I hear yet another guitarist sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

 

That’s what I have for the other senses. Luckily I moved last month to a completely different part of the island, and am so, SO happy. No ants! Just roaches.

At least the sights here aren’t so bad.

Hello’o from Hawai’i!

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As you all sort of perhaps probably may not know yet, I accepted a short-term job in Hawaii (Big Island). I’ve always wanted to live here, so when a photography opportunity came available and I was able to make the contract fit my spring/summer schedule, I said yes. Not to the dress. I’m not getting married. Geesh.

This is just an all-too-average blog post letting y’all know I made it here alive–despite having medical emergencies on both my flight legs. I was not the victim. It was a bloody long schlep from New York, but now I am watching people live in paradise! I am living in a semi-pigpen, renting a room from a creepy middle-aged man (he’s actually nice, but it’s a gross place), and working at two resorts right now taking mostly lifestyle photos and video. But more to come on that soon, along with facts about Hawai’i, extra apostrophes, how this state affects your senses, ridiculous signs, and more.

In-post P.S. I took the photo above on a gorgeous hike my first week here. I mean, come on! Too bad the place I live in Kona looks nothing like this.

Until then, remember to pronounce it “hu-VIE-ee” so you truly fit in with the folks pretending to be locals.