Amazing Kids! Magazine

Beautiful Kauai in Hawaii

By Ryan Traynor, Editor-in-Chief

 

Although we had taken a summer trip out of the country, my parents wanted to revisit Hawaii before the end of the summer. Who was I to argue? I had been to Hawaii several times before and so I thought I knew exactly what it would be like. I, however, had never been to the island of Kauai in Hawaii, which, I found out very quickly, was very different than I was expecting. Usually we try to focus on cultures around the world outside of the United States for our Global Village stories. However, I found this such a unique place, that I wanted to share it with all of you. There are many places in the world that offer sun and sand. But there is nowhere else that offers just this right combination of beauty, beaches, lushness and serenity.

Hawaii was born from fire beneath the ocean floor in the Pacific Ocean. A vent opened up and the magma that spewed from it built upon itself to form islands above the surface of the water. These islands matured and some went away. Today, Hawaii consists of 8 major islands. Kauai is the northernmost island and also the oldest. Kauai has an area of 562.3 square miles, the fourth largest of the main islands in Hawaii and the 21st largest island in the United States. Known also as the “Garden Isle”, Kauai lies 105 miles across the Kauaʻi Channel, northwest of Oʻahu. What makes Kauai different however, is its combination of beaches, rainforest, mountains, and people.

I came to this island in Hawaii expecting sand and sun. What I found out is that Kauai has the wettest spot on Earth! How can that be? The center of the island has Mount Wai’ale’ale that has an average of 432 inches of rain each year. Rain around the island is impacted by this, causing us to experience about six 3-minute rain showers in our first day. It was the oddest thing. Mount Wai’ale’ale is barren at the top because almost no plants can withstand that much rain. However, when you get to the crater floor, the residual rain has left a lush area with plants, moss, trees and other plants, making it a virtual paradise. Kauai’s interior is mountainous, with deep valleys and large plains around most of the coastal areas. The rainfall is more varied than any place  in the world. The Northern and Eastern part of the island receive the most rain, with the Southern side receiving less and the Western side being fairly dry. The island of Kauai is lush except for the west coast. The trade winds are constant. However, the beaches are extraordinary and uncrowded. The breeze keeps it very comfortable while snorkeling or relaxing on a beach towel.

One thing I noticed that was different, making it seem almost as if I was in The Twilight Zone was the friendliness of the people. Driving along the road people would wave, let us turn in front of them, and respect the driving rules. Today, while we were checking out an ocean lookout, a small plane flew by and the pilot reached his arm out and waved at us. When we waved back, he dipped his plane as if saying thanks. People everywhere are polite, friendly, nice, and just plain happy. It is contagious. We found ourselves giving directions to other tourists to the best beach spots and ways to find a parking space. Another aspect of Hawaiian culture is their concept of time. Everyone moves just a little slower. You need to adjust to being laid back and not getting anxious about a waiter that takes a while to bring you your water or someone on the trail in front of you that has stopped to point out a special flower. This is the way of life here, and it infects your soul with each passing day. You’ll find a smile flitting across your face more often and those worry lines fading with your darkening tan.

Hawaii has its own unique language as well. It is gentle and melodious, like the words have rolled off the ocean breezes that have meandered across the island. Although the standard language is English, you’ll find many Hawaiians speaking to each other in their language and many words are used to define their menu items or stores.

We went to a luau, a dinner and show with dancers. The hula, a dance performed during the show, originally started as a means of worship and evolved into a storytelling mechanism. A visit to a luau will allow you to gain respect for the traditional food and the years of study it takes to become a magnificent hula dancer. Without any words, I could decipher the meaning of each dance from their movements.

Whether listening to the melodic influence placed on modern music by Hawaiians or watching the hula dance at a luau, Kauai is sure to mesmerize you and make you want to come back every year to get that relaxing feeling rarely achieved during a vacation.

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