Oahu With Ukuleles

Here’s one of life’s great pleasures I never thought about until today: circle most of the island of Oahu in a junky car while listening to traditional Hawaiian music on the radio and stopping now and then for pineapples and coconut water.

Starting from here, in Honolulu….

This was the route I chose.  It took about eight hours, but that included lots of stops, a hike up a small mountain, two long swims, and an hour on the beach watching outrigger canoe races and two black labs frolicking in the waves.

Here are some views past Waikiki along the South Coast, including the lighthouse mountain at Makapuu Point


Then the Windward Coast presented views right out of Jurassic Park.

From here I passed through the center of the island, which is all pineapple plantations.  I took a tour of the Dole Pineapple plantation aboard a happy little train with a recording telling us how the pineapples are planted, raised and harvested – by hand – by people who have to wear heavy clothes and canvas gloves in the blistering heat to prevent being sliced like, well, a pineapple by the sharp leaves.  I trust Mr. Dole himself never spent much time in the fields.   (I hope the harvesters are well paid.)



And finally the day was rounded off with a pineapple ice cream that is my new favorite thing on earth.

Tonight – off to Waikiki.

Southpaw Kangaroos

“Research on wild kangaroos in Australia is challenging the notion that having a strong hand preference is a trait that developed primarily in people and other primates.

Scientists said on Thursday that these Australian marsupials displayed a natural preference for using their left hand for feeding, self-grooming and other activities. So while most people are right-handed, most kangaroos are lefties.
They found that two large, bipedal species, the eastern grey kangaroo and the red kangaroo, exhibited left-handedness in all tasks, including supporting the body with one forelimb in a tripedal stance.”

 “My, my, how veddy, veddy interesting.”

Blue-Winged Kookaburra

The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia tells us the other names for the Blue-Winged Kookaburra are Barking Jackass and Howling Jackass.   The authors appear unable to hide their uneasy feelings about this bird.  When describing the sound of its call, they write this: Appalling; a gutteral ‘klock, klock’, developing into a cacophony of mechanical squawks and screeches.  

Imagine the authors crouched beneath a tree filled with appalling Howling Jackasses screeching mechanically, and there they are, the authors with their hands over their ears, and tears streaming down their faces, shrieking in horror, “Stop!  Make it stop!!”