I’ve been here 11 days now.
That’s not long enough to know much, but a week ago when I first shared my thoughts with you, I’d been here four days and I knew nothing.
Before moving here, I told friends in Seattle I would be buying a bicycle for my Kaua’i experience. What the heck, there’s only 90-some miles of paved road, is what I told folks who looked at me skeptically when I said I was giving my 219,000-miles-and counting-1989 Mazda to my youngest daughter, Vanessa, a senior at the University of Washington.
There were a couple of things I didn’t understand about Kaua’i then, and the guide books didn’t give me a heads-up, either.
One fact neglected in all the mass-market guides is that the roads around here are used to train fledgling stock car racers. I’m still pretty quick on my feet for an older fellow, but I feel like a raw recruit in the pedestrian army walking around Lihu’e.
And guide books that extolled the great Kaua’i biking experience must have meant roads outside Lihu’e. Where I’m living, the only bicyclist guaranteed a modicum of safety is the Invisible Man.
But there already seem to be more pluses than minuses.
For starters, even the 7-Eleven coffee is good-very good. And I can tell you this unsolicited testimonial wouldn’t have happened in the Seattle area, where the convenience store coffee tasted like bottled water dyed brown.
Even more amazing, to a lifetime (except for four years in a Rocky Mountains ski town) urban rat, people return lost purses here with the money still inside. Not every time, but in my less than two weeks here, it’s already happened twice: To a friend’s little kid, and according to the police blotter, to a tourist lady at a resort.
The beaches here have been written about ad nauseum, but I have to tell you, I’ve been to Florida, I’ve been to California, Atlantic City, Long island, British Columbia and the Oregon coast, and I’ve never seen anything as beautiful as the seemingly endless beaches on Kaua’i.
Within minutes you can find a white sand beach that isn’t teeming with tourists fighting over sun repellent.
Last weekend, I stood in surf to my knees while two tiny little rain clouds, lonely in a seemingly endless sea of blue sky, dropped rain on my head. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life that didn’t involve another human being or grapes grown in France.
And the weather, except for between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. (so far, too hot for this Seattle boy), has been gorgeous.
Lots of people back in the Pacific Northwest told me I wouldn’t like the heat. But this isn’t muggy Ohio where I’m from. There’s a breeze blowing almost all the time. Just keep drinking bottled water as you go and you’ll feel pretty darn good.
I like the sound of different birds in the morning, too. I lived on the water for the past three and a half years, hard by a bay that emptied into Puget Sound. From my deck, I could watch a pair of eagles hunt, but every morning I was awakened by the raucous crying of gulls and crows fighting over scraps.
Here, I’ve been awakened by some birds that sound like woodpeckers taking voice lessons. I feel like Robinson Crusoe would have felt if he had a clock radio for company instead of Friday.
All in all, after slightly less than two weeks, I would recommend this place to anyone who asked. I think I might like it here.
Staff writer Dennis Wilken can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252).