Saturday, January 10, 2009

Catch-up; Kaua'i, Babies and Police Photographs

As I posted here, I spent the past week on the island of Kaua'i, visiting my daughter and her new baby (my first grandchild) Marshall Rush Ho'okela Agena, who in my 100% objective opinion is the cutest and smartest baby in the world:

I have to admit that my first thought when my daughter called to say she was pregnant was not unbridled joy; I want her to go back to school, and so on. But after visiting with her, holding and caring for Marshall, and seeing how loving she and Marshall's father are with each other and with the baby, my joy has, so to speak, slipped its bridle. A new baby is such a treasure, and they know it. My heart soars like a hawk.

I lived on Kaua'i from 1972-74. I cast my first presidential vote (for McGovern) at the Kapa'a Armory. Back then, the sugar plantations were still in operation. Now, the sugar lands sit mostly idle, growing weeds. Traffic is fairly bad, even in the middle of the day. Back then, the only department store on the island was Kaua'i Store, in Lihue. Now they have Wal-Mart, K Mart, Costco, Borders, Starbucks; the full compliment. But even with that, Kaua'i is still beautiful, lush and green, with clean air, blue skies, and white puffy clouds rolling by, compared to arid, brown, voggy Kona.

Not wanting to leave for too long, I only took relatively short hikes. The first, up to the top of Nounou, aka the Sleeping Giant, was supposedly easy, but the trail was very muddy and slippery and I found it quite tiring. Here's a vista from early in the trail, looking towards Lihue:

Here's a view from near the top (I blame my tiredness for the fact that none of my summit pictures were sharp):

So I made it to the top, but I was beat. Next I tried the Powerline Trail (Kaua'i differs from Kona, in addition to the greenery, clean air and blue skies, in that it actually has trails that are marked and maintained by the state! Amazing!) Powerline trail goes from the back of Wailua to Hanalei, over the mountains, and offers, even a short way in, views of surpassing beauty:

Detail, bordering on the sublime:

But because of the large amounts of rain Kaua'i has recently received, the powerline trail also featured something else alien to Kona: standing water and deep, deep mud. The hike would not have been difficult, in the absence of the aforementioned water and mud, but as it was, it required carefully making my way along the edges of the deep 4-wheeler ruts, filled with water and frogs. About a mile in, mistaking a small leaf dangling from a spider web for a hornet hovering inches from my face, I took a small step backward, into a foot of brown water and brown mud. My other foot, and my butt, soon followed. My boots, my socks, half of my lower leg and my backside got a thick brown dripping coating. I walked on a little further, but soon retreated to the car, beaten and muddy. I was so muddy that I stripped off my boots, socks and pants, put them in the trunk, and drove back to my daughter's house in my underwear.

Because my boots were still wet after being hosed off, my next hike had to be in my sneakers. My daughter recommended the Marriott, and I did get a nice 4.5 mile hike around its grounds, but there was no indication that the hotel welcomed, or even allowed, walking around. I suppose if the employees had thrown rocks at me, the hotel could have appeared more hostile to walking, but barring that, not. No sidewalks or walkways, so I walked on the road to the golf course and made my way on the golf cart paths. The one pleasant surprise were the large number of nene I saw. Here's one that walked alongside me for a ways. Its tongue is not sticking out in a friendly greeting, I'm pretty sure:

This was not the first time I've been attacked by an endangered species.

Finally, my thoughts on the great "Damon Tucker gets in trouble for taking pictures of a police officer" controversy (Here, here, here, and here). IMHO, the question of whether Damon is a "blogger" or a "journalist" is irrelevant. The police, like all public employees, are paid by money forcibly taken from the citizenry, or at least taken with the underlying threat of the power of the government. Any citizen should have the right to photograph, or otherwise document, the actions of any public employee at work, in the absence of a very specific reason why not (example: military operations that need to be secret for security reasons). A police officer, engaged in doing the people's work, doesn't have a legitimate privacy interest. When off duty, it's different, but on the job, the public is entitled to know what they're doing.

1 comment:

Tom said...

John - stunning photos as ever, that last photo in particular is wonderful. Also, my congratulations on the birth of your first grandchild. He looks so cute and clearly has wonderful parents and grandparents to help him through his early years! You must be very proud.