Monday, April 13, 2009

Home from "Paradise"

Waimea Canyon.  A spectacular place.

Notice I used quotation marks.  These are not the sort of quotation marks so often used (wrongly) as an attempt to provide emphasis.  

Kaua'i is the Garden Island.  It is lovely.  It is beautiful.  But it is not Wisconsin.

"Wow, Einstein.  You say that Kaua'i is not Wisconsin.  Someone outta give you a Nobel Prize for Geography."

No, it's not.  What Wisconsin is to me is home.  It is, aside from the Wisconsin Dells area, authentic and real.

Hanalei overlook.  Taro patches.  Lovely.

And most of Kaua'i is authentic and real too.  Sadly, parts of Kaua'i are not exactly like the Dells, but they are certainly designed to comfort people who dislike unfamiliarity.  Strikes me as strange to go on a holiday to be surrounded by things with which you are familiar (malls, all-inclusive resorts, etc.).  Poi'pu strikes me as such a place.  Just sayin'.

It got me thinking about seeing McDonalds restaurants in exotic places, and yes, some people value comfort more than excitement.  Which begs me to ask the question, "Why not just stay in Schaumberg, Illinois?"  Why not indeed...  You got your Chili's, your Olive Garden, your P.F. Chang.  If you really want exotic, go to Disney World.

It got me thinking about travel and why people go to new and different places.  It came down to these reasons:

1) To check it off a list of places you are supposed to see before you die.  

2)  To have a place to bond with friends or family (or in my case, Wife 1.0).

3)  To learn something about yourself.  

Okay, let's examine them one at a time.

1)  A bad idea (and a stupid book).  Do you have so little creativity that you cannot decide for yourself what is worth seeing and what isn't, you don't deserve to see anything.  Get expanded satellite service and a comfy chair.  I don't understand this idea.  I also want to be there when the tourist sees the last thing...

Okay!  Here we are!  It's the Eiffel Tower.  Check.

Great! What's next, sweetheart?

Well, that's it, I think we're done...[Thud]

Sweetheart!  Exkyuzay mwa, is there a doctor in the house?

"Je suis désolé, je ne parle pas d'anglais."
Could happen.

2)  A very good reason to travel.  In this case, you get to see another person in a different setting, and in the best of circumstances it enhances your relationship and allows you to discover new things about them.  In this case, I got to see Wife 1.0 do some serious zip-lining.  This is not something my wife would have done 25 years ago.  She had bugs in her teeth from smiling for four hours straight.  We met nice people.  We saw beautiful things.  And we got a tiny little bit of adrenalin.  In short, a perfect afternoon.

3)  In my opinion, the best reason to travel, but just a notch above 2).

You force yourself to try new things...a foreign language ("Da buggah stay akamai, but he stay haole to da max yeah!"), new foods (taro fritters - yum!), and navigate a new place with new customs (driving really slowly, one-lane bridges, and weather than can only be described as fickle).  It forces you to examine your weltanschauung, right there in front of everyone. 

Last week we got to see a lot of beautiful places, but we did not see paradise.  Paradise is all in the mind.  Except Newark, which sucks.

Respectfully submitted,


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